The Dangers of a Desk Job – and What You Can Do About Them

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Eighty-six percent of Americans work at jobs that require them to sit at desks and stare at computers for most of the day. Unfortunately, this isn’t so great for their health.

Now is the time to start initiatives to keep yourself, your colleagues, and your employees happy and healthy at their desks while also attracting talented prospects.

According to the experts, sitting is the new smoking. Spending 8-10 hours a day seated has a negative impact on many workers. Sitting for long periods of time is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, while staring at computer screens can damage your vision.

As great as it would be to never sit in front of a computer again – or to at least minimize the time spent there – it’s simply not a realistic solution for certain professionals. However, there are ways to help mitigate the dangers of desk jobs, and employers looking to stay at the forefront of health and happiness should take note.

1. Protect Your Eyes

When computers first became a part of employees’ daily routines, they weren’t nearly as bright and invasive as they are today, and the worst side effect was a little eyestrain in the form of tension headaches or dry eyes.

Today’s LED screens, however, have been linked to macular degeneration, a leading cause of central blindness. In fact, a recent study  found that prolonged exposure to LED screens can lead to a 23 percent increase in retina cell death – unless the proper preventative measures are taken.

Start by arming each company-issued computer with an eye-protector like Reticare. Eye-protectors absorb harmful high-energy light, thereby reducing eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue.

In addition to protective filters, implement the 20-20-20 rule – i.e., every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make it a habit and encourage others in the office to do so as well.

Finally, be sure to encourage annual visits to an eye doctor.

2. Move More

All it takes is a little extra movement to combat the negative effects of sitting all day. Consider implementing one or two yoga, meditation, or stretch breaks each day. Encourage employees to stand up and walk a little around the office every once in a while. This will refresh employees’ minds and bodies, promoting better health and better workplace performance.

3. Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

It’s no secret that office life can encourage unhealthy eating habits. Employees tend to munch on non-nutritional snacks and fail to drink enough water throughout the day.

If you provide free snacks for employees, try stocking the fridge with fruits and vegetables and supplying the pantry with nuts, dried fruits, and oil-free popcorn. You can also incentivize employees to bring healthy snacks from home.

To promote hydration, give your new hires smart bottles  that monitor hydration and electrolyte levels.

You don’t have to sacrifice your health for a job where you spend hours and hours sitting in front of a computer. Concrete and simple solutions like those suggested above will not only help existing employees stay fit, but also attract candidates who will see your company cares about employee health.

Survey your office to find out about your employees’ top health goals, then start implementing strategies to help them achieve those goals.

Deg’er Saner is the direct sales manager and director for US Reticare, Inc.

By Deg'er Saner