As the pace of life keeps moving faster, so does our need to keep up and be more time efficient.
Enter the year 2014 when bringing Your Own Device to work can really help workers increase their productivity and make the work experience more positive, simple and mobile. Literally, you can work from wherever you are. Of course, there are some issues that must be worked out if BYOD company policies are going to work long term with the more obvious concerns about security, integration and logistics each IT Department must address. And there are the less well-known and often overlooked health issues that the constant use of smaller devices can pose- from employee health concerns to liability and revenue concerns for organizations.
Whether using your laptop, tablet or mobile device for work or personal time, it’s good to check in now to see if your body is experiencing any of the “ BYOD symptoms” listed below:
- Stiff or sore fingers? The awkward position your fingers and wrist assume when you use a mouse track pad or type on a handheld device can cause pain and stiffness in the joints and tendons of your hands.
- Back, neck pain. Looking down and hunching over a smaller screen all day causes muscle strain in your neck and back.
- Shoulder Pain. A standard desk is 29 inches which is much too high for most people. This encourages reaching up to the desk resulting in hunched shoulders.
- Eye strain. Staring at a computer screen and straining to read items on a small, handheld device can lead to eye strain and fatigue, and even headaches.
According to a 2008 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29% of time spent away from work due to illness or injury was because of musculoskeletal problems, and these issues can be made worse by working on a laptop or tablet. Here’s what we recommend to make BYOD better for your body and your health.
Properly set up your work space
- Computer monitors should be placed high enough to avoid looking down, so you don’t tilt your neck. Raise that laptop and get a keyboard and mouse to lessen the body stressed postures. Make sure your device is centered in front of your body no your neck is centered.
- Raise your chair and get your feet supported so your wrists are level or slightly above the your device of choice and your shoulders are relaxed.
- For on-the-go solution, lower your work area. Placing the laptop on your lap, Model #22 wedge is an alternate solution. The Kare light-weight, angled wedge supports neutral posture and reduces compression when placed on your lap (Free shipping coupon code: free shipping).
- Computer screens should be about arm’s length, and the icons should be large enough so that there is no need to lean in to see them.
Invest in an ergonomic office chair
This is one investment you’ll make in 2014 and be grateful you did for the next 10 years. By investing in an ergonomic office chair you can avoid a lot of the problems of neck and back strain caused by using a smaller device. Make sure the seat depth fits your body size (seat depth adjustment is a good option) and the back can tilt toward your desk for great work posture support.
Try to relax your hands when you work
Try not to grip the computer mouse and your laptop, tablet or phone too tightly, and use a mouse rather than a track pad to promote a more natural finger and wrist position. For starters: go to system preferences and speed up the control for the mouse click and movement to minimize unnecessary wrist action and clicking too hard. Got long manicured finger nails? Aching fingers and wrists may be the result to how you have to hold your hands to keyboard.
Don’t overuse your mobile devices
Employees should use desktop computers rather than handheld devices whenever possible. To avoid finger strain from small keyboards, the voice command and hands free options are a terrific alternative, and landline phones should be taken advantage of whenever possible. Also, if your laptop is for work, turn it off out of work hours. Don’t let your work hours extend into your leisure time just because your work device is mobile.
Take frequent breaks
Computer users are really putting their fingers, hands and back muscles through a workout when using tech devices. Take frequent breaks throughout the day to relax and stretch tired muscles. Step away when you find yourself with that blank stare into the monitor screen.
It has been noted that people who exercise regularly experience fewer musculoskeletal problems. An added benefit: an energy boost to finish your work quicker and more productively. Yoga and meditation are terrific sources of prevention and relief and some companies, like Google for example, make these kinds of classes available for their employees.
The new practice of BYOD in organizations and enterprise allows us more freedom and ease with which to manage our lives and our business. By taking the proper steps to sit and work comfortably, 2014 could be your most productive year yet!
Karen Burke is the President and Founder of Kare Products. Karen has over 30 years of expertise creating ergonomic furniture that helps avoid injury and promotes health for all types of discomfort and body sizes.