Is Your Office Giving You a Headache? Read up on These 5 Likely Causes

Many people face issues with headaches and migraines. This common, and often daily occurrence can lead to missed days at work and difficulties staying focused on work. For some, these headaches could be due to underlying health conditions that should be checked out by a health care profession. However, most headaches that occur while in the office are often caused by the office environment. There are a variety of causes for these headaches. In some cases, it may be due to the stress of the job, lack of sleep, or even a cold or sinus infection. However, if the headache seems to only occur while in the office or shortly after work, and happens more than a few times a month, it may be a problem in the office. These are the five most common reasons for an office place headache.

Harsh Lighting

Many offices use overhead fluorescent lighting. This is usually because fluorescent bulbs are relatively cheap and provide plenty of light to illuminate the entire office. Unfortunately, fluorescent lighting can be very harsh on the eyes. The light can cause glare on a computer screen which can make it hard to focus on the work. Fluorescent lighting can also flicker a lot, especially when a bulb is not properly installed or is going bad. This light can cause the eyes to attempt to compensate for the excessive light or even the flickering. This can create a strain on the eyes, the eye muscles, and even cause stress on the brain by sending a lot of visual information without giving the brain enough time to process the information. This can cause tension headaches or even trigger migraines. Fortunately, there are options from available to help ease the problems associated with fluorescent lights.

Although natural lighting is always the best option to reduce the strain caused by fluorescent lights, not every office has access to a window. Filters can be applied to fluorescent lighting to help with the harsh light that pours out over the office. These filters can reduce glare and make it easier to stay focused on the work at hand. The filters help to create lighting that is closer to the color spectrum of natural lighting. It is also important to give eyes a break to allow them to relax throughout the day. It is often suggested that workers should close their eyes for about twenty seconds for every twenty minutes on the computer. This can help reduce eye strain and prevent many headaches.


Another major cause of an office headache can be strong smells. Many office settings require workers to be in close proximity to their coworkers. Various soaps, deodorants, or perfumes can have strong odors that can cause some people to have headaches due to being exposed for long periods of time. Sometimes, the odors are due to cleaners and other chemicals being used in various parts of the office building. It can be hard to avoid these smells. Requests can be made to managers or even the coworkers to not use the offending products. Unfortunately, these requests can sometimes cause more headaches than the odors. Probably the best tip for easing headaches caused by certain smells is to take a break as often as possible. It is recommended to take a break at least once an hour. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air to help alleviate the harm caused by these offending scents.

Air Quality

Air quality can also be a major problem in an office setting. Ducts and HVAC systems can accumulate a lot of dust and allergens in large office buildings. When the heat or air is turned on, these particles can blow through the air and cause irritations and are often responsible for headaches. These headaches can be especially problematic for those who suffer from sensitivities to allergens and dust. Other sources of allergens can be office decorations or even plants. These things can sit in the office for months or even years. During this time, they can collect dust and mold that can also diminish the air quality of the office. Poor air quality is a major cause of headaches. One method for fixing this problem can be cleaning ducts and other items around the office. Unfortunately, this is not always an option for office workers. portable air purifier that can be placed on or near the desk can be a great way to improve air quality and reduce office headaches.


Diet can be another major cause of headaches. When working in the office, lunches can sometimes consist of greasy, unhealthy food items found quickly and locally. These meals often have little dietary value. Without proper nutrition, the body cannot function properly and can increase the risk of headaches. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can also be a big cause of headaches. Sitting at a computer screen for hours on end can sometimes cause a person to become sleepy. Drinking down some caffeine is often a method for staying awake. Unfortunately, caffeine can cause headaches, especially when used excessively. Caffeine is also a diuretic. Having too many caffeinated drinks and not enough water can cause a person to become dehydrated. Dehydration can also cause headaches.

To avoid diet-related headaches, choose better options that provide the nutrients and hydration needed. If caffeine cannot be avoided, at least reduce the number of caffeinated beverages throughout the day. Bring a lunch instead of purchasing one. This can allow for better food options. Fresh fruit can also be a great way to get the nutrients and energy needed while staying hydrated. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water throughout the day.


Office work also requires a lot of sitting throughout the day. Many times, the sitting is done hunched over a computer screen. Poor posture can cause muscles and nerves to become damaged and painful. This tension and pain can also lead to headaches over time. Sitting for extended periods of time is also bad for circulation. Poor circulation can also be a cause of headaches. The best method for reducing many of the problems of sitting is to maintain proper posture throughout the day. Proper adjustments of the chair and the computer screen can make sitting upright a lot easier. It is also a good idea to take frequent breaks to get up and move around. This can help with circulation and will also give the muscles in the back and neck a chance to rest.

Office headaches can be very difficult to overcome and be a productive employee. It is important to take steps to identify the cause of the headache. Once a cause is found, steps can be taken to relieve the issue. Do not ignore recurring headaches. There is always a reason for them and usually a solution. No one has to work in pain. If none of these things work to relieve the headache, it may be a good idea to contact a health care professional to get to the bottom of the problem.

Unnati Vaidya is a freelancer Content Writer and SEO generalist. She is an enthusiastic reader of Novels and a big fan of watching Sci-fi movies and seasons!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.