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How to Spend Hours at the Computer and Still Stay Healthy

How to Spend Hours at the Computer and Still Stay Healthy

Modern jobs can seem like dream jobs when you are first getting into them. When you compare a desk job to a job that demands physical exertion, it may seem that the health aspects of work go in favour of the people who don’t exert themselves physically on a daily basis. There are far fewer opportunities to get injured, and there is no physical strain on the body.

What most people who are new to these kinds of working conditions don’t realize is that there are numerous negative effects that prolonged sitting in front of a PC can have on a person’s health. The ailments of modern IT professionals and other desk workers range from physical problems to mental issues that these kinds of working conditions cause.

It’s easy to completely disregard these things at first, since it takes some time for the symptoms to develop, but if you don’t take action to prevent them, they can have a very serious impact on your health and your life in general.

Take breaks from sitting down

Your biggest enemies are the prolonged sitting sessions, which can have an impact on various health aspects. As your posture slowly deteriorates (if it wasn’t already bad before you even got the job), your joints start aching, you lose your flexibility, and you start to have less and less energy. These are just some of the things that can be caused by prolonged sitting, and this is how you can fight it.

Every time you take a break, whether you are taking a real break, talking to a colleague or just planning your next course of action, make sure you stand up, walk around, stretch out and give your body the time to recuperate.

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Exercise is a must

    Regardless of the fact that you strive to take regular breaks from sitting down at the office, you still need to have some physical activity in your free time. You can even do some exercises at the office. A lot of people who work in IT have hobbies and pastimes that are related to using tech. Whether it’s gaming, social media (via phones or PCs), or watching TV, these activities all include sitting down or lying down.

    This is why taking up some physical activity is a must. Start running or riding a bicycle. Jump on that treadmill or get a gym membership. Of course, you need to persevere at whatever you choose to go for so you can actually reap the benefits.

    Keep your health in mind at all times; this will allow you to boost your motivation. After a while you’ll realize that this isn’t something that you have to do, it’s something that you want to do.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a real issue

    Due to the fact that your mouse hand is constantly in the same position and making the same movements over and over again while you work, it is quite probable that you will develop carpal tunnel syndrome. You might experience problems with tingling sensations in your thumb, index and middle fingers, which are caused by the constant pressure on the median nerve.

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    You need to catch this on time and take steps to resolve it. There are remedies that can help you get this under control without too much trouble.

    You are what you eat

      Finding a good diet that fits your lifestyle can be tricky, but if you let yourself go and rely on the quickest and easiest meals, which usually ends up being fast food and other unhealthy options, you can get yourself in a whole lot of trouble.

      In a lot of cases, people tend to go overboard with bad carbs, fats and sugar intake, which puts a big strain on your digestive system and causes massive weight gain. Obesity can become a real issue, really fast. Furthermore, your cholesterol and blood pressure can go through the roof, which can lead to heart problems and other serious issues.

      Make sure that your diet is well balanced and that it fits in with the training regimen you opt for. Old habits may die hard, but you need to make the necessary changes and do the things that are good for you.

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      Get enough sleep, for God’s sake

      All of this will be for naught if you don’t allow your body and mind to get the rest they need to keep working properly. Even if you do everything else right, if you allow your hectic schedule to destroy your sleeping habits, you will not be able to make your health gains last. Not getting enough sleep means that you won’t have enough energy, that you will be easily irritated, and that you will lack motivation to get through your day.

      In some cases, people have legitimate sleep disorders that prevent them from organizing their lives properly. In other cases, sleep troubles are nobody else’s fault but our own. Make sure you are not stepping on your own toes with the decisions you make before you actually decide you have a sleeping disorder.

      There are concrete steps you can take to get your sleep pattern in order, and if you still can’t sleep after this adaptation period, consult your physician.

      You need to take the hazards of your modern desk job seriously or they can escalate into problems that are not easy to resolve. If you manage to get these health issues under control, you will improve the overall quality of your life and be happier and more active in your free time.

      Furthermore, you will be able to handle stress more efficiently and avoid allowing it to hit you where it hurts. The progress of your career and your decision-making abilities are also impacted by the state your body and mind are in.

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      Keep in mind that this is a lot to do and that the adaptation period may be difficult. Prepare for this mentally and don’t expect things to happen over night. The benefits are clear and they should be enough to motivate you in the beginning.

      If you think that you may waver in your decision, partner up with a friend, colleague or somebody else so you can keep each other in line when the motivation module in your brain fails to start up. Good luck!

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/box-business-celebrate-celebration-296878/ via pexels.com

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      Aleksandar Ilic

      Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

      Con #4: Unique Distractions

      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

      Final Thoughts

      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

      More About Working From Home

      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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