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Work in IT? Here are Top 10 Ways to Prevent Eyestrain for Programmers

Work in IT? Here are Top 10 Ways to Prevent Eyestrain for Programmers

Whether it’s tweaking settings to boost business performance or using tech wizardry to save an organization from potential ruin, IT specialists like programmers are on the front line. While their skills and objectives vary massively, they always have one thing in common — a lot of screen time. 

Poor lighting, consecutive hours sitting, and the need to stare at screens to do your work can all lead to physical discomfort, especially eyestrain. Modern computer displays look much more like printed material than ever, but even with sophisticated adjustments for contrast, brightness and hue, IT professionals tend to be more at risk of eye strain and computer vision syndrome than other people.

Don’t get Computer Vision Syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome can be described as the problems that come from prolonged screen viewing with devices such as computers, tablets and cell phones. Despite improvements in computer screens and lighting, we are still tied to human physiology. Our sensory limitations mean that we interpret the information coming from a screen and this can stress both brain and eyes.

Screens are a part of working with IT, but it doesn’t mean that computer vision syndrome has to be part of IT life too. To protect your health and your future in programming, you can take a few daily actions to reduce the risk of eyestrain and have a happier, healthier work life.

Address the Basics

One of the most basic characteristics of a computer screen is its refresh rate. A screen’s refresh rate refers to how frequently per second the screens are redrawn or refreshed or how often a new picture is made. 

Generally, 60 times a second (a frequency of 60 Hz) is considered acceptable. This is because that frequency is indistinguishable to the human eye and appears to be a continuous, uninterrupted display. Slower refresh rates, such as 30 Hz, have a flickering appearance to the human eye. That can cause eyestrain. With modern computers, you can usually set the screen’s refresh rate to something that works for you.

Here are 10 ways programmers can help prevent computer vision syndrome:

  1. Make screen viewing easier on your eyes by regularly taking breaks. Never mind “getting your groove on” or being “in the zone.” Programmers and other IT specialists deserve and need to take regular breaks. If you really can’t leave your desk, the 20-20-20 rule is effective. It suggests that you take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something about 20 feet away to help protect your vision.
  2. Simple eye care will help too. If you haven’t used eye drops, try them. If you haven’t had a recent eye exam, get one. Describe to your eye doctor the kind of work you do, and for how many hours a day you work with screens. 
  3. Programmers might benefit from a prescription for new glasses to help with their work. Tinted glasses, like the FL-41 variety, block wavelengths from fluorescent lights that can cause dizziness and headaches. These glasses, called blue blockers, may help with screening the wavelengths that computers emit.
  4. Keep the computer monitor at the right distance from your eyes, which is about 15 – 20 inches. Don’t have the monitor positioned so your eyes are level with the screen’s center. Have the screen so you are looking a bit down at its center. That also gives your head and neck a more comfortable position for extended viewing, like reading a book.
  5. Sometimes simple solutions are the best. Adjusting your screen’s contrast, brightness, and resolution. While you may be tempted to dial it up to the maximum resolution to increase the amount of “real estate” you can fit on your screen, a lower resolution and a larger font may be easier on your eyes and allow you to work more effectively.
  6. Take control of your lighting. Would “daylight” bulbs be better than fluorescent? Don’t have the lights too bright and avoid glare. You can also get filters for computer screens that reduce glare, as well as glasses. 
  7. If your office or workspace has sunlight coming in, try to position yourself properly. Aim to have any sunlight behind you, instead of in front of you, as long as the sunlight does not cause obtrusive reflections on your screen. 
  8. Your seating position is important. Programmers and other IT specialists using screens can benefit from sitting upright and being able to look slightly downward at the center of the computer screen. 
  9. What about your chair? It needs to support your back. If your arms are on the desk, supporting your weight, a better seating position will protect your back and make it more likely that your eyes are at the optimum distance from the screen.
  10. The placement of reference or ancillary materials can affect your vision through the day. If you need things like pens and notepaper, keep them about the same distance from you as your computer screen. Your eyes won’t have to change focus to look at these things. 

Take care of your vision to safeguard your future in IT. If you’re looking for employment in the IT field, get in touch with us at Concero Technology Group. We can help you “see” where you want your career to go. 

Bethany Hutchins

Bethany Hutchins

Technical Recruiter

Watch Bethany’s Spotlight video or connect with Bethany on LinkedIn.

Cultivating an Attitude of Professionalism at Work

Cultivating an Attitude of Professionalism at Work

Professionalism means everything. It’s your currency, your hallmark, and what will ultimately keep you moving up in your career. Your professionalism has to be backed by your actions and your attitude, not just what you say.

This quote by author and executive leadership coach, John C. Maxwell, should be the mantra for every working professional.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”

If you want to be respected and treated professionally, then make sure the way you conduct yourself doesn’t include a bad attitude, negativity, selfishness, or rebellion against the cultural climate. That seems simple enough to avoid, right? I’ll expand on this topic, so you know how to stand out as a team player.

Here are a few ways to cultivate an attitude of professionalism.

Understand the Organization’s Expectations

Every workplace has a unique culture — expectations arise from that. Your workplace will have its own set of norms, and part of being professional is following those unwritten rules. Some organizations are more casual, where people can pop into one another’s offices with quick questions. Others have a heavy focus on following protocol for everything from communications to when people take breaks.

Falling within the expectations of your company culture shows that you have a respectful attitude. Doing the opposite can make you stand out, but not necessarily in a good way.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

If you aren’t sure of what your company culture dictates, ask a coworker with whom you are friendly. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply ask: “What do people usually do about [subject in question]?”

Accept Feedback Graciously

Feedback is an important part of learning. Accepting it graciously and gratefully is key to a professional attitude.

Whether from a colleague, a supervisor, or a client, feedback is meant to help you do your job better. Even if it is critical, you should avoid taking it personally. You are not your mistakes; use feedback to learn and grow and know that you are gaining valuable experience.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

During a conversation or meeting in which you are getting feedback, remember that your body language is as important as your words in showing that you are not defensive. Uncross your arms and smile. Thank the other party for their feedback.

Stay Away from Gossip and Office Politics

Leave the drama for the evening TV reality shows. Work should be a place where you are seen as a professional, not auditioning for Big Brother. Gossiping and getting into office politics will ultimately harm your reputation.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

If a coworker around you is gossiping, you can take a no-nonsense, neutral approach and politely step away from the conversation or calmly state that you’re not interested in taking part in talking about someone behind his/her back.

Dress the Part

As much as people notice your attitude, they also notice your appearance. If your company has a dress code, be sure to follow it. This goes back to being aware of and adhering to organizational norms. If your appearance goes against the dress code, you’re making it obvious that you think you can disregard the rules.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

Even if there is no dress code, make an effort to look neat and groomed every day. Don’t wear wrinkled clothes or be covered in pet hair. In business, pride in appearance often correlates to pride in your work.

Keep Notes and Records

Whether you are new to the job or have been in your position for a while, having accurate notes and records ensures that you come across as knowledgeable and professional, even under pressure. Take notes at meetings, during and after phone calls, and any other time information is conveyed. Do this for your records and future planning.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

When you are getting used to a new space, attending a meeting with a large group of people or have new coworkers, you can create a map to help ensure you have all the right details. Note where people sit, what their names are, and any other pertinent information.

Proofread Your Communications

While you are writing things down, make sure that you use the correct spelling and proper grammar. People will judge your communication skills. Anything you write is on the record forever. Also, be aware of how your attitude comes through in your correspondence. Sarcasm and “off-hand” remarks don’t belong in email, as it is impossible for people to understand your intention or read your body language.

A Concero Helpful Hint:

There are many browser add-ons, websites, and apps that go beyond the traditional spell check to hone your communication skills. Email has become the SOP for most workplaces, but that doesn’t mean that you should always forgo traditional salutations; if you’re sending a message to an executive in your firm or a client, make sure to say use a greeting that isn’t too informal (not “Hey there!) and include a “thank you” in the sign off.

When you incorporate these habits, your colleagues and supervisors will surely see that you have the right perspective, which will carry you very far in your career!

As a recruiter, I definitely look at skills and experiences, but I also pay close attention to professionalism and a candidate’s attitude… that’s why it’s important for me to meet with people and talk to them in person.

Ready to put that professionalism to work? Connect with Concero, and we can help you find your next dream job!

Bethany Hutchins

Bethany Hutchins

Technical Recruiter

Watch Bethany’s spotlight or connect with her on LinkedIn