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10 Things Only The Colorblind Would Understand

10 Things Only The Colorblind Would Understand

Most people dismiss colorblind people as having a minor problem with red and green. As we shall see below, color vision deficiency (CVD) is not as simple as that! About 8% of males (one in twelve men) have this condition while females suffer more rarely from it (5%). While it is normally an inherited condition, many people may suffer from it later on in life when it is caused by other illnesses such as diabetes or as a side effect of medication. Here are 10 things that the colorblind will understand only too well. It is much more than an eye health problem.

1. People think their world is only in black and white.

When people see the world in black and white, this is not the usual color blindness at all. It is a condition known as achromatopsia and sufferers see the world in different shades of grey. It is rather like viewing the world on an old black and white TV. Fortunately, this condition is very rare and about 1 in 33,000 people are affected.

2. People think the colorblind mix up red and green.

It would be great if it were that simple. They think that they just get their reds and greens confused. But, if you look at the actual cause of color blindness, it tells a different story. The eye has certain nerve cells, called cones, in the retina which can differentiate color. When this is defective, the eye fails to pick up the red elements so the colors of red and green appear to be the same color, a shade of light brown, in many cases. Another example of this red/green color blindness is that there is difficulty in seeing the red element in purple so they will have problems in distinguishing blue and purple.

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3. People think it is a minor problem.

Many people dismiss color blindness as a minor disability. But the reality of life tells a different story. Colorblind people have difficulty when they do not realize their child may be getting sunburnt! They may have problems when gardening or when they have to prepare food, not to mention when buying clothes. Laying the table may become problematic when they select the ketchup instead of the chocolate sauce for the dessert. Glasses which can help block glare can usually help a little in better distinction of colors.

4. Colorblind children have problems with food.

Imagine telling a colorblind child to eat up his spinach. The problem is that it appears to him as a rather unattractive brown color which will remind him of something else which is totally disgusting. Similar problems arise when they have to distinguish between an unripe green banana and a nice yellow ripe one.

5. People think that colorblind people can adjust easily.

In many cases, colorblind people adjust and they can tell the difference between red and green traffic lights by their position. But, in many cases, their choice of career can be limited as they will have problems with colors. Becoming a fashion designer, graphic designer or an electrician are usually impossible for people with this condition.

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6. Effects on the business and the economy are rarely taken into account.

It is only recently that the idea of changing colors in reports, graphs, presentations, brochures, colored house plans and maps to become more color-blind friendly has begun to make an impact. The truth is that all this colorful information may not be fully accessible for a small minority, around 10%. If the reds and greens are seen as brown, it may be impossible to fully understand a report, graph or a PowerPoint presentation.

7. Food marketing needs to take color blindness more seriously.

We seem to live in a red/green world. From traffic lights to the green economy and food packaging these two colors are everywhere! Let us take an example from supermarkets which use a red/green traffic light system which warn people of levels of fat, salt and sugar. A quick glance to spot the red colors which are unhealthy will do for most of the population. But for those who are suffering from CDV, then they have to read the actually detailed info on the label which is usually far too small anyway. This will affect about 5% of customers.

8. LED lights are infuriating.

Most warning systems use red and green to signal that a device is on standby. The red/green system is also used to indicate whether a battery needs charging. For the colorblind, this can be frustrating to say the least because they never know what is really happening. It is always the same old color!

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9. Working in a safe environment is important.

Most employers have never even bothered to reflect on whether their premises are actually safe for the colorblind. Are the warning signs for health and safety using color as the main component? If they are, then this may lead to accidents. Health and safety authorities in the UK warn that under sodium lighting, red is not easily read by people with normal vision.

10. Using a computer with colorblindness.

British Telecom have issued a short guide for web designers to help make their pages more color-blind friendly. Keeping in mind such things as luminosity with background will make the text more readable. This is an excellent initiative because most web designers have never even taken this into consideration. It is high time they did!

Are you or a loved one color blind? How do you cope? Let us know in the comments.

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Featured photo credit: Love on the rocks(Color version)/Anne Worner via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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