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One has to keep in mind that attaining a healthy work life is the correct balance of work and personal life. Only when this balance is met the other factors like sleep, exercise and proper diet will be taken care of.
With the recession taking a toll on the loss of jobs and unemployment being a cause of concern for every household, holding tight to your job is of utmost importance in today’s era. But, on the contrary holding tight to one’s health is the least of their concerns. People are just happy and satisfied that they have a job in hand leave alone being healthy.

Let’s look at some facts and figures:

A recent survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute (FWI), suggests that:
  • 41% of the workers say that they are affected by stress at work.
  • One in three complain of facing symptoms of clinical depression.
  • One in five encounter insomnia often.
  • One in five are on blood-pressure-lowering medication
  • 14% of the workers are victims of cholesterol
  • 28% of the workers complain of not keeping well often from the earlier figure of 34%.

Not keeping in good health is not encountered at all workplaces. Employers are now making amendments to develop a healthy environment at the workplace so that the employees are healthy and hence the organization can cut back on health related issues. It is not sufficient to rely on the employers, each one has to make individual changes in order to attain a healthy life at the work place and at home.

One has to keep in mind that attaining a healthy work life is the correct balance of work and personal life. Only when this balance is met the other factors like sleep, exercise and proper diet will be taken care of. Clinical psychologists also say that this balance brings about less stress which helps steer away from stress related disorders which unknowingly harm the body.

While it is not possible to implement every change, it is important for every worker to bring about certain changes which needs to be maintained every day.

Here are a few tips to make work place environment healthy:

1)    Stop eating at the desk

Unless you eat without spilling anything – which I’m sure is not always the case with the rush that we are always in- eating at the desk may cause you to fall sick. This is because there is a high tendency to use the keyboard or mouse after some food item has been spilt on it and then unknowingly using the same fingers near your mouth. This causes sicknesses that you have no clue about the origin of.

2)    Improve your posture

Implementing the correct posture while sitting at your desk can evade you from the harmful pains of back, neck and even eye strain. A recent study suggested that sitting on your desk chair is claimed to be more beneficial than sitting on an exercise ball provided the correct posture is maintained. Another study suggests that sitting up straight on the chair is not ideal, rather leaning at an angle of 135 degrees is the best option.

3)    Add plants around your area

They say that plants bring about a sense of calmness outside as well as inside a house. The same goes for the office, potting plants 9 not many just one or two) around your desk helps reduce the stress and gives you an opportunity to move your focus away from the computer screen. A study suggests that indoor plants have a positive effect on the subjects studied on. The subjects’ reaction was found to be 12% quicker when given a particular task and were found to be more attentive. Also they showed reduced systolic blood pressure.

4)    Keep a clean desk

The phrase “irritable desk syndrome” was recently coined for clutter at the desks which cause employees to fall ill. The mess of paper and clutter at desks increases the levels of stress. It is important to keep the desk free of mess so a s to bring about a stress-free environment.

5)    Reduce overtime as much as possible

With the current work situation employees are forced to log in extra hours at the workplace almost everyday. This inevitably has a detrimental effect on the heart and blood pressure and contributes to stress. Though most people do not have an option to reduce the working hours one has to make it a point to try hard and complete the given work on time to ensure a healthy future.

6)    Exercise at lunch

Sitting for long hours at the  desk in front of the computer makes one lazy and prevents the body from getting adequate exercise. If you do not have time to workout after office hours, use the lunch break. You don’t need an hour to have lunch. Workout for 30 minutes and have lunch or chat with colleagues in the next 30 minutes. It has a significant effect on your health and keeps you fit and rejuvenated for the next half of the day.

7)    Don't 'soldier on'

Soldering on is the phrase used to describe the act of going to work even when you are not capable of it due to being sick or injured. This doesn’t help you or anyone else at the office. On the contrary it leads to poor productivity and this costs the company. When one is sick you tend to have trouble concentrating, you make mistakes easily and tend to take many breaks. This leads to loss of productivity, stress and further physical damage.

8)    Work safely outdoors

Many people who work outdoors suffer from health issues such as malignant melanoma due to over exposure to the sun, heat stress and heat stroke due to being in high temperatures, tightened muscles, ligaments and joints due to extreme cold conditions. Therefore it is important to take precautionary measures when working outside in the heat (drink lots of fluids) or cold (move the muscles and joints regularly) .

9)    Reduce work pressure

It has been shown that those in high pressure jobs are at a higher risk of heart disease. Work pressure is said to have the highest effect on health thereby causing serious health conditions like pressure and cardiovascular disease.

10)    Don’t watch TV till late

There are many ways to de-stress like going to the gym or engaging in a sport, but sitting in front of the television set after you get home from work is definitely not one of them. In fact, a study found that just one-hour of watching TV increased the risk of metabolic syndrome in women by 26 percent no matter how much exercise they performed.

If we want our work life to be truly healthy then we need to make the necessary changes to our workplace habits and take responsibility for our own safety.

  • Health in Everyday Living. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation primer