With most businesses switching to digital, online shopping becoming more and more essential, and the flexibility of working remotely becoming the norm, the unfortunate fact is — while all of this can be a positive — more people are finding themselves working behind a desk for long hours daily, and usually while looking at a screen. While desk jobs can also be rewarding and necessary, there are health risks associated with sitting in one position for long hours, and especially when focusing on technology.
What are the Risks Associated with a Desk Job?
A few of the main health risks associated with working at a desk include:
- Posture problems
- Risk of obesity
- Repetitive strain injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Low mood
- Pain in the back and neck
- Long-term nerve damage
While these may sound worrying for those who do work at a desk, they don’t need to be, as long as you’re taking the right steps to combat these issues and work more safely and comfortably on a daily basis. The following tips can help with that.
How to Look After Your Health When You Have a Desk Job
- Stand Up and Walk Around Regularly
It’s something very simple, but it’s also something most desk workers will struggle with when they’re extremely busy. Moving away from your desk to walk means abandoning your work for a moment, so many workers may feel they’re too busy to stop or else forget to move altogether.
To help, you might want to pinpoint times throughout the day when you’ll come to a natural stop and be able to take a walk around. You could regularly walk for a drink of water, tea, or coffee, or you can make sure you take a walk during your lunch break rather than eating at your desk.
If you struggle to remember to do so, setting reminders on your phone or computer can also help to prompt you to move regularly.
- Make Sure That Your Desk Setup is Ergonomically Sound
This is crucial for good posture, comfort, and health. An ergonomic desk setup should include:
- A supportive chair with lumbar cushioning and one which is height adjustable
- A footrest
- Wrist rests
- Keyboard and mouse positioned at the right height
- A screen that is level with your eyes
When working from home and being in charge of your own desk setup, you’ll want to make sure you consider these items instead of being tempted to work slouched over, on your couch, or at your kitchen counter. When working from an office, be sure to mention any desk issues to management if you feel yours is not ergonomic enough, as you have a right as an employee for a healthy and safe desk setup.
- Consider Blue Light Glasses
If your desk job includes staring at a screen all day, then protecting your eyes is a must. Blue light glasses are available for anyone and don’t mean that you need a prescription. Blue light refers to the harmful glare that comes from technology screens, and blue light glasses are there to protect your eyes and create a barrier between your screen and your vision. Opting for blue light glasses, like from Just-glasses.co.uk, could help you to feel more comfortable when working at a screen.
- Try to Encourage as Much Natural Light as Possible
Natural light is important for your health and wellbeing. The difference between a dark office space with no windows and a bright office filled with natural light will be evident in your productivity and mental health.
If you’re working from home, make sure your desk setup is near a window or in a place with lots of natural light.
In an office space, you might want to see about moving your desk closer to a window, or if the office lacks sufficient light, make sure you have adequate lamps to prevent eye strain.
- Make Your Desk a Positive Place
Sitting at the same spot every day can take its toll, and even more so if your desk space feels uninspiring and bland. Make your desk your own by adding personal features or anything which is going to spark joy. This could be accessories, ornaments, photographs, or a desk plant.
Think about what makes you feel most comfortable, and make sure your desk feels tailored to you.
Working at a desk every day can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. It’s important for employers and employees alike to create a healthy desk space and to make sure deskwork is completed positively and safely. If you’re ever in doubt about your own health due to your job, think about your desk setup, whether it’s in line with ergonomic guidelines or whether you need a change of routine.