6 Common office worker health problems (and how to PREVENT them)

Updated on January 28, 2023
common office worker health problems

Office workers have had a bad rep for not being particularly healthy. This comes as no surprise when considering the conditions we work in. Not that they are particularly bad but they do have their downsides. Having a desk job can be detrimental to your health in numerous ways.

However, there are several things that you can do to counteract your deterioration and preserve your health. Here we will take a look at the most common health problems experienced by office workers and what you can do to prevent them.

1. Weight gain

office worker problems - weight gain

Gaining weight, fat, in particular, is a slippery slope that brings a whole bundle of health issues down the line. As office workers are stationary for prolonged periods of time and often make unhealthy food choices, gaining weight is a common health concern.

How to prevent weight gain as an office worker?

Make healthy food choices. Opt for a diet of wholesome healthy foods and watch your calories. You can check our piece on how to eat healthy as an office worker.

Exercise. You are staying still all day long, that’s 8 hours, and you sleep for more or less the same amount of time at night. In other words, you are barely moving 66% of the time. What about the time you spend in traffic? At home, watching TV or at your PC? That is why you need to find the time to exercise and move. From jogging in the park to going to a gym, or maybe some dance classes, find a way to keep moving.

2. Lower back pain

common office worker issues - back pain

Humans did not evolve to sit down all day long. With time, the lower back can be affected, especially if you are sitting on an uncomfortable chair, not to mention if you have some weight problems.
If you are experiencing stiffness and pain, then you should take immediate action to amend the situation.

How to fix your hurting back and make it stronger?

  1. Comfort. Ask for a chair that supports your back. Opt for something ergonomic. Lumbar support is key.
  2. Exercise. Do exercises that will strengthen your lower back such as hypertension and reverse hypers.
  3. Lose some weight. Upper body weight can cause distress to a weak lower back. Losing weight and strengthening your back will bring you tremendous relief.

3. High blood pressure and heart disease

Eating unhealthy and gaining fat comes with a whole bundle of health risks. This in combination with not moving a lot can lead to the development of cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to the development of these health issues such as genetics and smoking.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Excercise - we might be repeating ourselves but moving and sweating is your best friend. The key thing here is to avoid gaining fat.
  2. Diet - you should make efforts to eat healthy, avoiding sugary foods, and high-fat content. Reach for the veggies and fruits whenever you can.
  3. Blood work - go have yourself checked no matter your age, coronary artery disease takes years to develop. Consult with a medical professional.

4. Eyestrain

office health issues - eyestrain

Gazing into a screen all day long can be harmful to your eyes. It's not that the screen is shooting out tiny laser beams that are burning away your retina. Basically, the distance between you and the screen remains the same, your eyes are focused on this unchanging distance for hours on end. Over time, this can compromise the blood flow to your eyes which weakens them.

How to reduce eyestrain?

  1. Turn off the blue light. You can use special software to turn off the blue light coming from your screens. This will tremendously reduce the strain on your eyes.
  2. Glasses. You can resort to glasses with a protective coating. They are often called computer glasses and the main thing is that they reduce glare, thus screens are easier on your eyes.
  3. Take breaks. Every hour or so, go for a little walk and focus on looking at things at the far distance. The main thing is to provide your eyes with a variety of distances so they can focus on something different than your screen.

5. Depression and stress

depression and stress at work

The office environment can become bleak, even if you work at the most amazing workplace. The same place, the same hours, the same tasks, the same people. This could lead to depressive moods and you might even lose the motivation to work. If this ever happens to you, then you can go and check our post on work motivation.

How to overcome your work-related depression?

  1. Healthy food and sleep, sun exposure, clean air. Catering to your most basic human needs can help you combat your depressive moods and make you more resilient to stress. Do not underestimate the effect that a healthy lifestyle can have on your emotional state.
  2. Spend some time off work. If possible, why don’t you take a break from work? Sure, you want to achieve your goals but what good will they be if you can’t preserve your sanity. So take some time off work and go somewhere if you love to travel. Or do it even if you don’t like travel. Look at this as taking a step back so you can take two steps forward.
  3. Dig deep. What is the cause of your depression and stress? Are you being honest with yourself? Maybe there are some other deeper issues that you are just trying to bury. Instead, why don’t you seek help and do your best to overcome them? What do you have to lose?

6. Carpal tunnel syndrome

Repetitive motion over prolonged periods of time can break down your body. And this applies to keyboard typing as well. With time, you might start to experience weird stiffness and cramping in your hands, arms, and shoulders.

How to counteract carpal tunnel syndrome?

  1. Take regular breaks. Rest your hands every twenty minutes. Stretch out your fingers, move your shoulders up and down for a while, stretch your neck.
  2. Practice your grip. You can purchase a low resistance gripper or a gyroscopic ball and use it to strengthen your hands. Besides, this is actually a great thing to add to your exercise routine.
  3. Massage. Take the time to massage your hands, you can resort to all kinds of manual techniques and convenient tools. You can also resort to a warming gel, the main idea is to stimulate the blood flow to your hands.

Key Takeaways

  • The office environment can be detrimental to your health.
  • Obesity and being stationary for hours are some of the main culprits.
  • There are numerous strategies that you can employ to counteract the negative effects on your health.
  • If you are not sure about the nature of your health issues, you should consult with a medical professional.
  • Cold hands and feet at work is another common complaint of office workers.
Written by:
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galin office topics square
co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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