Workplace Rights

Weekly (2/4/13)

Topic of the Week  Staying Healthy at Work

  • Screens
  • Sitting
  • Snacks
  • Stress

Screens, Sitting, Snacks & Stress: Staying Healthy at Work

Before adopting the name Workplace911, this column was called Working Wounded. As you can imagine I got a huge amount of email reminding me there are lots of physically, psychologically and emotionally wounded people at work. But there are things that we can do to remain healthy. I've identified four key areas below, along with strategies to address each one. Which reminds me of Caltech's baseball team, it recently ended a 228 game losing streak. This was it's first win since 2003.

Your health at work may often feel mired in a long losing streak too, but there are things that you can do to get on the right track. I'm going to examine the four "S's" for being healthier at work: screens, sitting, snacks and stress. I'll document the health risks of each and offer a practical way to minimize damage from each.

Screens: Two-thirds of workers report vision symptoms, headaches, etc. from looking at computer screens all day at work. The good news? There is a simple solution for avoiding many of these problems. It's called the 20/20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes look twenty feet away for twenty seconds. I love this, it's easy to remember and easy to implement.

Sitting. There recently have been a number of studies that document an increased risk of disease from sitting. SITTING. Of course a good ergonomic chair that is properly aligned with your desk is a great place to start, but don't stop there. Make a conscious effort to get up out of your seat on a regular basis each day. Recently I've started to take walking meetings, where I plan a walk with someone instead of just sitting at a desk or a table. My experience has been very positive, in fact, one colleague now insists on always meeting while walking about.

Snacks. I was shocked to learn that 26% of all calories happen outside of meals. Here is a simple trick to stay thin and healthy. People who ate an 80 calorie snack with protein, fiber and fat ate 43% less at their next meal. It's also important to avoid being held hostage to the vending machine fare where you work. Sure it's extra effort to bring in healthy snacks, but your hips and heart will thank you for it.

Stress. Not to stress you out, but stress is really harmful. One study found that 73% of us report that our jobs are stressful and that stress is a main causal factor for lots of different diseases. Exercise, rest and build a support network around you at work. But the key, avoid the path of being a stress junkie, there is a better way.

Caltech's baseball team wasn't the only losing streak on campus. The men's basketball team recently had a 310 America losing streak and the women's volleyball team lost 56 matches in a row. See just because you're suffering a long losing streak doesn't mean that you can't snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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"The greatest wealth is health."


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Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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