From headaches to back pain to more severe issues such as IBS, there are a host of problems that prevent us from getting into work. To be the most productive employee, we need to demonstrate resilience and reliability. We need to prove ourselves capable of managing our health and wellbeing, so we can turn up for work without disruption.
Here we explore the common health issues employees face and what you can do to counter the unpleasant effects.
Although it might sound quite trivial, headaches can be challenging for some and debilitating for others. When we struggle with pain, we lose our ability to concentrate, and we certainly cannot focus on a computer screen. For some, the condition can be enough to stop them, leaving a darkened room or moving their head to any degree.
Many headaches can be explained by dehydration. Consequently, drinking lots of water can help reduce your chance of suffering. However, our working day can also contribute. Staring at a computer screen all day will cause eye strain first, which will develop into a headache if ignored. Equally, holding our heads in a set position while working can cause a sore neck first, which can then progress to a headache.
Therefore, you need to take precautions to minimise your risk of a headache. You should use a screen filter, have items in the distance to help you refocus your eyes and take regular breaks from the computer screen.
Back pain is commonly known to be a leading cause of lost hours at work. Our back supports all activity, and when it starts to struggle, we often cannot continue to move as normal. Lower back pain is a likely condition for office workers and is a result of a lack of activity. We often sit at our computers for hours on end and slump into our muscles and joints. Other injuries to the back in different contexts can be a result of inadequate manual handling measures.
Consequently, avoiding back pain is a matter of treating our bodies with some care. When we work in an office, we should continue to move regularly through the day. Taking a walk to the coffee is a great way to ease up the cramped conditions you put your back through. You should also consider an ergonomic chair, so you establish the right position for extended work at a desk.
Treatment for back pain will often feel counter-intuitive, as physiotherapists will encourage you to exercise. If you want to avoid the physio, you should consider keeping fit as an essential measure. Strengthening your core will help to support your back.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Our gut is sensitive to how we live our lives. There is a delicate balance to maintain. From our throat through to our stomach and through our colon and bowel, we have much to care for. If we upset this balance, then we will struggle with a range of conditions from indigestion to GERD and beyond to an increased risk of colon cancer.
IBS sits in this group of problems that impact the gut and can be a severe issue for people who suffer. People with IBS often suffer from cramps and abdominal pain, sometimes so severe that they cannot leave home to get to work and occasionally severe enough for immediate medical intervention. People will also struggle with gas, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
There are trigger foods, which people who have been diagnosed will quickly learn to remove from their individual diets. Yet, our lifestyle has a significant impact on our gut. Therefore, taking measures to reduce stress, enjoy a healthy work-life balance, eat healthily and exercise regularly will all help.
Bacterial and viral infections
A workplace is going to be a favourite place for bacteria and viruses to pass from person to person. Working closely with other people will always be a means by which germs and bugs can spread. The common cold, some stomach illnesses and more can become a health issue for employees and employers.
Your keyboard is a germ-fest, with a lot more bugs living on your keys than on your toilet seat. Crumbs around your desk can attract creatures that can carry illnesses too. Therefore, the best approach to avoiding these issues is with effective cleaning, hand washing and hand sanitiser.
Many of these challenges are a result of our lifestyle choices. We can become a better employee, more reliable and resilient, by balancing our work, life, exercise and relaxation.