Anyone who’s ever worked long hours in an office knows that it can be a challenge to stay healthy. And all that time spent sitting doesn’t help matters. From eye strain to poor posture, office workers are at risk for a variety of aches, pains and other health challenges.
Although we often blame technology for the pitfalls of a desk-bound lifestyle, tech can also help alleviate some of the same health hazards from sitting in front of a computer all day. To keep your team healthy and productive, I like these three categories of apps, programs and devices to remedy the most common ailments workers face at the office:
1. To combat eye strain
- Orange-tinted glasses are an affordable option for reducing eye fatigue by filtering blue light.
- F.lux is a free software program that adjusts the tint and brightness of your device’s display depending on the time of day -- full-spectrum during the day and warmer, red-spectrum at night.
- Awareness is a free app for Mac and Windows that reminds you to take breaks by playing the steady tone of a Tibetan singing bowl. It won’t lock you out of your computer, but it does monitor continuous usage to ensure you actually take a break.
- EVO beeps when it’s time for a break and temporarily blacks out the screen for an allotted amount of time. It also offers suggestions for eye exercises to do during the break. The app is customizable, but the default “20-20-20” plan (every 20 minutes, take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away) is most commonly used.
- Eyelo reminds you to rest your eyes by occasionally dimming your screen and leading you through eye exercises. It also disables the screen for specified periods of time for longer eye breaks.
2. To improve posture
- Lumo Lift is a small sensor you put on your shoulder that tracks your posture and activity, coaching you to sit and stand tall by gently vibrating whenever you’ve been sitting with bad posture for too long.
- UpRight sticks to your lower back and delivers a gentle vibration when your posture slips.
- MacBreakZ is a posture-building app that offers two programs: prevention and recovery mode. Prevention mode demonstrates and prompts stretches to reduce muscle tension and promote good posture, then prompts you to take a short break. Recovery mode is for users already experiencing neck and back pain, worsening vision or poor circulation. It prompts users to take 10-minute breaks after a specified period of time.
- Posture Man Pat uses the Y-axis of your webcam to monitor head height. If you start slouching, the app will alert you by dimming the screen, sounding a bell or both.
3. To get you moving
- Big Stretch Reminder allows you to configure breaks. You decide how long they should be, what they’re for and how intrusive you want reminders to be.
- Move is an app that reminds you to stretch and stay active throughout the day. It allows users to select from more than 300 specific exercises. It describes them as “80+ coworker-friendly exercises you won’t be embarrassed to do at work. In fact, no one will even know you’re doing them.”
- Workrave reminds users to take micro breaks, long breaks and breaks that limit daily computer usage. It shows you how long it is until your next break and also offers a selection of exercises to do during breaks.
- Break Time is a simple app that allows you to set alerts at chosen intervals to remind you to take a break from sitting. It lets you customize break times and lengths, and reschedule breaks and disable reminders with one swipe.