Beauty Tips: Is your office making you ugly?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009 | Tags:

While working in an office is a requirement of many jobs, it's not necessarily good for your health. Here are some tips on what to watch for when it comes to keeping your health and staying in the pink...

For most people who work in an office, changing your working environment is not an option. But there are some small things within your control that can make a big difference to your overall health and appearance, both in the short term, and for years to come.

Health Issue 1: Bad Ergonomics

Bad ergonomics can cause back, wrist and neck injuries, not to mention poor posture. Constant slouching, frowning, and squinting can lead to wrinkles and a hunched back. And if your feet dangle off the edge of your chair, it can lead to varicose veins.

Prevention tips:

Set up your desk and work area so that it follows ergonomic recommendations. For example, make sure your workspace is set up properly using these guidelines:

  • The top of your computer screen is at eye level.

  • Your forearms are parallel to the floor while you’re typing at your keyboard. (If not, you may need to adjust your chair height, or use a keyboard tray attached to the underside of your desk top to raise or lower your keyboard.)

  • Seated at your desk, your thighs are parallel to the floor, your lower legs perpendicular to the floor, and your feet are resting flat on the floor. (If not, you may need to adjust your chair height.)

  • Your bum should be seated all the way to the back of your chair seat. If your knees come up on top of the chair seat, you may need a smaller chair, or use a back cushion to fill out extra chair space.)

  • Your full back should be resting against the back rest. Chairs with back rests that are shoulder height are best, but if you don’t have one, you can find back support cushions that do.)

  • Never cross your legs or fold a leg up under you. Varicose veins!

You may need to add an extra lumbar support cushion or a seat cushion to your desk chair in order to help you achieve correct seated posture.

Consider hiring an ergonomic specialist to come into your office and give a talk or one-on-one coaching on proper workstation posture.

Health Issue 2: Bad Air

Dry, recycled air in an office building can wreak havoc on your skin, causing dryness, flaking, irritation, itching, and more. Unseen air pollutants like tobacco smoke, pollen, and cleaning fumes can also lead to respiratory issues like sinusitis, headaches, nosebleeds, and asthma.

Prevention tips:

  • Consider using an air humidifier/filter at your desk to help improve the air quality.

  • Also, keep hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.

  • Keep a supply of good hand lotion nearby so you can apply as needed. (Dry hands can show your age more than your face!)

  • Use lip balm throughout the day to keep your pucker plump. Avoid using long-lasting lipsticks, which can just dry out your lips even more.

Health Issue 3: Bad Light

The design of office buildings is meant to maximize space, which means some workspaces end up in areas lit solely by artificial light. Poorly-lit workspaces lead to headaches and eye strain. If you can’t see, no doubt you’re squinting, which causes wrinkles. Plus, a lack of natural sunlight during the day (especially in winter, when days are short), can cause fatigue and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Prevention tips:

Ask for workspace near a bright window. If that doesn’t work, consider using an artificial natural light simulator, aka a light therapy device. These small appliances sit right on your desk and produce a combination of wavelengths identical to those of the sun that make our bodies feel healthy and energized in the summer.

Health Issue 4: Germs

When you work at an office, you’re exposed to a lot of bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites, which can cause illness and lack of productivity. Whether or not you get sick from these germs, they can also cause skin irritation and blemishes.

Prevention tips:

Use a disinfecting wipe daily in your office area to wipe down your keyboard, mouse, phone (and cell phone), your desktop, photocopiers and other shared office equipment, door handles, and the water cooler switch.


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