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Is Your Office Literally Making You Sick?

Posted by John on November 6th, 2008

Forbes reports that your office may be making you sick – literally. From poor indoor air quality to unhealthy lighting, workspace woes can lead to chronic illness, stress, and depression.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, two million desk-bound workers suffer from musculoskeletal disorders including wrist pain and back problems. Change your position frequently and listen to your body to avoid chronic problems. You should also get up to walk around and stretch several times during the day.

Air cleanersUpper respiratory tract infections are common in the office, too. Everything from hidden mold to chemicals from office furniture can irritate the respiratory tract. Changes in humidity can induce illness as well. To keep your air healthy, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air; a humidifier to restore moisture to dry air; and an air purifier to remove allergens and pollutants. If you have an air quality problem at work, you might want to let your boss know that companies receive a $2 to $4 return for every dollar invested in workplace wellness, according to Forbes.

Portable heatersIf you sit in a cold area of your office, you may need a space heater to keep you warm; this is also a good way to save money on heating bills. During warm months, a portable air conditioner will keep employees comfortable and productive.

light therapy boxesLighting can also affect productivity at work. A lack of light, or too much fluorescent light, may cause eye strain and headaches. Take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible, especially during winter months. A lack of sunlight can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression. If natural light is not an option, invest in full spectrum lighting; it mimics natural sunlight to prevent seasonal depression. Full spectrum lights, or SAD lights, also help to eliminate eye strain.

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