On the Job: Anatomy of a Healthy Office

These 13 must-haves will make you healthier—and your space work harder.


Diane Bigda
These 13 must-haves will make you healthier—and your space work harder.

A back-friendly seat
Look for a chair with lower-back support and adjustable height and arm rests so you can sit up straight with your knees level. And lean back now and then: New research says its good for you.

A well-placed monitor
Your neck and eyes will thank you if the top of your screen is at eye level and about 18 to 28 inches away from you. To avoid fatigue-inducing glare, dont park your computer in front of a window.

Calming color
To lower your stress level, work cooler hues, such as aqua or lavender, into your office, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of Color Messages and Meanings.

Typing tricks
Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome with a cushioned wrist support (wrists should be in a straight, not bent, position).

Soothing sounds
Minimize irritating background racket (which can actually make you eat more!) by getting a fan, a sound machine, an iPod, or earplugs to help block it out.

Green power
The right plant can add oxygen and humidity to dry office air. Or, go with flowers to enhance creativity.

Sunny-side up
Natural sunlight can increase the brains levels of the calming chemical serotonin and also help suppress the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Channel the chi
A minifountain on your shelf or desk taps into the Chinese practice of feng shui balance; moving water is a symbol of wealth and empowerment.

Soothing smells
Get the calming effects of aromatherapy at work with a bowl of potpourri, a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers like lilies, a jasmine plant, or a scent diffuser for your office.

The right light
Overhead lighting can cause glare and make you look like you pulled an all-nighter. Turn off the overheads and use task lighting.

A neck-saving phone
Get a headset to avoid neck and shoulder pain from cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear.

A feel-good moment
A special photo of an important person, place, or pet can help make even a bad day tolerable.

Temperature control
Hot office? Cold outside? Or vice versa? Keep a wrap handy so you can stay comfortable.
Michele Bender
Last Updated: October 01, 2007

Get the latest health, fitness, anti-aging, and nutrition news, plus special offers, insights and updates from Health.com!

More Ways to Connect with Health
Advertisement