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Office habits that can make you sick

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 08:23 IST

Office habits that can make you sick

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Daniela Baker, CreditDonkey.com

These days, more and more employees are trying their best to stay healthy, if only so they can be present at their jobs and stay off the first-to-go list for the next company layoffs.

However, just showing up and work and being relatively healthy at home isn't enough.

Many things you do when you're actually in the office could be making you sick.

Here's what you need to know about office habits that could be making you sick:

Daniela is a social media advocate from New York. She's interested in journalism and new media. Blog: CreditDonkey.com



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Not washing your hands well enough

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It's easy to get caught up in the workday and make a rush trip to the bathroom, really just rinsing your hands instead of washing them.

If you're always catching the colds that run around the office, though, it's probably because of this one simple thing.

Spend about twenty full seconds washing your hands with warm, soapy water. Make sure you wash between your fingers and under your fingernails. You'll be amazed at what a difference this can make in how often you get sick!

If your hands get too dry because of the dehumidified air and the extra hand-washing time, keep a bottle of lotion at your desk to replenish moisture after you wash.



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Ignoring aches and pains

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In an office environment, you're probably sitting in a similar position for much of the day, and you probably get sore and achy once in a while -- at the very least.

Don't ignore these problems, as they can lead to worse problems, and time you have to take off work, in the future.

Instead, get up and stretch about every twenty to thirty minutes. Also, outfit your office with ergonomic essentials, like an adjustable chair, a keyboard tray, and a footrest.



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Getting too hot or too cold

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Office environments are rarely comfortable for everyone who works in them, but getting too hot or too cold during the workday can take a toll on you.

It can leave you feeling tired, and eventually you can become sick because your body is so stressed out by trying to regulate your body temperature.

If you struggle with being too hot or too cold in your office, dress in layers, and keep a sweater at the office. You might even consider investing in a small fan or space heater that can keep your own space at a more comfortable temperature for your needs.



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Using shared office kitchen utensils without washing them first

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Sure, you'd like to think that your fellow coworkers are clean enough to wash the utensils and mugs they're using in the office kitchen, but this may not actually be the case. It's better to be safe than sorry!

Always wash your utensils, mugs, plates, and bowls before and after you use them -- and use a clean paper towel rather than the gross, germ-infested community sponge that probably smells like mildew.



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Sharing a gross fridge or microwave

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It's so easy for fridges and microwaves in shared areas to become germ-infested and disgusting because no one wants to take responsibility for cleaning them or keeping them clean.

However, germ-infested food places like this are one of the best ways to get food poisoning!

Instead of risking it, set up a rotating schedule that will allow you to take turns cleaning out the microwave and fridge once a week. Really, it doesn't take that long, and it's an easy way to keep you and your coworkers from getting stressed.

Also, make rules so that food that goes into the office fridge has to be in a sealed, marked container. Anything that isn't sealed, dated, and marked with an owner's name should be fair game to be tossed into the trash can at the first possible moment!


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Letting the stress build up

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According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, about 40 percent of workers say the have an extremely stressful job, and about 25 percent say that their jobs are the number one stressor in their lives.

Unfortunately, allowing this work-related stress to build up can cause serious health issues, including hypertension and heart problems.

If you're feeling stressed at work constantly, see what services your office offers. Most these days have counselors on hand to help you work with stress management, and many even have on-site gyms.

Taking a yoga class after work or hopping on the treadmill before can help bust stress so that it doesn't make you sick.

So, if you want to miss less work and feel your best all the time, build better office habits that can help keep you healthy and at the top of your game.

Also, try to gently educate fellow co-workers about what they can do to keep themselves and everyone else from getting sick because of your office environment!



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