Office employees spend at least six hours a day looking at computer screens, reveals a study by Indian furniture solutions brand, Godrej Interio. While 65 per cent admit experiencing eye strain and vision problems, 47 per cent suffer from headaches and fatigue. About 70 per cent of professionals in India spend six to nine hours looking at gadget screens daily. With more time spent viewing computer and mobile screens, employees across organisations are reporting several eye issues, ranging from visual fatigue and headaches to more complicated problems, such as dry eyes, blurred vision, double vision, irritation and watering.
The research study titled ‘Visual Ergonomics’, reveals that illumination levels are inappropriate at 68 per cent of workstations in Indian offices. While 42 per cent were excessively illuminated, 58 per cent lacked enough lighting. Proper lighting is necessary for employees to read print, handwritten text and content on the computer screen clearly. Excessive lighting can be blinding, whereas dim lighting or bright light from big windows or overhead lights can cause a washout effect on the digital screens. Therefore, lighting has to be just right for the eyes to remain stress-free and to avoid computer vision syndrome or CVS.
Inappropriate placement of monitors can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Excessive exposure to gadget screens for long periods can adversely affect the employees’ physical and mental health, in addition to CVS.
The study suggests that organisations proactively assess and address the visual health challenges at the workplace for the well-being of their employees. Simple eye exercises and alteration of illumination levels in the workspace along with regular evaluation of employees’ visual status can go a long way in ensuring that employees do not suffer the ill effects of too much screen time.
“To address visual health challenges among computer users at an organisational level, it is important to formulate comprehensive employee wellbeing guidelines,” says Sameer Joshi, associate vice president, marketing (B2B), Godrej Interio.
An illumination audit of the office space can be considered to assess the different lighting needs of the various work profiles, equip various spaces with optimal illumination levels and help enhance employee wellbeing. Regular check for CVS is also recommended for the staff. There is also an urgent need to create awareness so that ergonomic challenges can be addressed. The study suggests right training about the right habits, workstation arrangement, and digital hygiene for the employees, in accordance with their work routine. Imparting training on physical and mental fitness through basic relaxation techniques is also advised to combat visual fatigue. Regular eye camps are yet another suggestion.
Educating employees on potential ergonomic issues can help prevent vision-related issues, says the report.