Why Your Tech Job May Be Killing You

Research is finally backing up once-empirical evidence that an office job can be as hazardous to your health as one that’s out in the field. Recently, Business Insider published a comprehensive list of the most common threats, and many of the examples part and parcel to jobs in the technology industry.

Computer WarningHere are eight health stressors that you should pay attention to.

Sitting Kills

Sitting for lengthy periods puts tremendous strain on the body. Researchers from Kansas State University, who conducted just one of several recent studies, found that sitting for more than four hours a day can lead to a higher risk of muscular skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Current science suggests that those who sit for extended periods of time need to make a conscious effort to get up and move around many times a day.

Slouching Means Future Chronic Pain

Ergonomics can prevent injury so pay attention to the position of your chair, monitor and the arrangement of your desk space. Slouching leads to poor posture, so it’s imperative that you make the necessary changes to straighten out your spine. If not, a habitual slouch may contribute to several chronic ailments including arthritis and bursitis.

Long Hours Could Lead to a Heart Attack

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who work 10 hours or more every day have a 60 percent greater risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and angina.

Odd Hours Translate into Diabetes and Heart Disease

Irregular hours and too many late nights can lead to Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Also, people who wake up later in the day show a decline in leptin, a hormone responsible for curbing appetites and an increase in the stress-related hormone cortisol.

Staring at a Monitor Affects Vision

Staring at a monitor over long periods of time creates eye strain and can temporarily harm your vision. Chronic eye strain is also a common source of headaches and migraines.

E. Coli From Dirty Keyboards

Microbiologist Dr. Peter Wilson told the BBC that a keyboard is often “a reflection of what is in your nose and in your gut.” Keyboards can have up to five times as many bacteria as a bathroom toilet, including dangerous ones like E. coli, coliforms and staphylococcus.

Tight Deadlines Disturb Learning and Memory

Tight deadlines and short turnarounds create stress, which according to Science Daily can affect your learning and memory. This sort of short-term stress has been determined to be just as bad as stress that’s longer lasting.

Motivational Meetings Can Be the Opposite

Employers may want to rethink those team building exercises. Research has shown that forcing people to feel positive about something they’re not entirely on board with can actually create feelings of insecurity and depression.

4 Responses to “Why Your Tech Job May Be Killing You”

  1. johngalt

    > Motivational Meetings Can Be the Opposite…

    After all, if you feel the *need* to motivate, there must be a reason they’re not. I’ve noticed at IBM that the worse off a project is, the more meetings they’ll have. And IBM is *very good* at pushing their “Go Team” meetings.

  2. Female developer

    Ok, tell me something I don’t already know…how does it help to be told my job (that I cannot afford to retire from) is killing me? I already knew this…Most of us would leave IT if we could…

  3. I.T. consultant

    As an I.T. consultant for over 12 years i have to say the amount of travelling that is demanded of you definitely reduces your lifespan. All the stress induced by travelling ex. Lack of sleep, late dinners with lots of alcohol, going through security lines twice a week, crazy deadlines….will affect your health and well being.

  4. 40 Years of IT

    I’ve been in IT since 1974, either as a programmer or sysadmin. I enjoy technology, but it has always been difficult staying in shape and dealing with stress. A medium scale heart attack in 1995 resulted in an angioplasty. Things then seemed fairly good until I failed a treadmill test in 2009 and required a triple bypass. Even if you try to get exercise, eat right, and avoid stress, the cumulative damage from sedentary office work, traveling, long work hours, deadlines, etc., over the years can slowly sneak up on you. I’m now dealing with painful back trouble and peripheral artery disease in my legs. I’ve finally made it to retirement this year, but will I be able to enjoy it?