If we asked you to make a list of the riskiest professions, you might start with ideas like stunt double, tiger trainer, mountain bike racer, or secret agent. Customer service representative, secretary, and IT professional probably wouldn’t even enter your mind. While all of the adrenaline-fueled jobs on your hypothetical list are pretty risky, you may be underestimating the health risks associated with office work. It’s important to understand the risks and to learn how you can prevent those while using healthy practices.
Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI as it’s commonly known, is on the rise in our technology-driven society. Per its name, this injury is a result of repetitive strain on your muscles and tendons from everyday tasks (like typing). Tapping small keys in front of a computer screen is deceivingly easy, so much so that employees often work for hours without taking a break or even realizing that they need a break. According to Carnegie Mellon University, anyone working on the computer should take ten minutes per every hour of work to walk around and change the body’s position.
While you may think this recommendation a little excessive (after all, you’re just pushing little plastic buttons, right?), the best way to handle RSI is to make sure it never happens in the first place. In fact, symptoms of the condition like fatigue, lack of coordination, tingling, and pain are signs of damage that’s already been done. So if you experience discomfort, take it seriously. Continued strain on an injured wrist or hand could lead to years of impaired motion.
Prevention is the key to battling Repetitive Strain Injury. As we mentioned before, regular breaks can work wonders, especially when used in conjunction with gentle stretches and exercises. Ergonomic furniture and supplies are becoming more and more popular as awareness of office injuries spreads. Ask your company to invest in keyboards, mice, chairs, desks, or monitors that are designed with your health and comfort in mind.
Take responsibility for putting your body in the right position while working: feet flat on the floor, right angles at your knees and hips, lower back curved and supported by the chair or a rolled towel, neck and head looking straight ahead (not down at your monitor), arms relaxed on either side, wrists straight from every angle and not collapsed on the desk, keyboard, or wrist rest. Maintaining good posture is the most effective way to keep RSI and other potential health risks at bay, plus it offers many other health benefits.
Here at Anthem, we understand that working online can come with headaches and that those can be prevented. Do the little things now while you’re healthy to stay healthy. Your Anthem Internet connection will still be going strong when you get back to work.