Skip to content NEW PATIENT SPECIAL £30

Health Advice for Office Workers and Employers

Stress is an emotional and physiological state that our bodies enter in response to a stressor. These ‘stressors’ include extreme stimuli (too much or too little of something), unpleasant events and perceived or real threats. Offices and computers offer many stressors and as a result many people working in offices or with computers are often stressed. Of course, different people respond differently to stress. Below are some pointers for how you can become a healthier and better office worker – and reduce stress! If you work in an office, you should bear the following in mind:

  • Exercise
  • External environment – air, colour, temperature, smell, light (daylight and lighting)
  • Posture
  • Stretching
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Nutrition
  • Water intake

Exercise

Since the emergence of more and more office and sedentary jobs, fewer people lead a really active existence. Our bodies have evolved to be active and we rely on this activity to function at our best. In short it is unhealthy to be inactive and we must exercise if we are not doing physical jobs. Amongst its many benefits, exercise keeps our heart healthy, aids circulation, strengthens the immune system, keeps muscles healthy and helps prevent lethargy.

External Environment

The workplace temperature should ideally be between 18-20 degrees celsius and the air should be clean, fresh and not too humid or dry. Good ventilation is key as air conditioning dries the air and can cause dry throats. Humidifiers can help in an air-conditioned work environment and de-humidifiers should be used if the air is humid. It is also a good idea to practise an effective relaxation breathing technique for those extra-stressful moments in the office!It is best if your workspace has plenty natural light. Daylight is stimulating and uplifting, causing the brain to produce chemicals that make you feel awake and happy. Low light results in lethargy, negativity and poor circulation. Also consider the colour of the office as this affects our mood and thinking a lot more than we realise.

  • YELLOW is stimulating, uplifting and promotes clear thinking
  • GREEN helps de-stress
  • BLUE is calming and soothing
  • VIOLET helps rejuvenate

Finally, the smell of the workplace is also important in affecting our mind, body and effectiveness. Bad smells and chemical sprays should be avoided. To freshen a room try to use essential oils (but not in excess). For an office, Lemon is a good choice as it relieves fatigue and aids clear thought and concentration.

Posture

It is important not to slouch in your chair. Keep your back straight and your shoulders reasonably pulled back. Try not to cross your legs. A lumbar support would help keep your knees positioned lower than your hips. Most of all, get up and move about as often as you can! If you can, make sure your chair, desk, keyboard and screen are all at the correct height for you.Incorrect keyboard position means poor posture and will result in problems. Your monitor should be in front of you, not to the side. The centre of the screen should be somewhere between eye level and 7cm below eye level. Your keyboard should be at the same height as your elbows. Wrist rests are useful in considerably reducing RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you suffer from specific back pain, RSI etc you may be able to get your employer to look into purchasing ergonomic equipment that would benefit your health and increase your productivity and effectiveness in the workplace.

Stretching and Rest

Ask your chiropractor for suitable stretches to help relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders. different people will need different stretches (and frequency of stretches) depending on their flexibility and whether they have muscles that go into spasm. Please click here for a video of postural exercises.

Good, deep sleep is needed by all the body systems to recover and recharge – they do not function properly without it! It is also important to take regular breaks whilst at work. Trying to ‘push through’ periods when your mind is not working well is counterproductive and will often result in less valid or lower quality of work being done.Many people underestimate their ability to help themselves cope with stress using relaxation techniques. Others simply ‘don’t find the time’. Stress causes mental and physical illness on a large scale and many people working in offices suffer as a result. if you suffer from stress it is extremely important to take the time to study a book on relaxation and practise what you have learned, or take the time to attend a course on relaxation such as Tai Chi, Meditation, Qi Gong, Yoga or Reiki.

Swapping tasks regularly through the day also acts to de-stress the body and mind and can help avoid RSI. It is also important to keep work and private time separate – being a workaholic is certain to promote ill health in one form or another!

Nutrition and Water Intake

It is more important to have a good diet if you work in a stressful, inactive job for a number of reasons. If you don’t exercise you retain toxins for longer due to poor blood and lymph circulation. These toxins can cause many health problems and are thought to increase the chance of cancer. Stress also reduces your ability to digest food properly meaning you absorb fewer nutrients, and may suffer from heartburn and indigestion. For ideas on the best diet for your body, please come along to our Eat Well Classes.

You should eat less salt (to avoid high blood pressure) and fat (as you are not using many calories in a sedentary job). Vitamin C and Zinc will help your immune system (especially if you do not exercise) and all office workers should take a B Vitamin Comples as this aids good brain function, helps the body cope with stress and boosts energy.Finally, it is essential that we drink enough water so that our body systems can function properly.

Drink less diuretics (coffee, tea, alcohol) – if you are drinking more than 3-4 cups of coffee a day it is probably making you more tired as you are excreting more water than you are taking in, putting pressure on your body function. If you don’t take in enough water, or drink too many diuretics, you can expect headaches, toxin build up, a poor immune system, low energy and difficulties in thinking.

These are just some of the key changes you could make to you workplace and work patterns that could have an amazing effect on you – both in work and beyond!