8 Surprising Work Things That Are Bad for Your Health

Yeeeeah...that exercise ball isn't the cure-all you think it is.

Woman sitting at her desk on a yoga ball.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Look, we all know that working in an office isn't exactly ideal for your body (hence all those standing desks and stability balls popping up in the cubicles around you). But since quitting your job to move to an island and scoop ice cream (opens in new tab) isn't an option for *everyone*, here are the office-y things that are wreaking havoc on your life—so you can avoid to the best of your ability. (Good luck on #1 though.)

1. You work with a lot of men.

Yup. A new study found that women who work in male-dominated offices suffer negative effects (opens in new tab) to their brain chemistry—basically, making you more susceptible to disease. Cool. To combat, uh, life, take care of yourself and your stress levels? (I'm sorry, there's no real way to deal with this other than find a different job that's super chill and run by women.)

2. You change up your shifts or work hours.

Love an ever-changing schedule? Like the idea of packing in the hours so you can have a sweet vacation after? Sorry to say it, buuuut...you're doing nothing for your well-being (opens in new tab). Besides messing with your sleep schedules, which can screw up things like your metabolism and blood pressure, you're also more susceptible to heart disease and depression. (Yay!) And bonus—women are particularly at risk, as schedules that work against internal clocks ups your risk of Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer. (Double yay!)

3. Your commute sucks.

Not really surprising, but the longer your commute, the less you love life (opens in new tab)—increasing your odds of developing depression and anxiety. You also mess with your sleep (duh). But you don't need a particularly *long* commute for things to go south—traveling more than 10 miles from your home to your office raises your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Chill.

4. You go on frequent business trips.

What might be seen as a perk of a job can actually be quite the opposite. Frequent business travelers are almost twice as likely to be obese (opens in new tab), as well as have higher levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Not to mention—constant traveling (and the time away from family) increases overall stress.

5. You have a standing desk.

Haha! You bought into the hype, and now your body is just as pissed off as if you were sitting—just in different ways (opens in new tab). Not only are you at an increased risk of carpal tunnel thanks to the positioning of your hands, but all that time standing creates an additional load on your circulatory system. Translation? Varicose veins.

6. You, uh, sit.

The standing desk wasn't *all* hype, though. Sitting at work (and/or for long periods of time) puts you at increased risk (opens in new tab) for muscular skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease...you get the gist. And this is even if you work out. Hooray.

7. Your office has frequent "motivational meetings".

We've all been to those "team-building" meetings, the subtext of which is: "Why the hell are we here?" Turns out, those meetings are making you sad—literally. Research shows (opens in new tab) that forcing people to feel positive about something that they're unclear or unsure about can actually highlight how unhappy everyone is and make people feel depressed. Oops.

8. You work on tight deadlines.

Quick turnarounds on important projects affect your learning and memory, much in the same way that severe stress lasting weeks or months can. It's all the same to your brain (opens in new tab).

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.