Thursday, December 06, 2007

Work computers used 2.4 hours per day Wellnomics survey reveals

Spending more time on computer results in more RSI ...

"World leading New Zealand research has turned conventional thinking about computer use on its head, revealing that most of us spend as little as 2.4 hours a day actively engaged with our machines and nearly half of that is spent on emails or surfing the net.

The research was conducted by Christchurch-based software developer Wellnomics, which analysed the behaviour of nearly 50,000 computer users across 95 organisations in Europe, North America and Australasia. The findings were presented by Wellnomics managing director Dr Kevin Taylor at PREMUS 2007 - a leading conference on RSI held in Boston.

According to Dr Taylor, the data challenges previous assumptions on how long we spend on our computers at work. Traditional wisdom was based on self-reporting by computer users, but Dr Taylor says this has been consistently overestimated by between 40 - 100 per cent.

"Our data indicates that on average workers use their computers just 12.4 hours per week or 2.4 hours per day over a five-day working week," Dr Taylor said.

Only 12 per cent of users had average computing use exceeding 20 hours per week, with less than 1 per cent exceeding 30 hours per week.

"It seems that we all spend less time working at our computers than we imagine," he says, "and in fact, those few people who recorded more than 30 hours a week on the computer were working well beyond standard business hours to achieve those levels."

The Wellnomics data is based on odometer software installed on computers to record keystrokes, mouse clicks and time at the computer, and is part the Wellnomics WorkPace breaks and exercises software, which is used by more than 1.2 million computer users worldwide. The data was collected in the first four weeks that workers used the software.

Confirming what many vendors have been saying for some time, the Wellnomics research found that email is now a mission critical application that takes up more than a quarter (28 per cent) of a worker's time. Browsing the internet accounted for 18 per cent of the average work day, while word processing accounted for 15 per cent.

Further surprises were revealed by national comparisons of computer use. The study found that UK computer users put in the most hours per week at 16.8, and also deliver the most keystrokes per hour. The US follows with 14.5 hours per week and Australians clocked up 13.6 hours. The New Zealand sample was not large enough to be used in the comparison of countries.

The study also found that the prime villain in the onset of RSI is the mouse and not the keyboard."    (Continued via m-net)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Computer Use and RSI - Ergonomics

Computer Use and RSI

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