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Protecting Employer and Employee

Keybreak is designed to reduce the risk of minor medical problems that can affect members of staff whose primary occupational function involves working at a computer workstation.

Overview

What starts as a small irritation can quickly develop into longer term medical problems, such as backache, RSI and eye strain; in turn leading to an increase in sickness levels. By pre-empting these minor medical problems, an employee is likely to be happier in their role, more productive, and less stressed. Additionally, the employer benefits through a reduction in sickness levels, a more contented workforce and adherence to HSE (Health and Safety Executive) guidelines.

Notification on the users desktop

What does it do?

The Keybreak system sits in the background of each employees desktop, and monitors the level of computer use against time. By assessing the number of keyboard and mouse clicks, together with the degree of mouse movement, the system determines when a break would be preferable. At that point, a notification appears suggesting that it would be advisable to take a Keybreak, and perform a series of stretches. The user can agree, postpone or skip the function, in order to suit their particular work commitment at that moment.

Stretch Program

When a notification is clicked, a short program of gentle stretches is activated, with visual demonstrations of the stretches to be followed. The default stretch program is suitable for the majority of people; however a brief medical questionnaire provides tailored programs for individuals who have pre-existing minor conditions such as lower back, neck or RSI problems.

From the Dashboard, simple and useful additional data can be viewed, such as current computer usage, historical comparisons and technical information on the stretches.

Stretch routine in progress

Why is it needed?

The concept of a system such as Keybreak is not new. It was recognised from the earliest days of mass computer use that very real health issues existed for those working in this new IT based occupational paradigm. Previously, typists did not suffer the same health issues. Typewriter keys are more widely spread, require greater pressure, and with additional active functions such as loading paper and using the carriage return lever, this ensured that the operator was physically more active.

In comparison, modern desktop workstations require virtually no active physicality, and so strains in the fingers and wrists easily transfer into the arms, neck, shoulders and back. The long periods that employees spend in an almost motionless state staring at a monitor can lead to eye strain and associated headaches. Recent research also suggests there is a correlation between poor workstation practice and deterioration in mental health.

The Keybreak desktop solution provides real benefits for everybody, because when staff members feel fresher, healthier, and valued in their role, they are likely to be more productive and have lower sickness rates.