work stress

Health Issues and Stress Faced by Employees in IT industry

The use of Information Technology has been praised for revolutionizing the lives of many people all over the world with computer applications being used in virtually all sectors of the global economy, from health, banking and finance, education and building and construction amongst many others. The use of information Technology has over the past decades gained the confidence of many lives, which has resulted in different operation and tasks that were previously handled manually.

With the advent of the internet with the use of technology, the hindrances and obstacles have been rendered almost nonexistent. The information technology related work environments have been the preferred workplaces of many young graduates in the recent past. The use of Information Technology has presented the benefits and problems almost in equal measure.

With the advent of the internet with the use of technology, the hindrances and obstacles have been rendered almost nonexistent. The information technology related work environments have been the preferred workplaces of many young graduates in the recent past. The use of Information Technology has presented the benefits and problems almost in equal measure.

Key amongst the problems has presented by the intensive and extensive use of information technology has been the occupational health problems, which have characterized the lives of the individuals who have been employed in the departments related to Information Technology in various workplaces.

It is a fact that poor working environments exposed workers to health hazards, which results in diminished productivity and the output per worker. As well, health complications will persistently bother employees’ life and career as an IT worker for a very long time and even drive you out of an active and productive life.

Research and Case Studies


What defines your ideal working place of the IT department? Well, this requires proper understanding in the context of evolving disease. Below are some case studies focuses on the finding of the actual condition of employee health issues.

Many research and case studies have been carried out throughout the world for instance, in the year 2004, Branda Pinto, Shrutin Ulman and Ms. Harneet Assi carried out a research study in India’s state of Goa about how frequent and predominant are the cases of diseases relating to occupational health in the Information Technology workplaces around the state.

The study noted the absence of information and the fact that many people are not aware of the health issues that are predominant amongst the people working in the Information Technology environments. The study set out to find out the reality and the facts and concluded that health problems are best solved once their grounds are effectively discovered and documented.

Back in the year 2001, Wilmar B. Schaufeli and Esther R. Greenglass presented a case study on health and burnout where they identified burnout as the condition of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from engaging and emotionally demanding work over a longer period time.

A case study published in the year 2005 in the Survey Ophthalmology Journal by Clayton BlehmSeema Vishnu and Ashbala Khattak reviewed the computer vision syndrome where they found symptoms like eyestrain, blurred vision, and double vision. The study recommended various treatment options, which included ocular therapy as well as adaptation to the workstation; proper lighting, anti-glare filters and taking regular breaks from the work to refresh up.

The impact of these health issues


The impact of the health issues relating to the people working in the Information Technology department could be far-reaching and present long-term effects. Arguments have been put across to the effect that the people working on computers had rising cases of heart related diseases due to the excess pressures of being monitored.

Besides heart diseases, there are many extreme diseases, including, high-stress levels, mental health problems, cardiovascular infection, depression, overweight, and obesity, lack of sleep and acute anxiety.

The bare facts remain that the impact is severe that we could imagine; the impact is compounded especially where there exists little information or sheer ignorance from the affected parties. Stress levels have been increased in coping up with the demands of computer related work environments, especially with the older and less schooled workers.

Health Challenges of the IT Employees


There exist a significant number of young people working directly or indirectly in the Information Technology departments; it shows the level preference of young graduates’ choice of the IT work environment. Being relatively young could mean that one can post remarkable resistance to some of the health challenges that have been noted to affect these people. However, the body’s resistance is bound to weaken at some point in time, due to changing food habits and lifestyle.

Musculoskeletal

So, you are a talented IT guru, you are bound to sit for longer hours with deadlines to meet and so many codes to write. Naturally, you put your clients’ needs and timelines above everything. Have you taken a minute and wondered what the effect of sitting still almost in the same position for a long time could do to your body?

At the mention of musculoskeletal what comes to your mind? You must have complained about bodily aches with muscles feeling excited and sometimes burning sensation and sharp jerks of the muscles. This is Musculoskeletal if you have known. This condition is usually caused by assuming postures and spending lots of time sitting in a fixed position. It hampers the effective flow of blood and oxygen to different body parts where it is needed the most.

This scenario results in what medics refer to as musculoskeletal disorders, which often appear as swelling and pains in the joints. In general, Musculoskeletal will generally harm your bones, tendons, and the ligaments.

Computer Vision Symptom

One thing that I have come to find hard to understand is the fact that our cousins and brother working in the IT department do not just seem to take the eyeballs off these light emitting devices. If he is not on the desktop, you will not miss him on the laptop; unfortunately, even on the go you will still find them on their tablets and smartphones anyway. Just how much light do these devices emit?

The Computer vision symptom is an assortment of problems connected to your eyes and vision resulting from prolonged use of the computers used by the IT employees.

Computer vision syndrome has the effect of causing blurred or double vision, reddening of the eyes, sensitivity to light, drying of the eyes, burning sensation in the eye areas sometimes headaches and eye strains. Over 90% of people using computers suffer from the eyes and vision related problems constituting the problem of Computer vision syndrome.

Depression and Insomnia

Do you have Depression and insomnia? This is a weird combination to be considered. Believe it or not, those people who spend a considerable time in front of computers as little as five hours a day have the risk of lapsing into depression as well as suffering long sleepless nights.

Feeling of depression, anxiety and difficulties in awakening each morning have been mentioned owing to the excessive use of computers for hours and hours continuously. It is worth noting here that the length of time spent in front of the computer will determine the degree of depression and insomnia experienced by an individual.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Most of the computer manipulations we do involve the use of our hands; tapping on the keyboard of moving the mouse from one point to the next. This where the problem begins, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens when the nerve that runs into the palm from the forearm is squeeze right in the wrist section of its path. The nerve passes through the carpal tunnel forming its passageway.

Studies have revealed that women may be much more exposed to the carpal tunnel syndrome since the carpal tunnel is much narrower than it is in men. This narrow vessel could become narrower from swelling in the surrounding region, which resulting in a painful and weak feeling rendering the whole hand and wrist system numb. Early detection is very important to avoid the possibility of permanent damage to the nerve system controlling the coordination of the hands and the fingers.

Back Pains and Problems

You must have complained about some constant nagging back pain; such pains are not odd complaint, especially for those people working with computers. Working in the same station every day could mean that you assume the same posture almost on a daily basis. The fact is that you spend a lot of time seated still for longer hours could expose you to some real dangers of repetitive strain injuries what is popularly known as RSI.

Without proper ergonomics set up, the IT people and the others who spend long hours in front computers would be brooding spinal complications starting from compressed nerve roots, excessive strains in the back tendons, muscles and ligaments. You should there strive to assume a position and posture that enables you to shift and freely move your limbs frequently as this will rid you of the fatigues.

Posture

Much as the new designs of ergonomic computer component have made commendable strides to reduce some of the problems facing computer users. The healthy posture that should be assumed by the person working in front of the computer is yet to be embraced fully.

This is especially made worse by some of the devices that people often use on the go such as laptops, which has been designed in a way that an individual can assume any posture while operating it. The design of the laptop has been termed as contravening the ergonomic design requirements for computers where the input and display components are separated i.e. the keyboard and the monitor.

Bad postures result in poor breathing, which could have long-term effects on the lungs. Moreover, who would have thought that your posture affects your stomach system? Welcome to the series of constipations and indigestions because of poor posture. Now you know that bad posture needs to be treated very seriously otherwise you might not write the codes for long.

Weight Gain

You are what you eat. You are too busy, right. You cannot afford even to shift your weight as you are screwed to the seat and eyes affixed to the display unit! Since the IT people are always busy rooted in one spot, exercising is hardly one thing easy to come by. Feeding inappropriate choice of foods and the absence of meaningful exercise has the result of weight gain and eventual decline in the muscle mass.

A good number of IT people have gained weight since assuming their current job roles. We all know that weight gain does not walk alone. Weight can easily turn into obesity with which you run the risk of hosting other potentially risky health problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, and low level of testosterone in the body. You surely do not want to be the one-minute man in bed, do you?

Mental Health

Working for a long time in front of the computer without meaningful exercises can be catastrophic and inclining to health problems including mental health complications. The IT department employee is prone to getting upset and overworked, which aggravates their stress levels. The brain normally releases hormones such as adrenaline to improve the senses and boost immunity.

Some level of stress I said to be acceptable, however, chronic and undue stress can be harmful and can render you vulnerable to heart diseases, depression and anxiety, which can lead to a lapse into a cute mental health problem. People suffering from anxiety are always prone to many physical and emotional problems, including sexual problems and cardiovascular diseases.

What remedies available do you have at your disposal?


The fact that you are already experiencing some or all of the occupational health problems mentioned above does not mean that yours is a good health condition. There are solutions and remedies some of which will not cost you a penny.

However, for the IT employees who might have experienced these problems over a long time and for some reason ignored the signs and they need to seek medical attention, their recovery and rehabilitation might demand more than just a simple effort. Below is a look at some of the remedial actions available.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal pains can be treated by applying therapy and medication as well; anti-inflammatory medication can be applied to treat inflammation or the pains relating to musculoskeletal problems. Some individuals may suffer from Fibromyalgia which is composed of fatigue, loss of sleep and mood swings and are mostly treated by administering medication that increases the level of serotonin, which is a chemical that the body produces and acts as a neurotransmitter, serotonin has been referred to as a mood balancer whose deficiency leads to depression.

Exercises that stimulate and stretch the muscles have been effective in managing musculoskeletal. Some other effective methods that have been used as remedy include occupational therapy, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques. The method of treatment known as osteopathic manipulative, which requires care of your hands, it involves your medic moving and stretching your muscles and joints, applying gentle pressures and triggers resistances.

Computer Vision Syndrome

With the use of a computer, one can hardly avoid the challenges like computer eyestrain and other visual problems for which doctors have strongly advised. Those individuals who work in front of computers should take eye examinations before beginning their exposure and at least once in twelve months. Excessive light coming into the working station from outside is identified as a major cause of eye strain and therefore, care should be paid to ensure that too much light from outside is kept at minimal.

The display units should not be avoided here too, you may have to look over forms of display units that you use. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) should be substituted with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) since the CRT displays usually have flickers on images, which contribute largely to computer eyestrain.

Your eye also needs to be kept as moist as possible; you will achieve this by blinking more often. You may also consider making adjustments of the levels of brightness, the font sizes of the texts of the displays as well as the contrast. For those wearing contact lenses, they may consider having their contacts modified and specially made for use in front of computer display units.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Taking breaks in between work is highly recommended since it gives your body system the time it needs to relax from the strains, which has been caused during the working time. For relief against the effects Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, IT workers are advised to assume the most appropriate posture and keep their wrists in the right position during work, use of fingerless gloves have also been granted as they keep the wrists warm and also maintains high flexibility.

Embracing proper ergonomics is another means by which employees can curb the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome amongst their workers. For instance, tasks could be rotated amongst different employees to minimize the levels of strains. The employers can also invest in ergonomics keyboards and mouse for their employees to achieve less typing discomfort, finger stretching, and minimal strain.

For those already caught up with the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, they may opt for surgical and nonsurgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment methods include exercises, which have both stretching and strengthening effects and use of anti-inflammatory drugs that will reduce the pains and swellings.

Depression, Insomnia and Mental Health

The IT professionals sometime are plucked away from the normal interacting set ups where they would interact with fellow human beings; instead, they interact with their computers and all the gadgets and devices they work with. With improper exercises, the IT professionals expose themselves to stress, which, if not checked, could be catastrophic in the end.

For insomnia, changes in your lifestyle could bring the most desired outcome. Such as regular exercises, yoga, meditation keeps you fit and fine. Avoid taking of caffeine and nicotine, especially hours before bedtime is highly essential as well as developing some meaningful sleeping habits. Managing depression on the hand also involves lifestyle changes such as embracing regular exercises that boost the levels of serotonin. It should be noted that low levels of serotonin could cause depression to individuals.

Healthy nutrition composed of balance died and adequate sleep is very important in managing and suppressing depression. Other than the obvious changes in the lifestyles, acupuncture and psychotherapy are effective in treating depression. Some of the most common psychotherapy methods are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

Back Pains and Problems

Eight out of ten people using computers for more than five hours per day have registered complains of back pain problems. Back pain is a major occupational health problem, especially amongst the IT employees. The approaches to the treatment of back pains have been classified into two methods popularly referred to as the conventional and multidisciplinary treatment methods.

The conventional mostly involve orthopedics and physical therapies for treating the back pains. The Multidisciplinary treatment is composed of multiple approaches to the treatment of chronic back pains like the intense physical exercise, psychological and behavioral intervention, and rehabilitation methods.

Smartphone Apps at your Fingers

You must have realized by now that if you are an IT department employee, you are exposed to so much occupational health problems by spending an endless hour in front of the computer.

Have you taken the time to reflect on how your actions and situations that your work matters could change your life from worse to worst?

Have you imagined that the smallest things you could use to improve your status of health at work?

Think about it, as a simple blinking of the eyes could keep your eyes wet and save you from the ominous computer vision syndrome.

So many Smartphone applications have been developed to help you keep fit and maintain a healthy state. Some of these smartphone applications include…

Conclusion

In conclusion, we cannot do without the input of the IT department employee, as our business operations are likely dependable on technology. We cannot simply survive without the IT department. The world would come to a virtual standstill, if all the IT workers were by reason to stop working or find themselves in situations where they are unable to perform the tasks that keep the world moving generating incomes for business corporations.

One key thing that comes out clearly is the fact that the nature of the jobs that employees do in front of their computers exposes them to various occupational health hazards which sometime, maybe taken for granted, but do have long time effects including but not limited to physical impairments, obesity, cardiovascular related problems, depression and mental problems.

It is therefore imperative to take the initiative both as an individual and as department or employers to embrace practices that encourage well being and mitigate the occupational health problems that the IT workers and employees are exposed to at work. In general, even some small exercises can help you a lot against a rising health problems. Even going to a gym regularly can make your muscle relax and keep you healthy.