Is IT Bad for Your Health? 5 Top Risks for Tech Professionals
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, July 24, 2017 12:00
Nobody ever said life as a tech worker would be easy. Whether you're a server administrator, a help desk technician, an applications developer, or some other type of IT professional, chances are you'll face your fair share of on-the-job risks over the course of your career. Here are some of the top health risks facing IT professionals, along with advice to help you prevent them.
Every job has its fair share of stressors, otherwise it wouldn't be called "work." However, tech jobs can be especially stressful, particularly as more businesses downsize and outsource. You may find yourself acting as the sole IT professional for a business, requiring you to become a liaison between business leaders and contractors. There's no denying that stress can take a toll on your physical health and even shorten your life expectancy, but what can you do? Learn stress coping mechanisms or, if possible, consider one of these less stressful IT jobs.
Today's IT worker no longer has to be physically on site to reboot a stalled server or troubleshoot a multifunction printer, thanks to remote software. However, that means many tech jobs are performed while seated at a desk, putting workers at risk for the same health issues that plague other deskbound workers. If you find yourself living a sedentary lifestyle, consider switching to a standing desk. You can also force yourself to walk around the office after an hour or two of sitting.
Tech professionals often find themselves required to do intense physical labor in order to fulfill their job duties. You may need to physically install a server in a rack or help offload old desktops from a storage room. Introduce safety education into your workplace and take measures to keep your entire tech team safe, including investing in safety equipment like back braces and dollies.
Computer programmers and help desk support teams often spend a great deal of time at the keyboard. This can easily lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, a health issue that can require surgery to correct. To reduce your risk, use a keyboard and mouse that reduces joint impact and try to use correct posture when seated.
Over time, extended computer use can cause eye strain, leading to blurred vision and dry eye syndrome. In fact, studies have shown that eye strain affects between 50 to 90 percent of those who work on a computer. This is only exacerbated by the fact that when people aren't staring at a computer screen, they're likely reading off a smartphone or tablet. Steps you can take to reduce eye strain include taking time to blink and reducing glare.
While every type of job can have an eventual impact on a person's health, IT professionals have their own unique risks, as well as facing the same risk as those in other fields. It's important to be aware of these risks in order to take measures to protect yourself and your coworkers. With safety measures in place, you'll not only show that you care about your fellow employees, but you'll also ensure your team won't have to work even harder when an employee becomes sidelined by an illness or injury.