How to Stay Healthy In an Office Environment

Michele Warg
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An office environment, with its close quarters and lack of airflow, is a prime place for germs. Open offices and buildings with partition-style walls are particularly vulnerable. As cold season nears, taking steps to protect your health can lead to a more pleasant and productive winter.

Disinfect Frequently

The shared equipment in an office environment can be a primary source of germ transfer. When a sick colleague touches his mouth or nose and then operates the copier, he leaves behind germs for others to pick up. Kill germs by keeping a container of disinfecting wipes in any shared space and wiping high-use surfaces frequently. Encourage your colleagues to do the same, particularly those who are feeling unwell. Focus on heavily used surfaces like telephone handsets, door handles, refrigerator doors and printers. Disinfect your skin by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.

Help Your Immune System

When your immune system is in a weakened state, you are more susceptible to the germs that are floating around an office environment. One of the most efficient ways to stay healthy at work is to boost your immunity. Sleep a minimum of seven hours per night, aiming for more when you start to feel weak or unwell. Don't fall prey to heavy fast food lunches or vending machine cookies; instead, opt for lean protein and vitamin-heavy salads to give your body the power to fight off illness.

Minimize Stress

Stress can damage your immune system and thwart your efforts to stay healthy in an office environment. If you feel tired, overwhelmed and stressed out on a daily basis, you may be more likely to catch the cold that's going around the office. Help your immune system work efficiently by minimizing stress at work. Schedule in small breaks for coffee or to stare out the window. Plan your days in advance to ensure that you'll find time for everything. If possible, work bits of exercise into your day: take a walking meeting with a colleague, go for a jog at lunch or bike to work.

Get your Injections

The stomach flu can take you out for three days or more, which can put a big dent in your sick days and productivity. Prepare in advance by getting a flu shot. Head to your doctor or visit any nationwide drug store; most have inexpensive options. The earlier you get your shot, the better prepared you are to avoid the viruses that pass through your office environment.

As temperatures drop and the occurrence of viruses rise, maintaining your health can be a challenge. If your office environment is conducive to the spread of germs, it is important to take steps to protect yourself. Proactive prevention can result in a healthier winter and fewer days out of the office.


Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at



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