2020 has seen the world in turmoil and countless changes, most of which are out of our hands, have taken place. Many of us have been asked to work from home with little notice, or perhaps even no notice at all. Unless you regularly work from home, it’s likely you’ve been armed with a laptop and little else to make the transition. However, without the right equipment, many of us have been left hunched over kitchen worktops, sunken in couches with laptops balanced precariously on our laps, or even working from our beds. The trouble with this is that anything less than a perfect ergonomic set up can put our bodies in an awkward position that isn’t only uncomfortable but could potentially lead to injury and chronic pain.
As chiropractors, we know all too well the stress and strain that an office job can place onto the body. The good news is that working from home doesn’t have to lead to chronic discomfort. We’ve put together our top tips to make working from home less of a pain.
Create a dedicated office space
Unless you plan on setting up a permanent home office, it may never be the perfect ergonomic workspace, but you do need somewhere that you can dedicate to work. Not least because it is then somewhere that you can leave at the end of the working day to ensure that the lines between home and work don’t become blurrier than they need to be. If you have a dedicated office space, you can also make it as comfortable as possible and leave it, safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to completely set it up again from scratch the next day.
Make your workstation as ergonomic as possible
You may not have a designer desk or state of the art chair, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t be comfortable when you work. Finding out about and using proper ergonomics will help you to find ways to maintain the natural curves in your spine, which will help reduce stresses and strains that could cause you discomfort and affect your productivity. Some key elements of an ergonomic workstation include:
- A desk where you can sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- A screen height where the top of your screen is at the same height as your eyes.
- A desk height that enables your forearms to be at 90-degrees to your shoulders and resting comfortably on the desk with easy access to the keyboard.
- A chair that supports the lower part of your back, even if you have to use a cushion, pillow, or rolled-up blanket to do this.
- Blue light filters onto your screens to prevent overexposure that could lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Take regular breaks
Sitting still and concentrating on close-up work, such as that on a screen, for long hours is bad news for our bodies and minds. Nevertheless, when we are at home, many of us are guilty of skipping the natural breaks that we take in the office – talking to a colleague on the opposite desk, making coffee for the team, walking to the printer, etc. Regular breaks are crucial and provide an opportunity to stretch our legs, refocus and relax our eyes and let our brain think about something else for a short while. If you get wrapped up in your work, set reminder alarms to tell you to get up and move about.
Get plenty of exercise
When you aren’t working, try and use your downtime to do a little exercise every day. Exercise is great for mental and physical wellbeing. When you are spending most of each day sitting down in the same position, exercise will enable you to utilize those muscles that may have been out of action all week, help keep you flexible and stimulate your mind.
Go for regular chiropractic adjustments
Posture problems and other issues caused by prolonged periods of sitting and sitting still are some of the most common that we see at our chiropractic office. People who usually work in office environments and those who are now working from home can usually benefit from regular chiropractic appointments. Chiropractic involves using a range of techniques to ensure that the spine is in alignment, which also helps to keep all other body systems working effectively. Regular sessions can help you to avoid many of the aches and pains usually associated with a desk job, and your chiropractor will tailor the treatment to your individual needs.
If you would like more advice on how to make working from home less of a pain, don’t hesitate to speak to our dedicated chiropractic team today.