A study conducted earlier this summer has found that 68% of remote workers report noticing new eye problems since working from home. According to the source story that came across the Cluttered Desk, “All About Vision, a website site devoted to eye care, conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans, a third of whom worked hybrid, a third of whom worked remotely, and a third of whom worked in person.”

While the eye problems are apparently an issue for the remote workers mentioned, I have serious concerns about the latter group – those classified as people who “worked in person.”

Frankly, I think this is a pretty big group. I don’t know many people who do not work in person. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t work in person, whether it was in the office or remotely. Perhaps the person who wrote the story did not do so in person. I don’t know how they could accomplish that, but it would explain the idiotic phrasing that has completely distracted us from the message.

And that message is, apparently, that remote workers are experiencing more eye trouble than those who still work on a job site. 

The study found that remote workers spend 13 hours a day on screen on average compared to on-site employees who spend 11 hours on screen. It also reported that a quarter of remote workers say they feel unable to step away from their screens because of work pressure.

Interestingly, they didn’t report what was actually on the screens remote workers were looking at. They could be shopping on Amazon all day. Or watching porn. And the work pressure they feel is due to the fact that they have shirked their duties by shopping on Amazon or watching porn all day. 

I jest of course. Personally, I found going remote during the pandemic did not hurt my company’s productivity at all. That might have been because my employees shopped Amazon regularly when in the office – I just don’t know.

I think screen time has dramatically increased for everyone, and Amazonian porn is not the reason. The reason is that, since the pandemic, good old-fashioned phones don’t seem to be used anymore. Every call is now a Zoom, Teams, or God forbid, a WebEx call. We are using video for everything, and apparently, our eyes are having trouble adapting.

This is something the Jetson’s didn’t warn us about. Of course, the Jetson’s car could fly, and their robot Rosie was also far more competent than my robotic vacuum cleaner, which still can’t negotiate its way around the family room without wedging itself under some furniture or choking on a cat toy it somehow didn’t detect. I’m beginning to think the Jetson’s weren’t even real. 

The study also reported that 43% of remote workers have left work early due to vision problems. They might as well have reported that 43% of remote workers left work early to go golfing.

Or those vision problems were related to liquor consumption, whatever. 

The researchers recommend the following to protect your vision:

  • Whenever possible, avoid screens (by going golfing.)
  • If you can’t avoid screens (by going golfing), take frequent breaks, especially if you’re spending long stretches looking at a screen that is 24 inches away or closer. The 20-20-20 rule means 20-second breaks every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away (Ironically “20 feet away” is the average distance of one of my golf shots).
  • Use blue-light-blocking glasses (or heavily tinted glasses so your spouse or others cannot see you’ve fallen asleep at your desk).
  • Turn on Night Mode on your devices and don’t use them immediately before bedtime (particularly if you are shopping for Amazonian porn).

It is clear that the changing realities of the workplace are bringing new challenges to the world of workers’ compensation and employment risk. The world of remote work presents many new perils for employers and their workers. Anyone should be able to see that.

Unless, of course, you are working remotely and as a result can no longer see properly.

2 Replies to “Working in Person is Bad for Your Eyes. Or Something Like That.”

  1. I had a similar discussion about online friendships. Is it possible to have a totally in-person friendship? One where the people never call, text, or email (let alone post on social media.) The only socialize in person. How they set up a time and place without a call is beyond me. Smoke signals? (There’s plenty of smoke here in WA right now.)

    My job requires a lot of screen time, and the only difference between working remotely and in the agency’s cube farm is the danger of getting bumped into by a co-worker because they were texting while walking.

    Bob, you’re starting to sound a lot like a golf addict. Just saying.

    1. Ilana, I did enjoy golf, but it did not seem to enjoy me. I used to complain about losing so many new balls, and someone asked me why I didn’t play with old balls. Truth is I never owned any, never having them long enough to age appropriately. I haven’t golfed in years, primarily due to problems with my knees. Now that I have two new knees I may give it another try someday…

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