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I keep getting static electric shocks in work. I'm wondering if I can do anything with my shoes to stop this, or any other tips. I'm even getting these when wearing trainers.

Work has a carpet.

This is impacting my ability to be productive in work.

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closed as off-topic by Raystafarian, Dennis S., Kramii, Rory Alsop Apr 17 '14 at 8:27

  • This question does not appear to be about personal productivity within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about static electricity – Raystafarian Apr 16 '14 at 9:45
It's about not being able to touch things in the work place for fear of a static electric shock, and how to fix that so I can be more productive. – DermFrench Apr 16 '14 at 10:27
It seems outside the scope of this Q&A site, to me. – Raystafarian Apr 16 '14 at 11:03
Where do you think it should be moved? The workplace? – DermFrench Apr 16 '14 at 11:06
This has nothing to do with productivity (see… for some guidance) – Rory Alsop Apr 17 '14 at 8:27

I'm not convinced this is personal productivity, but here's a hack to help: in my experience, I build up a static charge when walking around, not while seated at my desk. To avoid the pain of the static discharge hold something metal (a key, for example) in your hand while walking around, and touch grounding objects with the key. The static charge will transfer through the key to ground, and you won't feel it.

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Several options:

  • New carpets. Ideal but not always possible.
  • Increase humidity, as this helps conduct electricity.
  • Use an anti-static spray. May be available from carpet shops. This is what my previous employer used to solve a similar problem, and it was quite effective.
  • Change your shoes. Special antistatic shoes may be an option.
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You can purchase static straps that increase the conductivity between yourself and the floor, which should prevent most static buildup, unless your floor has a very high resistance as well.

It will probably be easier, however, to change the clothing you wear. Synthetic fibers are plastic, and not only build static charge over time, but prevent it from normalizing. Natural fibers such as cotton and wool will build up significantly less charge than synthetic fibers. If you wear layers, and your work chair is synthetic, the problem will be compounded. Try wearing a cotton t-shirt and cotton jeans, for instance, and you should immediately notice a reduction in static buildup. Couple a 50/50 cotton/poly shirt with a polyester fleece pullover, rubbing against a synthetic cloth covered chair, though, and you will be raising little lightning bolts constantly at your workstation and as you move around.

You can also buy static discharge products that will safely discharge you while you work. Aside from the foot strap above, which depends on a conductive floor, you can use a static discharge mat under your keyboard on your desk which you can touch with your wrists to dissipate any static charge you might be holding prior to typing.

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