Green Living

Work It

Americans log more time on the job than people in any other industrialized country--more than 2,400 hours a year. Try these simple tips to turn your office into a healthy, inspired workspace.

Work It
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1 The average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than an office toilet seat, according to researchers at the University of Arizona. Disinfect germ-laden trouble spots like phones and keyboards once a day using Germ-a-Clenz, a natural antiseptic spray with microbe-fighting cumin and oregano oils.

2 Purify the air--and create a mellow ambiance--with a desktop ionizing salt lamp, recommends William Rea, M.D., author of Optimum Environments for Optimum Health and Creativity. One to try: Mundo Verde's Himalayan crystal salt lamp.

3 To nix back pain, adjust the height of your chair so your feet are flat on the floor, with your spine against the backrest. Herman Miller's Mirra Work Chair accommodates a wide array of body shapes--and up to 96 percent of the chair's materials are recyclable.

4 Face your desk toward, but not directly in line with, your office door. When people approach from behind, we feel uneasy, leading to creativity and productivity blocks, says Los Angeles-based feng shui adviser Brigette Pope. If you work in a cubicle, hang a mirror that lets you see what's behind you.

5 Skip the vending machine and feed your midafternoon slump healthfully with Fabe's natural cookies. All five cholesterol-free varieties (chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, and mini macaroons) are vegan and contain only natural sweeteners.

6 Replace at least one cup of coffee with yerba mate. South Americans have consumed this smooth, smoky brew for centuries to combat fatigue and stimulate mental acuity. Yerba mate contains caffeine, but it's also rich in vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. Try Yogi Tea's single-serving bags.

7 To protect your eyes, lower your computer screen well below eye level (viewing close objects lower in your visual field causes less strain) and tilt the top of the screen back, as you would hold a magazine. Avoid glare with a monitor screen like Humanscale's MG Filter.

8 "The number-one rule with wrists is to keep them straight," says Oak Park, Ill., ergonomics consultant Dennis Ankrum. Typing on a conventional computer keyboard requires your arms and hands to pivot inward; split keyboards help keep your wrists in line. Try Key Ovation's Goldtouch Ergonomic Keyboard.

9 Computers, copy machines, and other office electronics create an abundance of energy from the fire element, which can weaken focus and cause irritability, says Pope. Subdue the surplus fire with water energy from a fountain, or plant bamboo stalks in a clear jar with river stones and water.