How to Be Healthier and Happier at Work

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How to Be Healthier and Happier at Work

By: Lorraine Pirihi

Many office-based workers do not realise that the environment they spend a majority of their working week in, may not be good for their health.

Have you ever experienced headaches, respiratory infections, asthma or fatigue? Do these ailments occur at work? What happens when you go on holiday or at the weekends, do they still occur or do they miraculously disappear?

You'll often find people's desk drawers contain a variety of pills and potions to alleviate the ailments they experience at work.

John's Story

John commenced work in a large open plan office a few months ago. He had been promoted from Team Leader in another division to the Manager of this new department. Since that time he has been continually unwell. He went on holiday for two weeks and all his ailments disappeared. A week later he returned to work and again he became sick. This of course greatly affected his productivity because when you feel unwell you don't feel like doing much matter how motivated you usually are.

Further investigation revealed that absenteeism in this department was high. People would often be away sick. John discovered the whole office had not had a thorough clean in two years...the carpet needed steam cleaning, the blinds had spider webs and thick dust, the partitions which divided the workstations had never been vacuumed.

John immediately organised for the entire office to be cleaned from floor to ceiling. I also suggested that he contact the local nursery to install plants in specific areas. Not only do plants make the environment look good, they assist with air filtration.

When I spoke to John again, he said he was feeling much better... and so did many of his colleagues!

Robyn's Story

Robyn is the Human Resources Manager in a computer company. She began experiencing bad asthma attacks since moving to her open plan area.

She discovered that the office partitions had never been cleaned since their installation many years ago. The dust was exacerbating her condition. She has since had them thoroughly cleaned and her asthma has subsided!

Sally's Story

At an on-site workshop I ran for a telecommunications company, one of the participants told us that her previous employer made a cost-cutting decision - to remove all the plants from the office. They had a contract with a plantscaping organisation and thought this would be an easy way to save money.

Within 6 weeks there was a noticeable increase in absenteeism through sickness. (And there wasn't a flu epidemic at that time).

Save Time, Save Money, Save Yourself

If you want to save time and money and most importantly your health, look at the environment you work in.

Check out some of these areas and ask yourself or whoever is the most appropriate person: When was the last time the following was cleaned and is there an ongoing maintenance programme ?

Ducted heating



Café Units






Empower Yourself

Here are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure you remain healthy and happy at work.

Leave the office

Go for a walk at lunchtime; get some fresh air in your tea breaks. ...and you don't have to have a cigarette as an excuse to go outside.

Ensure your work area is cleaned regularly

Don't wait for the cleaners to do it. Clean your desk; vacuum the area, including the partitions and blinds.

Live Plants

Place live plants near office equipment ...photocopiers, computers, printers etc. Plants help filter the air.

Exercise regularly and eat healthily

If you want to keep fit and stay alive...just do it!

Electric Oil Burners

Use an electric oil burner and suitable essential oils to improve your productivity and enhance the environment

For more ideas on how to have a healthier and happier workplace see our e-book Get Organised - Get A LIFE!

The Final Word

When you're busy being busy, you often overlook the little things that make a huge impact on your productivity.

You have every right to work in a safe and healthy environment. If "the powers to be" are serious about the health and welfare of their employees then these issues need to be addressed.

If no-one will to take responsibility and the appropriate action, then you take control and do what you can yourself. After all if you're not prepared to look after yourself, don't expect others to do so.

Have a great week

Lorraine Pirihi

About The Author

Lorraine Pirihi is Australia's Personal Productivity Specialist and Leading Life Coach. Her business The Office Organiser specialises in showing small business owners and managers, how to get organised at work so they can have a life! Lorraine is also a dynamic speaker and has produced many products including "How to Survive and Thrive at Work!"

To subscribe to her free ezine visit


Aaron 06.12.2009. 22:26

What are some good examples of how technology has made us healthier and happier compared to a century ago? It's for a debate.
I seem to be finding a lot of stuff that says the opposite. (technology has not made us healthier/happier).

Could use some help.


Admin 06.12.2009. 22:26

Im not sure there are too many arguments in favor of tech making us both more happier/healthier, obvi tech has improved life expectency and its almost gaurenteed this trend wil continue, as for happier all that comes to mind is things like washing machins and dish washers , and maybe supermarkets, so food is cheap and we have to work a lot less to maintain ourselvs, but if your looking at planet earth as a whole, the things we take for granted like cheap consumer goods has had a high cost on poorer regains of the world


Skittles 17.08.2009. 17:04

Why does it matter if baby is breastfeed or formula fed as long as their healthy, happy and thriving? I've seen so many BF/Formula feeding debates lately.

I personally formula fed my daughter and have no regret whatsoever. It just seems like all the breastfeeding mothers is ALL over debates and formula feeding mothers...It really does NOT matter how an infant is fed as long as they are growing, healthy, happy and thriving. There cannot be a debate about that, because thats ALL that matters.


Admin 17.08.2009. 17:04

It has been shown that breast feeding is healthier than formula feeding. There are antibodies and such in breast milk that formula manufacturers have yet to replicate. That being said, if formula feeding is too stressful for Mom or makes her uncomfortable then it will stress Baby out and formula would be much more appropriate.

The bottom line is that whats best for both Mom and Baby is whats best for Baby, be that formula or breast milk. Nobody should judge another for making the choice of one over another.


jamie 18.11.2012. 23:27

a bare minimum diet to keep you healthy, happy and active? what's the bare minimum diet you need to keep yourself healthy, happy and active whilst still losing body fat. omitting flavour and texture what are the bare essentials that i should keep eating and drinking.


Admin 18.11.2012. 23:27

Dr. Joel Fuhrman coined the term "nutritarian" to describe a person who is most interested in improving the nutrient value of a diet per calorie consumed. Essentially, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in calories and low in phytonutrients available in plant based foods. A healthier and nutrient rich diet is called a "plant based diet." This way of eating shuns excess fat, processed oils, refined carbohydrates, flavor enhancers, and other food additives in favor of whole plant based foods.


holly. 21.07.2009. 04:10

What do rats require to be kept healthy, happy & fit? I would like to get a rat, but firstly I need to know requirements for keeping a rat and any other information you might have about keping a rat healthy, happy and fit.


Admin 21.07.2009. 04:10

Get 2 from a breeder because you will have a less chance of it getting sick and having to pay very expensive vet bills. you need two because they are social and do horribly if they are alone.

they need a large multi livel cage with horizontal bars so they can climb all over the walls.
they will also need 2 food dishes (one for dry food, one for fruits and veggies)
they also need exersize so give them daily out of the cage time, generally an hour or two minimum. you could also give them a wheel (some people say that rats dont use wheels but just because THEIR rat doesnt, doesnt mean everyone else's rats dont either) mine absolutly love them.
they will need tons of toys in their cage to keep theirs minds going, bird toys work great.
they need a hide out spot, it could be a box or a plastic igloo.
their water bottle needs to be changed daily.
give them lab blocks as this meets all of their nutritional needs.
fruits and veggies are an every other day thing, along with their dry food.
hammocks are also loved by many rats :)
if you have any questions you can email me


animal lover 15.09.2008. 15:40

What do you need to keep 2 healthy and happy guinea pigs? i'm getting 2 guinea pigs for christmas and i really want them to be healthy happy. any help?

animal lover

Admin 15.09.2008. 15:40

Clean their cage 2- 3 times a week, give them plenty of food and water, offer fresh vegetables everyday, give them unlimited amounts of Timothy hay, and lots of love and attention, I also give mine a bath once or twice a year with a mild shampoo.


Radical 02.02.2010. 03:40

Has anbody ever gotten a healthy and happy crested gecko from a pet store? My question is basically the title.
I want to know if I can get this cutie at the pet store... i will ask the employee to let me hold him and i will check all the things that need to be checked. I just want to know if anybody has gotten one that turned out to be a healthy happy adult!


Admin 02.02.2010. 03:40

Yes, it's possible. But talk to the staff about more than just that gecko. Get a feel for how the staff feels about their job. Is it just a job to them, or do they really care? When they get a new animal, do they research it's proper husbandry and follow through with any necessary changes?
Crested geckos are not like most other geckos people are used to seeing. Make sure you do your own research so you won't be duped by someone trying to make a sale. However, be open to any differences in opinion. There is more than one right way to care for an animal.


Yellow 11.01.2012. 00:52

How hard do you work to keep your relationship happy? People always say that a good healthy happy relationship involves a lot of work from both people. So tell me, what kind of work do you do to keep the flame going? and how long have you been together for?


Admin 11.01.2012. 00:52

My boyfriend and I will have been together for a year this February. We are so blessed. Honestly, we don't have to work at all. Our relationship feels so natural and everything seems to just flow. We've never had any arguments. I think both of us try very hard to be genuine with each other. We communicate all the time and have no secrets. I think the big factor that makes our relationship so strong is our walks with God. We pray together, go to church together, read the bible together, etc. That's so important to us, and it really keeps us centered on what's most important. I think that a real relationship shouldn't have to be work. It should be fun and exciting and free.


Rehana Moghul 03.11.2012. 00:01

How to save chicken safely and healthy, And what do chickens eat? If you can please give a little description and chickens safe, healthy, happy. Meaning what do they mostly eat? What is their habitat like, what kind of Temperature do they mostly like, cause i like keeping them outside!?

Rehana Moghul

Admin 03.11.2012. 00:01

What does "how to save chicken safely" mean?

If you mean domestic chickens then they need proprietory layers food, they need a secure coop or shelter to roost in at night safe from predators with a nest box to lay eggs in & a supply of clean drinking water. They don't mind hot temperatues or cold temperatures.


helen a 18.02.2010. 22:38

does biotin work for faster healthier hair growth? i am african and want healthier happier and faster hair growth, i've heard biotin supposedly works well for this purpose, but i wanna know, does anyone have any personal experience with this?

helen a

Admin 18.02.2010. 22:38

I se bounty hair skin and nail vitamins which have biotin. I heard biotin helps too but I'm not sure. Vitamin E supposedley works too and castor oil if massaged in the scalp and left in for ten minutes.


smileyface456 12.08.2007. 22:07

How do I check if my parakeets are healthy and happy? I have three parakeets and I'm dying to know whether they are healthy and happy becuase I don't feed them fruits and veggies. They don't want tp eat fruits and veggies.


Admin 12.08.2007. 22:07

Its fairly simple to tell a healthy bird.
1. They are active.
2. They have a good appetite.
3. Their eyes are bright.
3. They keep their feathers groomed neatly.

As for the fruits and veggies, many birds do not like fresh ones, but will love dried fruits and veggies or cooked ones.

Dried fruits such as raisin, prunes ,dates, banana chips, cranberries, apricots , or cherries are fairly easy to find in grocery stores. Dried veggies are a little more rare, but you should at least be able to find dried crushed hot peppers in the spice section. Birds will love them ! Meanwhile it is easy to dry veggies such as lettuce, green pepper slices, cabbage, or carrot sticks. Dry them in a dehydrator , or use your oven set at 100 degrees until the items are completely dried but not burned.
When putting the dried items into the bird's food, be sure to cut it up into small birdie-bite sized pieces.
For cooked fruits and veggies you can use green beans, peas, corn, mixed veggies, carrots or any other common veggie. Pineapple is a favorite fruit.
Birds also love warm food such as veggies, pasta, and even vegetable soup! Just be sure that the temperature is warm but not hot. Lukewarm is best.

Good luck !


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