The office. It's where you spend most of your time, eat most of your meals, and interact with the most people. It's also the place that may be hurting your health the most. (OK, aside from the bar that you frequent once the clock stirks six.) Believe it or not, there are a number of office habits that are subtly hurting your health.
Somehow, when you start working in an office, you wind up picking up habits that you'd never let yourself pick up anywhere else. Suddenly, you're staring at your computer screen for hours on end without a break, skipping breakfast on your way out the door, or saying yes to everything when you don't really have the time or space to be saying yes. As I compiled this list, I was horrified to realize just how often I partake in not one, but most of these horrible office habits.
Now, this doesn't mean you have to quit your job. (Sorry to those who were looking for a way out.) It just means you may have to make a few adjustments. Read on to find out which of these harmful office habits you're partaking in, and consider keeping a list of reminders on your desk to combat the bad behaviors.
1. You Lean Your Face In Your Hand
How often do you lean your face in your hand? Well stop, because touching your face too much is terrible for your skin. Dr. Ava Shamban, a dermatologist and author of Heal Your Skin, told Huffington Post that touching your face too much helps spread bacteria. She noted that an excessive amount of touching your face can make your face more prone to breakouts. So that rough patch you've been dealing with on your chin? It's not just stress. It's you touching your face too much.
2. You Rub Your Eyes
Shamban went on to tell Huffington Post that your chin isn't the only offender of the touch-too-much phenomenon. "Rubbing the eyes, for example, can actually create microscopic tears in the tissue," Shamban said. And tears in the tissue can lead to darker under eye circles, and make your eyes look older faster. So the next time you go to rub those tired eyes? Think again.
3. You Slouch
Some days make you want to slump in your seat and be invisible. You know that your poor posture can cause back and neck problems, that's a no brainer. But did you know that your posture can also affect your relationships with the people around you? Janice Novak, author of Posture, Get it Straight, told Prevention that slouching in your office chair can actually lead to career problems. According to Novak, people in the workplace don't view people with poor posture as vital members of the team. In an office setting, the way your coworkers and supervisors perceive you and your work ethic can truly make or break your experience, so sit up a little straighter.
4. You Work Through Lunch
I can't remember the last time I took an actual lunch break. More often than not, I tide myself over with a quick snack or eatmy lunch right at my desk. Not only does eating lunch at your desk prevent you from getting up and getting moving during your workday, but it fills your desk with germs. According to Master Cleaners, the average office desk is about 400 times dirtier than your average toilet seat. So grab the disinfectant, clean off your desk, and then take your lunch break. You'll be doing yourself a favor.
5. You Leave Your Desk A Mess
Now that you know just how germ ridden your desk can be, it's time to talk about how organized it is. If you're the type that has stacks of papers that only you understand, folders upon folders of to-do work, and a chaotic amount of office supplies scattered around, you may want to think about changing your ways. According to the Association for Psychological Science, a study done by Professor Kathleen Vohs and fellow researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis found that a more organized desk can actually promote healthier eating habits. The study went on to find that a cleaner desk can also promote better behavior, less littering, and more generous habits.
6. You Drink Too Much Coffee
It's hard to walk past the coffee pot without filling up your cup. I drink coffee all throughout the day when I'm at the office, and often times I go above and beyond the recommended amount of daily caffeine intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking more than four cups of coffee a day can have negative side effects. Nervousness, restlessness, irritability, and an erratic heartbeat are just a few of the effects chugging down too much coffee can have on you. Rather than giving yourself the jitters, try alternating every cup of coffee you drink with a glass of water. And if you're feeling tired and in need of a boost? Take a quick walk around the office rather than slugging back another cup, you might be surprised how quickly it can energize you.
7. You Don't Drink Enough Water
Along with drinking too much coffee, not drinking enough water is a huge office health hazard. According to Cosmopolitan, dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue, and sometimes all you need to put that extra pep in your step is a little bit of H2O. So instead of reaching for a soda or an energy drink the next time your thirst sets in, reach for your water bottle.
8. You Sit All Day
In case you don't believe in the horrific effects of sitting around all day, The Washington Post put together a little graphic of all the ways sitting for too long affects your health. From back problems to muscle degeneration, this list of heavy hitting health concerns will have you standing up, sitting up, and stretching as often as you possibly can.
9. You Stay Late
I know — your to-do list isn't done yet and if you stay just another 15 minutes, you'll feel so much better when you stroll into work tomorrow morning. But it's never just another 15 minutes, is it? According to Inc, research show that people who work excessive amounts of overtime get less done than those who stick to a standard work schedule. By giving yourself a hard stopping time when it comes to work hours, you'll spend less time zoning out, gossiping with your coworkers, and checking Facebook. Time management is key.
10. You Bring Your Phone To The Bathroom
According to a 2013 poll done by the Huffington Post, half of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 admitted to bringing their phones with them to the toilet. Um, what? Subjecting any object you hold up to your face to the same environment you dispose of human waste is just asking for a bacterial heyday. Not to mention that microbiologist Charles Gerba told Live Science that cellphones often carry more bacteria than a toilet seat. Don't tempt the bacteria, just leave your phone at your desk. And consider giving it a good wipe down every once in a while.
11. You Work Through Your Minor Cold
You tell yourself, it's just a cold. But the fact is, a cold can take a lot out of you, and if you don't give yourself proper time to rest and recuperate, Everyday Health noted that you can prolong the sickness and make it worse. Not to mention the fact that bringing a cold to work adds to the germ pile in the office, and can compromise the health of your coworkers by exposing them to your virus. You may think you're doing your boss a favor by showing up to work even though you feel like garbage, but according to WebMD, not taking the day off of work when you have a cold can wind up costing your employers more in the long run. So do everyone a favor and stay home.