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Info Advantage has been serving the Upstate New York area since 1993 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Avoiding Back Pain and Eye Strain in the Office

Avoiding Back Pain and Eye Strain in the Office

Working at a desk is a fairly inescapable for the modern office worker. The trouble with sitting at a desk for long intervals is that it causes physical issues, especially if the workspace isn’t properly set up. Fortunately, you don’t have to invest in specialized equipment; it’s fairly simple to establish best practices that will ensure employee comfort and productivity.

Chair Specifications
While this may not be the first issue to enter your mind as you consider sources of discomfort in the workplace, it only makes sense to assure that the office chairs are as comfortable as possible. After all, it is where the employee will spend most of their day. A good office chair will have a cushion (preferably with breathable fabric) as well as armrests for the times the employee stops typing. The arms should be bent at 90 degrees and resting on the arms with relaxed shoulders. As for the backrest, height and angle should both be adjustable to keep posture upright - and the best will include some form of lumbar support.

Desktop Hardware Positioning
Ideally, the keyboards should line up to your employees’ positions so that there’s a straight line from their navels to their “B” keys; mouse at the same level, and as close to the keyboard as possible. Heightwise, the keyboard and mouse should be at a level where the typist will bend at the elbows, not the wrists. The monitor(s) should be positioned so that the top edge of the monitor is about two or three inches above the user’s eye line. One last note concerning monitors: glare should be eliminated as much as is possible. Here is a handy chart for determining ideal desk proportions.

Using the Right Equipment
Of course, using properly-sized equipment is only half of the battle - it also must be used properly. Posture is key to minimizing soreness and discomfort. Beyond the arm positioning and eye level of the monitors, leaning and slouching will cause stiffness. You should suggest that your employees position themselves to be sitting up straight, shoulders relaxed, and avoid reaching for items on their desks.

Be Sure to Take Breaks
It is also recommended that those working with computers and screens take frequent breaks to reduce the strain on the muscles and eyes. Stretching, getting up and moving around, or at least looking away from the screen are all highly recommended.

One might ask why they should invest time and resources into assuring that their employees sit properly. The simple answer: a comfortable employee is a productive employee. Without the distraction of physical discomfort, a team will accomplish more, treat your clients better, and generally improve the environmental experience of the workplace.

So, how else could some small environmental adjustments improve office productivity? Let us know in the comments below!

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Guest — Kevin Hicks
Good blog post !!!!Thanks for sharing these useful information! This is one of the best posts I found so far. The contents are ver... Read More
Friday, 28 April 2017 05:25
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Four Power Tips for Windows 10 Users

Four Power Tips for Windows 10 Users

Windows 10 is almost one year old, and people have found all sorts of ways to best leverage Microsoft’s great new operating system to their business’s advantage. Yet, some folks tend to forget some of the most basic new features that got everyone so excited about Windows 10 in the first place. Have you taken advantage of these Windows 10 features yet?

Virtual Desktops
Have you ever used a virtual desktop before? Basically, it lets you open up multiple desktops on your machine, which can be used for different things. This is helpful if you want to spread out your use of apps and windows, rather than cram them onto one desktop screen. To open a new virtual desktop, click the Task View icon next to the Cortana search bar in the taskbar. Then, select the New desktop feature in the right corner of the screen. If you want to move an app to a different virtual desktop, just click it and drag it like you would a file.

Advanced Screenshots
In Windows 10, you can take screenshots quickly and efficiently. One shortcut that you can use is to hold down the Windows key and press Prt Scn. This will capture the entire screen and place the file in a Screenshots folder. Alternatively, you can use Alt + Prt Scn to copy the screenshot to your clipboard, for use in an image editor. You can then use Windows 10’s built-in Snipping Tool to customize your screenshot.

We want to add that this is particularly useful for communicating with tech support, as more often than not, a visual representation of what’s happening on your screen can be beneficial toward resolving whatever your problem is.

Record Your Screen
Windows 10’s new Xbox app allows users to record their screen, perhaps to give a tutorial or simply to record whatever you’re doing for later review. Launch the Xbox app and open the app that you’d like to record. Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is press Windows + G. You’ll be shown the message, “Do you want to open the Game bar?” Check the “Yes, this is a game” option, and hit the record button. Whether it’s a game or not is irrelevant; it’s just a cheap and easy way to record something on your computer.

Battery Saver
If you’re using a Windows 10 laptop or tablet, you can customize when the Battery saver mode turns on. Normally, it will kick on once the battery has reached 20 percent, but you can set your own preference. To do so, go through Settings > System > Battery saver.

If you can’t take advantage of these Windows 10 features because you don’t yet have Windows 10, we want to remind you that it’s not too late to claim your free version from Microsoft. You have until July 29, 2016 to claim it, but only do so if you’ve already thought about the migration process. Otherwise, you could accidentally bring about downtime and incompatibility with legacy applications.

By using these four tips, you can take full advantage of Windows 10 and perhaps even take advantage of your operating system in new and unprecedented ways. What are some of your favorite Windows 10 features? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more great tips and tricks.

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Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Disasters can strike at any moment to anyone, with very little warning. While many businesses are prepared with their Business Continuity Plan (BCP,) many organizations may not take the time to fully explain their BCP to their employees, leaving them scrambling when a disaster does strike. Here are a few steps every business should take to ensure that their employees know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster.

Plan Ahead

For any plan to work, there needs to be proper preparation to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You want to give your employees a clear direction to follow in the case of a disaster, so they know exactly what to do the moment it happens. The best way to work through the execution of a BCP is to hold a meeting with all your employees to talk about what needs to be done, and who will do it. You want clearly defined roles and open lines of communication, so employees will know exactly what to do and who to contact in an emergency.

Have the Proper Tools

A plan can only work if you have the right tools to execute it. In the event that your business goes down, it can mean the inability to work and loss of important data. One way to avoid these issues is by hosting some or all of your business activities through a cloud service. These services will allow you and your employees to access important work documents from just about anywhere. This means that even if the office is down, employees will be able to set up their workstation from another location almost instantly. Investing in a cloud-based VoIP will allow any calls sent to a down phone line to be redirected to another location, such as the employee’s personal cellphone.

Practice Your Plan

When it comes to executing a BCP, practice makes perfect. Let your employees get a feel for the tools you have provided them so that they will know exactly what they are dealing with in the case of a disaster. This includes providing them training for any hardware or software they need to use, creating a sense of familiarity that will directly relate to a seamlessly executed BCP.  Take the time to review with each employee, and make sure they completely understand what needs to be done by them.

Don’t wait until a disaster hits to worry about your business continuity plan. Contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 to speak to a professional about how you can ensure your business will run smoothly even when faced with a disaster.

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3 Exercises to Offset the Pain of Working From a Desk

3 Exercises to Offset the Pain of Working From a Desk

Welp, we’re all doomed. It turns out that sitting all day at your desk is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Alternatively, numerous studies have shown the health benefits of trading your traditional desk in for a standing desk. One study even goes so far as to claim that standing at work is the best anti-aging technique you can do!

This standing/anti-aging study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It links aging with the chromosome “telomeres” that protects one’s genetic code. This chromosome shortens when a person sits, and lengthens when a person stands. Longer telomeres are better at protecting genetic code by keeping it from wearing and tearing, whereas shorter telomere have been linked to premature aging.

The study even makes the claim that standing is better than exercise, seeing that exercise doesn’t have any impact on telomere length. In fact, a top medic from the study claims that, “Standing up for three hours a day is the same as ten marathons.” Scientific research like this is groundbreaking for anybody trying to live longer by dieting and exercising.

To further make our case against sitting at a desk all day, consider these statistics from the Harvard Business Review:

  • As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. The average person sits for 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.
  • After one hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism affecting things like HDL levels in our bodies (good cholesterol).
  • Research shows that this lack of physical activity is directly tied to 6 percent of the impact for heart diseases, 7 percent for type 2 diabetes, and 10 percent for breast cancer or colon cancer.

In the biggest blow to the practice of sitting at a desk, further research shows that if you sit for more than 23 hours a week, you are 64 percent more likely to die from a heart attack.

What’s a health-conscious office worker to do? If you’re able to switch to a standing desk, then this simple move may literally add years to your life. Another helpful activity you can do to somewhat offset the negative health effects of sitting is to incorporate regular stretching exercises into your daily routine. To help you out, here are three easy exercises that virtually anybody can do.

Get Down and Stretch
Get down on all fours and slowly rock back and forth. When rocking back, your hips should move down towards your feet, and make sure to extend your back across the lower portion of your spine. Also, make sure to relax the stretch when returning to the forward position. If you’d like to make the stretch more impactful, nod your head as you rock, bringing your chin to and from your chest.

Roll Around on the Ground
Start by lying on your stomach and then lift your arms above your head. Next, lift your arms and use their weight to roll over a few times on each side. Make sure you’re using the weight of your arm to roll, instead of using the ground to push yourself over.

The Benefits of Crawling
It’s surprising that something so basic as crawling can double as such a good exercise. When crawling on all fours for exercise purposes, be sure to move your hips as much as possible. At the same time, stretch your neck by turning your head from side to side while moving backward.

Between standing and stretching, you may be able to offset the damage done from years of sitting. What about you? Would you identify as someone who spends way too many hours sitting on your keister? Have we convinced you to sit less and stand more? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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