The world is a dangerous place – wherever you live – but some dangers are less obvious than others. Like the ones that lurk in the average American office. However normal and even boring your offices might seem the chances are that at least some of these dangers in the workplace exist there. So it's time to take a look at them and just what you can do about them.
Computer Screens That Damage Your Eyes and Ruin Your Sleep
A report released in 2012 revealed that between 64 and 90 percent of American office workers suffer from something called computer vision syndrome.
Computer vision syndrome manifests as strained, dry, red or irritated eyes, blurry vision and head and neck pain. Additionally, if you’re working late into the night on a tablet or computer, staring at the screen can inhibit melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep.
The solution? Insist on 'eye breaks'. By taking a break from 'screen work' at least once every 30 minutes employees can significantly decrease the risk of damaging their eyesight.
The Mugs You Shouldn't Be Sharing
If you, like many offices, have a pool of communal coffee mugs in the office kitchen you may be helping the planet stay healthier, but harming your own health.
A study found that 90 percent of office mugs are riddled with germs, and — we’re sorry to tell you this — 20 percent of them had fecal matter on them. You’re also more likely to be exposed to E. coli bacteria if the mugs get cleaned with a communal dishcloth or sponge.
So, it's time to retire that mug collection, even if you created it with the best of intentions. Instead provide everyone with their own mug, as well as a more hygienic way to clean them.
The Light That's Too Bright
Many offices are still illuminated with fluorescent lighting. According to a 2011 Australian study that is far from a good thing, even if it does 'brighten up' the place.
According to that study the use of fluorescent lighting could lead to eye disease. In particular, it could increase UV-related eye diseases by up to 12 percent.
The solution here may be to look into other forms of lighting. Most experts agree that LED replacement is the best lighting to improve workplace illumination and employee health as it is more energy-saving than fluorescent, does not contain mercury, and does not flicker, which can lead to both eye problems and severe headaches.
Long Days That Are Killing You
We have all probably said it at least once or twice; those long days at the office are killers. And the fact is that is more than just a flippant remark, it's fact.
A study in the European Heart Journal found that you raise your chances to experience a heart attack the more you work every day. If you work 11 or 12 hours every day, you have a 60 percent higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease compared to those that work seven to eight hours a day.
The answer? Stick to shorter working days for everyone. Those marathon sessions are not even as productive as you might think anyway, as they lead to a lack of concentration and a growing sense of employee dissatisfaction with their jobs in general.