Just because they work in a nice air-conditioned office, doesn’t mean that they are vulnerable to an array of health issues.
Many Malaysians work in the office, in fact, Malaysia has the highest employment rate in government jobs than any other country in the world with many of those being jobs in Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya.
Their routine consists of waking up early in the morning, powering through the morning traffic jams, getting to the office and performing various tasks while sitting on their desks all day, lunchtime, back to work and then back home after braving another unholy traffic jam.
An office job has many factors in it that may kick off a few years of your lifespan, these are:
#1. Sitting All Day
Sitting for long periods at a time is very common in office jobs. And it does no good to your body.
Aches and pains are only the beginning of your problems as it is proven that sitting too much can lead to an early death.
You face a higher risk of muscular-skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and more, even if you work out regularly.
It is recommended to move about during your break times, perhaps some stretching.
#2. Long Commutes, Traffic Jams
We as Malaysians are all too familiar with the horrid traffic jams we have to endure every morning and every evening, but did you know that travelling for more than 16 km in your car can lead to higher blood sugar levels and an increased cholesterol, so sitting in that traffic jam, trying to get home, is doing no good for your health.
There’s not much we can do to solve this issue it’s usually up to the government to decide where there should be new road projects that are created to increase traffic flow or introduce a better public transport system, but even then, public transport users who commute more than 30 minutes have the lowest levels of life satisfaction; this was according to a UK study.
#3. Staring at a computer screen.
Most office workers spend the whole day looking at a computer screen, so it is a no brainer that it does some harm to your eyes.
Some office workers may experience headaches and migraines from staring at the computer screen for too long.
We could combat this problem by perhaps switching off our screens I’m giving her eyes a little breather.
#4. Lack of Sunlight
Now, most modern office buildings provide enough natural light through their big windows. But not every building is like this.
Some older office buildings do not take into consideration how important natural light is for the human body. Some office workers go through the whole workday without seeing a shred of sun, but they may go out during lunch breaks.
Lack of natural sunlight can result in vitamin D deficiency which can lead to the development of prostate and breast cancer, memory loss, and an increased risk for developing dementia and schizophrenia.
And in terms of mental health, the lack of sunlight can lead to a person becoming clinically depressed which will be no good for business or company in terms of productivity and most importantly be no good to the person who is actually clinically depressed.
I cannot stress enough how important getting enough sunlight or natural light in general is. Just open a blind!
Lack of sunlight can also negatively affect sleep cycles so workers will come in the next day all gloomy because they didn’t get the rest they needed and it’s not going to get any better if no one is bothered to open the blinds.
For you or germaphobes, you’re going to love this section. The office has many people working in it so it’s no surprise that germs are everywhere.
They’re on your keyboard, on your chairs, on your desk, on the hands you shake.
Now, of course, I am just over exaggerating. It’s not like a mere handshake will make you sick all the time. But computer keyboards are known to be a breeding ground for bacteria such as E. coli if they are not cleaned regularly. So, wipe down that keyboard, and please, wash your hands.
#6. RSI and Carpal tunnel.
Since most office workers are on the computer most of the time a lot of typing might be required but this can lead to hand injuries such as a carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful wrist strain that can go up to your arm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can get bad enough to the point where it can cause permanent muscle injury and nerve damage.
And holding your mouse in the same position all day with your arms been to that angle the whole time can cause repetitive strain injury or RSI.
Upper-limb RSI can happen when your tendons are straining more than they should for long periods of time, which can because by repetitive movements, a sustained awkward position, or prolonged pressing against hard surfaces, like your desk.
#7. Unhealthy eating habits.
The food we eat is completely up to us whether we would vouch for of happy meal or McChicken deluxe or prefer a healthy salad, we still have a choice.
However, with limited time during lunch breaks, many office workers need to get their meals quickly to head back to work.
In most cases, unhealthy food is always delicious and quick. So still, many resorts to going for that option and it should be obvious to why that is unhealthy.
Malaysia has a very high diabetic rate among its population, and with the food we eat, you know, the Tarik, Nasi Lemak, Char Kuey Teow or Mee Goreng Mamak, that is no surprise.
And this food is widely available for office workers to eat for lunch as they are cheap and quick.
But it’s not to say that all Malaysian fast food or quick meals are unhealthy. We can go head to our local eateries and get healthy selections for our nasi campur.
I, for example, always resort to getting Nasi Kerabu, a healthier dish among Malaysian cuisine.
Offices can help too by providing healthy snacks like fruits or nuts to their employees, and don’t forget to give plenty of water as well.
#8. Deterioration of Mental Health
From tight deadlines to a lack of sunlight, to power-tripping managers. If the right ingredients are in the bowl, some office workers may undergo periods of stress and depression which may have a long term effect on the mental health of that individual.
The government and employers must be aware that neglecting mental health and psychosocial factors in the workplace is not only bad to the individual worker but also directly affects the productivity and output of any organisation.
So there you have it, 8 health issues that office workers in Malaysia may face. But you may think that “oh come on, labourers got it worse” or that “there are much more dangerous jobs out there”, and that’s true. However, one does not simply compare one to another, this is something that is all too common in our society. Just because a person has an office job as compared to doing physical labour, doesn’t mean that their wellbeing is not important.
In all, every employee, no matter what sector they are in, deserves a life of good health and satisfaction.