On the Job: Anatomy of a Healthy Office
Diane BigdaThese 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.
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.
Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome with a cushioned wrist support (wrists should be in a straight, not bent, position).
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.
The right plant can add oxygen and humidity to dry office air. Or, go with flowers to enhance creativity.
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.
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.
Hot office? Cold outside? Or vice versa? Keep a wrap handy so you can stay comfortable.