Health & Safety

By Klayman & Company 29 Jul, 2016

A recent British study of smartphone use showed that young adults checked their smartphones 85 times a day and used them for a total of five hours of use per day. The long-term effects of such constant smartphone use are not yet known but, if current studies and reports by the medical profession are any indication of the future, it would be advisable for all users to consider the impact smartphones and similar devices can have on their health.

In the Short Term

Text neck: a neck strain resulting from hunching over smartphones, tablets, or laptops for prolonged periods. Stress on the neck and upper back muscles causes pain because the body is subjected to an unnatural position for extended periods of time.

Text claw: a hand or wrist strain that occurs from continuous scrolling, texting or gaming. Individuals may also experience numbness in finger tips and pain radiating up to the forearm and elbow. Overuse of fingers and thumbs also causes irritation of the tendons and may lead to more serious conditions such as tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS): eye strain resulting from constant staring at small text or from scrolling through articles, messages or tweets. Common symptoms are dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness.

Phantom pocket vibration syndrome (“ringxiety”): the belief that your smartphone is vibrating when it is not. Studies show that some individuals may experience increased anxiety levels when they go an extended period without receiving a notification.

Nomophobia: (“no-mobile-phone-phobia”) is a term coined to describe the anxiety of individuals to be without a smartphone. Sufferers obsessively check to ensure the smartphone is present and constantly worry about misplacing it.

A recent study in the U.K. determined that 66% of the user population may suffer from this “ailment.” Symptoms include increased anxiety, which can manifest as a variety of physical symptoms including headaches, intestinal troubles, and muscle tension.

In addition to the more obvious outward physical pains and strains, there might even be a hidden tax on your health.

The Long Game

Medical specialists have determined that the poor posture caused, in part, by use of smartphones may cause excessive wear on the cervical spine (the neck) which can result in permanent degenerative changes including arthritis. The neck is designed to support the weight of your head (10 to 12 pounds) in an upright posture. Bending your head forward to text or read can place up to 60 pounds of stress on your neck muscles. This excess strain on your cervical spine over the years can increase the risk of cervical degeneration.

In addition to the more obvious outward physical pains and strains, there might even be a hidden tax on your health; when individuals use a smartphone, they tend to slump forward and curl their shoulders in toward their chest, thus restricting lung capacity. This, in turn, reduces oxygen intake and forces the heart to work harder to get oxygen to the brain. A lifetime of poor posture can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health.

Preventing Injury

The best way to ensure these potential symptoms do not affect you is to stop using these devices completely. Since this is not possible, given our increasing dependence on technology, experts suggest the following may relieve symptoms and prevent long-term problems:

  • Reduce eye strain by using larger fonts. Hold the device at least 16 inches from your face. Look up and away from the screen frequently. Scroll by page and not by line. Blink to ensure your eyes stay moist.
  • During your next visit to a physician, physiotherapist, or chiropractor, ask about neck exercises you can do during work to help alleviate neck strain.
  • If your wrists and hands feel sore or weak, try flexing your wrists or pushing down on a flat surface to stretch your fingers. If pain persists, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist.
  • Improve your posture by evaluating the ergonomic setup of your work or home office. You can find an online self-assessment tool from the Ontario Ministry of Labour at: www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/comp_erg
  • Take regular and frequent stretch breaks (every 15 minutes or so), following the stretching guidelines provided by your doctor or physiotherapist. If you are prone to forget, set a reminder on your phone, computer or personal fitness tracker.
  • If you have any of the symptoms associated with nomophobia or phantom pocket vibration, consider placing your device in a location more difficult to access when you’re not using it and scheduling specific times to check and respond to messages. For more serious symptoms, consider seeking professional counselling.

Be Tech-Strain Aware

Communication devices have provided benefits beyond our wildest expectations. While those benefits cannot be denied, they have brought with them other unforeseen issues that may have a long-term impact on personal health and welfare. Recognition of these issues should lead management and staff to work to prevent future personal health issues and to maintain the productivity of the entire workforce.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

Because lighting, heating and cooling represent 19%-25% of the cost of operating a commercial business, control of energy costs is essential to improving profit margins. A reduction of even 10% in these costs can produce a significant improvement. But, because Canada is located in a part of the world where temperatures can range from 40C below zero to 35C above, it is inevitably expensive to keep internal temperatures at levels needed to maintain comfortable working conditions through the changing seasons.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

Setting the price point for your product or service is not simply the process of determining the cost of production then adding a mark-up. It is more a matter of understanding the price the consumer will accept as the value of your product or service and keeping the costs of production to a level that will give you a profit at that price.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

The significant rise in the cost of equipment, vehicles, real estate, and inventory has prompted many businesses to increase business debt. Low interest rates, combined with the ability to obtain larger loans with extended payment terms, have allowed businesses to operate in a “business as usual” mode with less consideration for the actual cost of borrowing.

To give some idea of the effect of even low interest rates on an owner-managed business, the following key elements of most businesses have been put forward as an example of the effect of interest costs on a business. The effect of domestic borrowing has been added to show the full impact of current interest rates on the owner-manager. Since lending rates vary widely depending on a variety of factors such as risk, item to be funded and the term, and are usually negotiated, the interest rates used below have been chosen at random from Internet sources; calculations are approximate and for illustrative purposes only . All loans have been made effective June 1, 2017.

  • Commercial mortgage: $600,000 over 25 years at 3%
  • Two work vehicles: $120,000 financed over five years at 6%
  • Equipment loan: $200,000 financed over five years at 5%
  • Operating line of credit: $50,000 at 3% a year
  • Credit card debt: $10,000 at 15% a year on the outstanding balance

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