Got your laptop in front of you, your phone on your right, and an extra tablet on your left. Great! Now are they all placed properly to protect your eyes and your physical health?
What’s your environment like?
Most of us spend an average of 8 hours a day at work – that’s a really long time – and we’ve each probably developed a range of working habits that work well for us. When we sit at the same desk every day for an extended period of time staring at a screen however, we may experience a few, if not all of these:
Our eyes feel tired and dry after a whole day of staring at the screen.
Our heads hurt after 8-hours of facing the glare of the screen.
Our upper backs may feel sore after slouching for a whole day.
Our lower backs may feel an ache after sitting down for hours upon hours.
So we attend massages, we stretch, do some yoga, but again and again the same aches and pains keep coming back. Instead of finding symptomatic relief for every ache or discomfort we feel, why not tackle the source of the problem – our workspace ergonomics.
According to the dictionary, ergonomics is ‘the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment’. Ask yourself: what does your physical environment look like when you sit down for a day of work? Look at where your laptop is placed and how it’s placed, notice the way you sit, and how you look at the screen all day. These little things can hinder your vision and physical health. However, small little changes to your workstation can help address your health concerns and reduce the risk of any health conditions.
Getting down to re-organising.
When your eyes feel tired and dry, or if your head hurts, or when your back begins to ache, it may be due to the position of your laptop and other digital devices at your work desk. It’s important to practice effective workplace ergonomics to prevent any physical health issues from surfacing:
1. Use a laptop stand or a phone stand, or both!
A laptop stand is one of the most ingenious inventions. All you have to do is set it up and prop your laptop on it. The reason why it’s so great is because it helps to prevent your neck from tilting too far down to see the screen.
The elevation from the laptop stand helps keep your gaze at eye length and stops you from slouching towards your laptop or leaning too near it. Not only does this help to alleviate the pressure on your shoulders and upper back, it also helps you maintain healthy eye sight as it keeps you from leaning too far forward toward the screen.
The same thing goes for your phones. If you have a tendency to bend forward to check out new notifications that ping on your phone, invest in a phone stand to help you look at them at a leveled height.
2. Adjust your laptop position away from the glare
If you sit by the window in your office, you’re definitely no stranger to the sun. So when the sun strikes your laptop, you’re met with the most intense glare your eyes have ever seen. This can contribute to eye strain in the office and reduce your productivity.
One of the ways around this is to purchase an anti-glare filter for your laptop, depending on the size of your laptop screen. You could also consider angling your laptop away from the sun so that it doesn’t hit your laptop and cause your eyes discomfort.
3. Get up and move
Sitting is the new smoking. While it’s important to continue being productive at work, sitting all day can be detrimental to your spinal health. Staring at a screen all day is also damaging for your eye health as prolonged screen time is an associated risk factor of myopia.
If you notice you’ve been sitting at your desk staring at your screens for more than an hour, get up and take a walk to the pantry. Stare out the office windows. Go to the bathroom. Just get moving when you can while you’re in the office to ease off the tension around your eyes and your body.
We work, we work, and we rest.
We spend a lot of time at our work spaces and that’s normal and okay. What’s not okay is not caring about how those works paces are set up. Even while we’re working we ought to take care of our visual and physical health too. If this article has inspired you to rearrange your work station and your everyday work habits, feel free to share this article!