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Your Office May Be Affecting Your Health

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Leaving the office, most of us feel pretty exhausted. Studies now
suggest that we can blame much of what ails us physically and mentally
on the layout of our workspace.

Not all the 150 employees at Tough
Mudder's international headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn sends e-mails
from a treadmill desk. But any who want to may exercise that option.

"It's
not like you're working at a call center where you have your booth and
there's nowhere else for you to be besides your communal kitchen or
something," says Tough Mudder brand VP Alex Patterson. He credits the
company's in-house workouts with the health of his body and the layout
of its office with the health of his mind.

"There are nooks and crannies where lots of people can brainstorm," he says.

American
companies standardized the sprawling square room divided by cubicles or
nothing to foster team atmosphere. But newer research suggests that the
open-plan office actually raises stress while lowering motivation and
focus and maybe even reducing life-expectancy.

"A lot of my
patients tell me that sitting is the new smoking," Dr. Len Horovitz. "If
you don't move, you have more risk for cardiovascular diseases,
diabetes."

He would likely excuse Tough Mudder sitters when he saw
their mid- and end-of-day workout routines, standing desks, and -- yes
-- the office treadmill.

But even an active open-plan office, with
quieter work spaces where the distracted can focus, faces a greater
risk of airborne germs than closed-off individual work spaces.

"It's
absolutely true that a sneeze cloud, which is like a balloon, can
travel a lot father in an open space and can affect a lot more people,"
the doctor says.

The healthiest possible office likely varies depending on the worker and the individual needs of that person's body and mind.

But offering to employees a choice of where to sit, stand, or walk seems a fine place to start.

Your Office May Be Affecting Your Health


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