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How to Minimize Eye Strain and Boost Productivity

Posted on 8/23/2016 6:00 AM by Dr. Artis Beatty

Increasing employee productivity is one of the most critical goals in business and remains a high priority for facility managers. High-performing and innovative employees are the cornerstone of a successful company. That is why it’s important to keep employees happy and healthy! In fact, a study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization found that healthy employees are 25% more likely to have better job performance.

As the focus on productivity increases, so does the screen time of employees – averaging more than five hours a day. Negative side effects of this screen time on vision and ocular health can impede productivity. According to The Vision Council, an independent authority in the optical industry, 65% of Americans report symptoms of digital eye strain, including headaches, tiredness, and dry eye – all proven to inhibit efficiency.

Facility managers and owners can prevent these negative side effects and maximize employee efficiency by encouraging occupants to follow these tips:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule. Sustained exposure to digital devices negatively impacts performance and tires the eyes. This is an issue experienced by 65% of Americans. As a solution to this daily problem, employees should adhere to the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes reading or working on a screen, take a break and focus on an object at least 20 feet away and keep it clear for at least 20 seconds. This gives the eyes an opportunity to refocus and blink at a more regular rate.
  • Enlarge text size. Many Americans across the country suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome, which increases the likelihood of headaches and eye fatigue. Computer Vision Syndrome can be addressed by encouraging employees to enlarge text size on their computer, smartphone or tablet. Employees should also adjust contrast, making text more readable and make sure they are wearing glasses specifically prescribed for the task at hand if necessary.
  • Rearrange. Despite crammed cubicles, employees can get creative and reorganize their workspace. Average size monitors should be at least 20-40 inches (an arm’s length is a great estimate) away from eyes. This decreases eye strain for employees, ensuring a more productive work environment. Employees should also adjust their screen to slightly below eye level in order to relax the eyes. It is also important to match device brightness levels to the lighting in the room in order to ease eye strain.  Employees should brighten and dim monitors to correspond to ambient lighting coditions. 
  • Consider computer eyewear. If employees wear corrective eyewear for blurred vision, they should consider specifically prescribed computer eyewear in order to protect against digital eye strain.  Computer lenses can reduce glare and amplify contrast, making it easier for employees to look at screens for extended periods of time.
  • Consult a trusted optometrist. Employees with existing vision issues including myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia are at increased risk for digital eye strain. In order to ensure vision problems don’t impact work or academic performance, encourage occupants to discuss their condition with an optometrist by scheduling an annual eye exam.   

You can follow the above tips in order to improve employee performance and increase overall company productivity. By doing so, you’ll ensure additional success in your business and happiness among tenants of your building. 

Dr. Beatty is an optometrist and vice president of professional services at MyEyeDr., he can be reached at questions@myeyedr.com.



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Strategies for Implementing a Bird Management Program

Posted on 8/18/2016 4:16 AM by Ellen Borza

Pest birds such as pigeons, crows, geese, and ducks can wreak havoc on businesses, costing them money, productivity, health hazards, and customers. Bird droppings not only damage buildings and equipment, they increase a company’s liability and health risks. Birds and bird droppings can carry more than 60 transmittable diseases, like West Nile virus, salmonella and E. coli, and parasites such as ticks, fleas and lice. Birds build nests in vents and chimneys, posing a fire hazard as well as compromising government and safety inspections. They’re a headache for a company’s bottom line, its employees, and its customers.

The ongoing process of cleaning up after birds requires labor, time, and resources. Eliminate the problem in a way that is cost-effective, humane, and eco-friendly by creating a bird management program. Devising a plan that eradicates pest birds benefits businesses, organizations, and building professionals by greatly reducing or eliminating cleanup costs and all the risk factors associated with these birds.

Create a Bird Management Program

Whether you create a bird management program in-house or use a pest management company, you will need to tailor a program to your business (considering its size and location), devise protocols and procedures, and educate your employees.

Basic Guidelines

  • If you use a pest management company, make sure the work conforms to the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
  • Before implementing a program, review available bird-pest history. Take a close look at previous sightings, trends, and any pest management processes used in the past in order to account for what methods may have been more effective than others.
  • Determine any areas where food materials are exposed and areas that are potential entry points for birds, including doors or vents on the exterior of the building.
  • Consider the use of humane, eco-friendly methods to keep the birds at bay. Evaluate the cost and health benefits of humane pest bird management.
  • Decide with a select group of employees what devices or methods to implement. Once they’re installed, map and record them.

Ongoing Procedures

  • Identify the length of time before results should be seen, allowing enough time to devise and implement a successful plan.
  • Bird eradication devices should have information such as service verification stickers, cards, or product barcodes.
  • Maintain and regularly update a master map of all devices.
  • Routinely check devices to ensure they are operating properly.
  • Even when humane removal methods are used, in cases of large pest bird problems, some casualties are to be expected due to natural causes. Remove dead fowl and dispose of properly. Employees removing carcasses must wear appropriate protective gear, a respirator, and goggles. When bird fecal dust is inhaled, human lungs become a breeding ground for infectious disease.

Follow-Up Protocols

  • Conduct regular, more frequent inspections at least once a month.
  • Examine exterior structures, including possible pest entry points, to determine if mechanical alterations are needed, such as nets or wires.
  • Review your pest management program annually, including labels and safety data sheets. Inspect the exterior and interior property. Review a summary of bird infestations, areas susceptible to contamination, an analysis of seasonal trend data, and quality assurance audits.
  • Include employees in annual reviews.

Record Keeping

Electronically retain all documents and service tickets related to your plan. Sighting documentation should include areas affected, type(s) of birds, and dates and times of sightings. Include measures taken to address the problem.

Employee Training

Hold and document safety training sessions for your employees that include the following:

  • A review of the pest management program.
  • Vulnerable areas to watch.
  • Practices that might eliminate birds.
  • The review of audits and monthly reports.
  • Training on how to watch out for birds and the methods needed to record a sighting.
  • An overview of FDA, state, provincial, local, and third-party audits and inspections.
  • Training on how to interact with bird-removal tools and devices.

Strategies for Preventing Bird Infestations

Pest-bird management suppliers offer a wide array of options to eliminate bird problems. Choose products based on the size of your building, location, environmental factors, exterior and interior areas, and budget. Whether you’re in an office complex in a city, a large warehouse, or areas partially exposed to the outdoors, there’s a solution that can work for your building.

 
  • Electronic Bird Control Repellers
    These products use sonic (sound), ultrasonic (sound inaudible to humans), and visual technology to repel birds. Strobe lights use flashing, multi-colored lights. For large indoor areas, one type of repeller uses colored electronic lasers. These electronic audio and visual threats condition birds to stay away permanently by scaring or disorienting them.
     
  • Shock Track Systems
    The tracks provide a physical barrier for those concerned with the aesthetics of their structure. Used on building ledges and surfaces, the shock track systems are barely visible. They work by delivering a harmless electric shock that startles birds, influencing them to leave the area.
     
  • Bird Spikes, Netting, and Bird Gels and Taste Aversions

           ​Spikes prevent birds from landing on surfaces without harming them. Netting safely blocks birds from entering places they are not welcome. Gels and taste aversions                are an invisible way to protect surfaces like grass, signs, pavement, and building ledges from unwanted bird gatherings.

  • Visual Scares
    Predator replicas, balloons, and foil tape offer simple and inexpensive ways to scare birds from your property. They work in many settings, from loading docks to parks and golf courses.
     
  • Drones
    Drones use a triple threat of sight, sound, and a predatory presence to cover large outdoor areas, creating an unpleasant atmosphere for your unwanted pests.

Before installing any products, be sure to thoroughly clean the area, and dispose of all bird droppings and feathers. Use a strong cleaning agent to remove the scent and remove nests of common pest birds, such as pigeons.

*Note: do not remove nests of other species before checking if it is permitted by law. Follow the protocol mentioned above in “Ongoing Procedures” for safe removal.

Why Use Eco-Friendly and Humane Products

These options can be effective without the possibility of exposing employees, customers, and neighbors to toxic chemicals. They’re designated as such because they’re less harmful to the environment and its inhabitants. Eco-friendly products typically either physically restrict access or discourage pests from being in treated areas rather than killing them.

Consider Structural Characteristics When Choosing Pest Management Products

When you are faced with the task of choosing which pest management products to use for your business or facility, there are a few characteristics of your building structure you need to consider aside from the obvious windows and doors. There are other entryways into your building of which you may not be aware:

  • Vents leading from exhaust fans
  • Chimneys
  • Holes in siding or roofs

Older structures may be more susceptible to fowl entry due to poor construction or well-aged materials. Be sure not to put off any repairs your building may require – the more you delay these necessary repairs, the more likely you are to develop a pest problem. You also want to invest in products to prevent birds from nesting in your gutters, trusses, and other exterior building features. Their presence will not only damage the exterior of your building, but it may deter potential customers as well.

Creating and maintaining a bird management program takes time and effort. But the results are well worth it. Keeping your business pest-free eliminates health risks, keeps employees and customers happy, and benefits your bottom line.

Ellen Borza is the content developer for Bird-X, the leading brand of humane pest and bird control products. Bird-X continues to develop unique pest control solutions that are safe, humane, and eco-friendly for commercial and residential clients. For more information, please visit http://www.bird-x.com



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