Hidden Office Safety Hazards

April 25, 2014

Of course you’re familiar with the harmful effects of a desk job, but there are other reasons why employees may call in sick. Keep reading to learn about these office safety hazards you may not be aware of.

The Open Office
An open office plan has become more favorable than closed-in cubicles or separate offices. You’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and team-building, but it can have negative effects in the long run. Open offices encourage high noise levels and privacy is eliminated, which can result in stress and reduced work satisfaction. The Journal of Applied Psychology published a study that showed this office safety hazard in action. Forty clerical workers were exposed to low-intensity noise, while another group experienced silence. Both groups were given unsolvable math problems. The group exposed to noise gave up after a few tries, while the group working in silence continued to try and solve it. If you’re bothered by office noise, you can wear ear buds or headphones.

The Office Coffee Pot
Sad to say, but the communal coffee pot harbors bacteria and viruses, and is the most likely place to find norovirus. Norovirus is highly contagious, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. To combat the issue, it’s important to observe proper hand-washing and hygiene. If you or your coworker has been sick, don’t prepare the coffee that morning until all symptoms are gone. And of course, clean the coffee pot every night before leaving the office.

The Air Flow (Or Lack Thereof)
You could be allergic to work! Not the practice, but the actual building. Closed offices can keep in allergens and other substances that can cause symptoms like sneezing, wheezing and trouble breathing. If you notice the symptoms lessen after work, during a weekend or while on vacation, the office air could be the culprit. Paints, adhesives, and even your desk could be causing an allergic reaction. Thankfully Xdesk are made from all natural materials like bamboo and aluminum, so common additives like particleboard and formaldehyde aren’t used. These office safety hazards can be treated if you make an appointment with an allergist.

The Rising Temperatures
Ever notice how hard it is to concentrate if it’s too hot? A warm environment can decrease productivity in the form of drowsiness, restlessness and a drop in decision-making ability. If your office isn’t up for blasting cold air, bring in a few fans and wear light clothing to increase the air flow around you. This is even more important if you own a treadmill desk, since constant walking elevates your body temperature.

The Desk Chair
There have been countless studies showing the negative physical and mental effects of sitting all day. Remaining in one place has detrimental effects on productivity, and leads to major health problems like obesity and cardiovascular disease. This can easily be avoided with a standing desk, or by making a point to keep moving throughout the day.

Have you experienced any of these office safety hazards? How have you avoided them?

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