Eyestrain

Arseni Mourzenko
Founder and lead developer
170
articles
November 6, 2014
Tags: workplace 7 hardware 11 short 50

A few months ago, I left the com­pa­ny, but it's only to­day that I un­der­stood why I of­ten had headaches and eye­strain at work, and I rarely have that when work­ing at home.

At home, I un­con­scious­ly fol­low the next pat­tern: work for ten min­utes to an hour--an hour be­ing when I'm tru­ly in the zone, then do stuff which doesn't force me to stay in front of a mon­i­tor: take a nap for five min­utes, eat some­thing, go look through the win­dow. All those tasks are hard­ly con­cieav­able in an un­healthy en­vi­ron­ment such as what we had at the com­pa­ny I left. I imag­ine that I don't have to ex­plain why tak­ing a nap would be im­pos­si­ble there. Eat­ing some­thing could be pos­si­ble, but in front of the mon­i­tor. Spend­ing a few min­utes gaz­ing through the win­dow would definitve­ly be sus­pi­cious.

As a man­ag­er, I can hard­ly ex­pect peo­ple to stare at the mon­i­tor all day long. While some man­agers would qual­i­fy gaz­ing through the win­dow as a sign of lazi­ness, it's re­al­ly not; tired­ness, on the oth­er hand, can have a huge im­pact on the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. The oth­er mis­be­lief is that do­ing some­thing else for a few min­utes will kick the per­son out of the zone. This is wrong as well: if the per­son is in the zone, he won't be able to take a nap, be­cause he just can't think about any­thing rather than the task it­self. If the per­son de­cides to go eat some­thing, he's not in the zone any­way.

Of course, the tasks are dif­fer­ent too. In this com­pa­ny, I was asked to write lines and lines of code for the whole day. At home, I work as a de­vel­op­er, which means that a large amount of time is spent do­ing tasks which re­quire not a PC, but a pen­cil and a piece of pa­per. I can also af­ford read­ing--a task which is stricly pro­hib­it­ed at my pre­vi­ous job.

Ad­di­tion­nal­ly, at home, I have three 24-inch mon­i­tors which are not the most ex­pen­sive ones and may not be the best ones, but are still quite good, at least com­pared to the crap I had to use at the com­pa­ny. Frankly, I take it as a sign of lack of re­spect to have to use those cheap 22-inch Dell mon­i­tors we see every­where: se­ri­ous­ly, I don't de­serve a mon­i­tor which costs more than $150? When work­ing there, I had to fight to have dual-mon­i­tor con­fig­u­ra­tion. Most col­leagues had only one mon­i­tor, and used their note­book screen side-by-side, ru­in­ing their eyes.

Fi­nal­ly, the work­space was done in such a way that we didn't have win­dows near­by to gaze through, but the win­dow was slight­ly be­hind us. In the morn­ing, it was prac­ti­cal­ly im­pos­si­ble to see any­thing on the screen be­cause of the sun, so we closed the blinds, and turned the lights on. There were ways to solve this is­sue, but it was strict­ly for­bid­den by the man­age­ment to move the fur­ni­ture. The work­space be­ing large and dark, we were of­ten forced to keep the lights on the whole day, which only in­creased eye­strain. This is just dis­re­spect­ful to pro­vide such work­ing con­di­tions and to for­bid peo­ple to try to im­prove them.

So, if you're a man­ag­er, please: