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Health tips for remote working and long-term screen work

Operating from a desk has taught me a few things. The biggest is you spend a lot of time in front of a screen for hours in a specific seat. Office workers know the feeling. Whether it’s a familiar environment or you’ve been thrust in front of a computer for extended durations, computer work is the same. Lots of screen time, typing, and managing communication. Unfortunately, over time this can add up to some subtle, unpleasant health issues.

The question is, how do you deal with it? A job may require you to be at your “workstation” for extended periods. At the same time, you can’t ignore the subtle impacts this will have on your health.

Simple health tips for desk/remote work

Overall, personal health is an individual journey with different goals and needs. Remember, at Bytagig we’re not a replacement for professional advice. If you’re experiencing serious problems, check with your doctor.

But, there are a few tips I can personally recommend based on my own experience with computer work. Thankfully, you don’t need special equipment, just time and personal management skills. First. . .

Check that posture!

If you’re reading this from a desktop screen, I’m betting you aren’t sitting up straight. That’s okay! It’s a pretty common occurrence. Posture and PC screens do not mix, and it’s a subconscious issue. It happens because our heads lean forward when looking at a screen.

Ever stand up and feel your back hurt? Or your neck? That’s because as your head leans forward, it places extra weight on the neck, instead of that weight being distributed evenly throughout your spine. And yes, our noggins carry some pounds, and over time it strains the body. So, right now, breathe in-and-out, round your shoulders, and straighten your posture.

The hard part, however, keeping posture consistent. It’s very easy to have your body slump forward without realizing it. To keep good posture, it has to be subconscious. Both feet flat on the ground with the hands raised on the keyboard (not resting). Like many things, it’s a habit. Once you build on it though, your body will thank you.

Remember to stretch!

Take a moment or two to get up and stretch your body. While posture is great, you’re still in a single sitting position which goes on for hours. Stretching and taking a brief walk back and forth helps relieve some tension in the body.

Give your eyes a break!

This health tip goes along with stretching. However, whether you move around or not, it’s still important to briefly rest your eyes. Unsurprisingly, this is one of your most “worked” areas during time in front of a screen. And, I’m willing to bet you frequently need to look at other screens too. It adds up, and your eyes can strain and get sore after a while, which has the nasty side effect of contributing to headaches and migraines. You don’t want those when dealing with screen-based work. Look away from your screen for about 20 seconds, or close your eyelids for 20 seconds. Either way, doing so every half an hour will help provide some relief for computer work.

As for some side tips, clean your monitor and work in a well-lit environment. This prevents you from squinting, which adds a lot of eye strain over time.

Consider hand stretches!

Typing can get to you after a while, or, general hand movements with a mouse and keyboard. The frequent tension placed on the finger and wrist joints adds up, and creates soreness, stiffness, and general pain. To abate this, performing hand and finger stretches every hour can alleviate this tension.

There are several flexing and stretching motions you can apply, like balling your fist or doing the “claw stretch.” Basically, as you would with any limb or muscle, keeping the limbs stretched relieves tension. Typing and moving your mouse might not sound painful, but the steady build-up of tension over dozens of workdays can lead to long-term pains, especially for older users.

Other tips:

  • Get a comfortable, supportive office chair if you mostly work from home
  • Keep your monitor at eye level, instead of looking down at it
  • Stay hydrated, you can always get an extra glass of water
  • In remote work settings, separate your work and “peace” environment

If all else fails, consulting a health professional is highly recommended.

For other tech assistance and IT problems though, we’ve got you covered. Contact Bytagig today.

-Douglas James

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