Are you a Programmer? Then STOP and read this right now!

With no heavy lifting or hazardous machinery, Programming is often an occupation that is overlooked in terms of being dangerous. But imagine if you couldn’t sit at your desk anymore, or couldn’t type. Could you risk your profession to these perilous feats?

 This week we look at some great strategies to keep every Programmer happy and healthy in the workplace:

1.      Manage your Blue Light Exposure
Blue Light (also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light) is not bad. In fact, it makes up 1/3rd of the visible light spectrum and is what makes the sky look blue. This type of light also helps to boost alertness, memory, cognitive function and mood, and has been effective at treating people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. While the light itself is not bad, unhealthy amounts of exposure that can come from staring at monitors all day can result in digital eye strain with symptoms similar to macular degeneration. Many computers now come with f.lux which allows a computer monitor to filter out blue light based on the time of day. If your monitor is not set up with f.lux you may consider a screen filter or an anti-glare coating on your glasses.

2.      Look Up From Your Monitor
Staring at your computer screen for long periods of time can lead to eye strain, tiredness, headaches and dry eyes. Some doctors suggest the 20/20/20 rule to prevent eye lockup (also known as accommodative spasm or “programmer’s stare”).
The rule is this: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Another such trick is the “10-15” variation that suggests every 20 minutes to look at something close up for 10 – 15 seconds, then to look at something far away for the same amount of time, and repeating the process 10 times.

3.      Set Up Your Work Environment
By regularly adjusting your position at your workspace – including your monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, desk height etc., good posture is encouraged. As some basic guidelines, your monitor should be between 20 – 40 inches away from you and your back should sit firmly against the back part of your chair.

4.      Take a Walk
A recent study has shown that adults who walked for 3 times a week for 40 minutes over the course of 1 year were actually able to grow their hippocampus (the part of your brain that helps create new memories). While 40 minutes may seem like a lot, consider the following:

·        Every 30 min – 1 hour, get up and walk around the office for 5 minutes
·        Get lunch outside the office somewhere 10 minutes away – by the time you’ve walked there and               back you’ve already covered half your daily walking quota.
·        If you take the subway, get off a stop or two early and walk.

5.      Start a Daily Walk Group
If you are a manager or team lead, consider the benefits of a daily walk group. Not only does it contain the physical benefits mentioned in #4, but it can also bring members of different teams together to talk, collaborate and build relationships.

6.      Adjust your Monitor Brightness
A high disparity between your monitor and the room can cause to squint and strain your eyes. A simple trick to testing your monitor brightness is to look at a website with a completely white background. If the monitor seems like a light source¸ it’s probably too bright. If it looks dull and grey, it’s probably too dark.

7.      Drink More Water
Your body is made up of 50-65% water. Needless to say, we need to stay hydrated in order to stay healthy – and staying healthy is key to keeping energy up, maintaining a good mood and accomplishing your best work. Also, all those other symptoms we discussed in this article (the eye strain, headaches, fatigue and back pain) – those too will subside with proper hydration!

VTRAC Wants to Know!
Try these tips out for the next 2 weeks and let us know if they’ve helped you be more productive in the workplace by commenting below!