If you have employees who look at at a computer screen or mobile device all day, their work could be giving them a headache. The headache is just one symptom of eye strain. Your employees might also experience double vision or fatigue—all of which can impact their well-being and their productivity. Relieve your employees of eye strain by asking them to use the 20 20 20 rule.

What is the 20 20 20 Rule?

The 20 20 20 Rule provides anyone working on a digital screen the opportunity to simply look away from the computer screen for very short periods of time throughout the day. Specifically, you want to take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.

Encourage your workers to set an alarm or other reminder to take this short break every 20 minutes. It’s easy to forget, especially during a busy work day.

What to cover at your safety meeting?

Start by having everyone gather at a specific workstation. From there, point out the different objects at your workplace that they can focus on. Maybe it’s an exit sign or a picture. It could be a plant, the wall, a printer, or virtually any object. The main point is, it doesn’t have to be hard…just find something to look at for 20 seconds.

Demonstrate how it works. Sit down or stand at the workstation and simply look up at an object and count off 20 seconds. You can modify this demonstration for mobile device use, for those who work in the field and might be standing for most of their work day.

Be sure to encourage your employees to use the 20 20 20 rule. If they hear it from you, the employer, that it’s okay to take these microbreaks, they’re more likely to put the practice in motion. While some don’t want to take even 20 seconds away from their tasks, remind them that they will be more productive and get more work done if they relieve the discomforts that come with eye strain.

Remember, that as the employer or safety coordinator, you set the tone for safety. Be sure to “walk the talk” and take your 20 second microbreaks too!

Computers and mobile devices are important components to virtually every workplace. But it’s important that we all understand how they affect our bodies. The 20 20 20 rule helps ward off the eye discomfort that comes from staring at a digital screen too long.