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The lockdown forced people across the globe to embrace remote working. What was a perk is now the norm. While one has managed to get more time and independence as we commute from bed to desk, the physical repercussions to our body and mind need to be contemplated.
Have you met Susan? She is an illustration created by ‘directapply’, a recruiting company. It is based on what directapply thinks how a remote worker will look like 25 years from now if they are not mindful of their home working habits. The hunchbacked, bloodshot eyes with dark circles, strangely held hands and the bloated body might seem an exaggeration but the reality may not be very different.
Dr. Nisha Nair, Assistant Vice President, Health Risk Management, Anti Insurance Brokers Private Limited explains the Ergonomics of Working From Home’. She speaks about how the impending lifestyle changes will drastically affect the employee population.
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SUSAN- A Remote Working Employee!
According to the study conducted by IWG, 80 percent of people turned down job offers that did not offer flexible working pre-COVID-19 times. Currently, with 50 percent of workplaces offering flexible working, ensuring daily calls and meetings during the lockdown, 29 percent of the subjects feel less productive than ever before.
While people have converted their living rooms to office cubicles, kitchen to canteens, they are stuck in a small space throughout the day. The boredom and restrictions on stepping outdoors are leading people to devour hoarded snacks. Unhealthy eating habits have led to deteriorating physical health.
With many companies aiming to shift to work-from-home models for the long run, further deterioration of the physical and mental health of their employees can be expected. With the sudden shift to working from home, employees had to create office spaces out of their couches and dining tables. These spaces and the furniture at home were never designed to support users for long meetings and focused work; with ergonomics completely out of the equation.
Why do ergonomics at home need attention?
For someone who would have occasionally worked from home or spent a few late hours, after office, working from home, the sudden change to working-full-time-from-home for extended months, can take a toll on their mental and physical health. Most modern homes are not built to work.
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The furnishings, lighting, and environment are designed for everything but focused work. The dining table, which is the preferred area to work, is not of the appropriate height and the chairs cannot be adjusted according to the individual’s height and needs. Most chairs may not have a hand-rest and even if they do, it cannot appropriately support the hand while using a laptop. Working seated on the bed is a bad idea, as it cannot provide a neutral back posture. The design of the bed makes the individual slouch. The cozy couch or the sofa may be very tempting, but they provide zero support to the spine. The light from the ceiling or from the open window may not be sufficient depending on where and how you are seated. These factors jointly lead to decreased productivity, which may cost the employer in numerous ways.
How can a home be prepared for work?
The first step towards making a home ergonomically sensitive is to understand the nature of the work. Work Ergonomics is about the working individual, their body type, and their ways of working. Depending on the work style, the workspace at home should be modified. Once the specific needs are identified and addressed, there are common aspects of working that need attention:
Maintain good posture to prevent neck and back-related problems. Include simple exercises in your routine for a few hours. Use the right chair that enables the right posture and supports your lower and upper back.
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Use adjustable chairs and tables to keep the desk at the right height or use old books to adjust the height of the laptop and use firm cushion to adjust the height on a chair. Your hands should be bent at the elbows and sit comfortably on both sides.
Using a laptop keyboard for prolonged use is not advisable as it is cramped and uses little space, buy a separate keyboard and mouse for ease of use.
The screen brightness must be adjusted to the lighting in the room. If you are seated next to the window, position your system to avoid any glare. Glare causes fatigue and dryness in the eyes.
Isolate your workspace from the rest of the home to avoid noise & distraction. You can also use noise canceling headphones to increase concentration.
Take short breaks and walk around the house. Ensure your feet are properly rested to reduce strain on the spine. Never place a laptop on your lap as it is an uncomfortable position that can hurt your eye and neck.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: बाबा विश्वनाथ के आशीर्वाद से ही हो रहा बनारस का विकास : पीएम मोदी
How can employers help?
While many offer ergonomically designed office spaces with adjustable chairs, stand-up desks, monitor extensions to laptops, many are yet to consider the encouraging ergonomic best practices for their employees who are working from home. The reason for employers to invest time, effort, and money in this area is precisely the same which made them invest in ergonomics of office spaces – fewer compensation claims due to injuries, increased productivity, increased morale, reduced absenteeism.
One way the corporate can help themselves is by educating their employees about the significance of ergonomics and what they can do about it while working from home. Employers must implement programs, involving the management and employees, to train them on the best practices that they can follow. Employees should be provided with the required resources and tools to manage work effectively and safely from home.
Physical and mental issues among the workforce who are isolated in new work-spaces managing stress related to family and work need immediate attention. The ‘Susan Apocalypse’ can be prevented by employees and employers, actively engaging in this direction. The quicker the realization dawns on everyone, the lesser will be the impact on health and in turn on business. (IANS)
Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.
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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.
In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.
The herb has rounded leaves.Pixabay
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, with sweet basil being one of the most widely used. The herb has rounded leaves that are often pointed. It is a bright green plant, although some varieties have hints of purple or red in their leaves, basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes.
It has been observed that many of the cooks use basil to thicken their dessert instead of using any artificial/ unhealthy powder to do so. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between Chia seeds and basil seeds, to make it clear basil seeds are different in nature they are larger and a bit duller in their color. These herbs are used in various recipes as a cooling component in desserts, drinks, and fruit juices for refreshment, also beating the summer heat.
For better digestion, weight loss, and immune system, I suggest this simple recipe which can be easily made at home:
*Take 2 tsp of Basil seeds (sabja) + Add in 1/2 liter of water +10 mint leaves crushed
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + A little bit of sendha salt (pink Himalayan salt)
*Or to make a sweeter version one can add organic honey.
*Mix it well and drink it.
This recipe will help to flush out toxins from our body making it feel light and healthy. (IANS/SP)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)