We’ve all done it – spent hours staring at a screen without a break to give our eyes a rest. Not only can long periods of screen time be damaging for your eyes, it can also increase the risk of fatigue.
You may think office work is one of the safest industries with the lowest risk of illness or injury, but it has its risks and dangers in its own way.
Below are five ways virtual assistants can prevent screen fatigue.
As a virtual assistant, you will often find yourself staring at your computer for long periods of time. This doesn’t only cause mental strain, but it can affect your eyes in so many ways. Do you find yourself blinking less than you would if you weren’t staring at a screen? Whether you’re on a smartphone, tablet or computer, your blinking action is greatly reduced. The reason we blink at all is to help moisten our eyes. This action helps prevent dryness, redness and irritation. Are you rubbing your eyes after a hard day of work at the computer? Chances are, you did not rest your eyes enough, or blink enough, during the day.
It’s a proven fact that we blink one-third less than we would without a screen in front of us. The trick is to try get your body and brain out of this habit. If you cannot counteract the problem with brain training, you can ask your doctor for eye drops which help moisten your eyes. In the meantime, try blinking in quick succession every 20 minutes and ensure all heating and cooling appliances are out of direct eyesight.
Take plenty of breaks
It can be easy to spend hours and hours at a computer when you’re working on an important virtual assistant job. If you’re involved in what you’re doing and there’s no time to waste, it’s easy to neglect your body and forget to take breaks. Not only do your muscles, neck, and back suffer, but so do your eyes. If your eyes are only focusing on what is in front of you, they become fatigued, irritable and even itchy.
It’s important that you get up, stretch, and focus your eyes around the room at least every 20-30 minutes.
Too much screen time can alter your vision, making it more difficult to focus on items and scenes out of direct eyesight. This can have an impact in later life. You may need to get your eyes tested for glasses, or you may need stronger lenses on the glasses you already have. Over time, you may find yourself becoming short-sighted. This is why it’s so important to take plenty of breaks.
Keep a clean screen
Believe it or not, computer screens, smartphone screens and tablet screens can become filthy over time. They can build up dust, grime, fingerprints and, unfortunately, even sneeze and cough spots! Aside from the obvious unhygienic components, any mark on your screen can cause your eyes to be drawn away from the task at hand. It can even make it harder to see what you’re working on. Just as you would clean your glasses lenses, you need to clean your screen.
You can do this by mixing a small amount of dishwashing liquid with warm water on a microfibre cloth. Ensure it’s only slightly damp, and rub the screen clean. Once the screen is clean, dry it thoroughly with a dry microfibre cloth. You can also buy special screen cleaning solution which does a very effective job as well.
You should aim to clean your screen at least once a week, or more if you’re particularly prone to touching your screen. Tablets may need to be cleaned with a microfibre cloth daily.
Maximise the text size
Depending on the software or programs you are using, screen and text size can be a major problem. Eye strain, in many cases, is caused by the text on the screen being too small. However, at the time, it may not seem that way. It’s only halfway through a project that you may realise your eyes are sore or you’re feeling fatigued. The best virtual assistant is one who can pinpoint the dangers and make an effort to resolve the problem. On most computers, there is an option to maximise the page size. This, as a result, increases the size of the text. On most word processing software, you can even choose which size percentage you wish the text to be at. If, in general, you struggle with the screen size not being big enough, it might be time to invest on a larger monitor.
There is also the problem of contrasting colours. If you are going from one website to the next – all with various colour combinations, you may find yourself suffering from screen fatigue. The best colour combination – in all cases – is black text on a white screen. If content on a website is proving too difficult to read, simply copy and paste it onto a word processor document and change the colour to suit your eyes.
Virtual administrative assistants largely work from a home office. This means they generally set aside a small part of their home for an office. In most cases, this is near a window. Although windows allow you to get that much needed breeze or a decent view, they can also cause glare. Depending on how your screen is positioned, glare can be a huge problem. It can highlight the dust particles positioned on your screen, and it can make reading very difficult. Instead of squinting for hours on end, you need to address the problem. There are many office product stores that sell glare covers. These reflect the glare away from your screen. You can also bump up the screen’s brightness to fight through the glare, or insert a curtain to block it altogether.
Although it’s nice to see the sunshine beaming in, it’s best when it’s hitting the room, not your computer screen.
Virtual assistants fight on a daily basis with screen fatigue, but there are plenty of ways to reduce its impact.
Have you found a way to battle through sore eyes and irritability? We would love to hear about it, so get in touch!