Some of you love working from home and some find it more stressful. We put together a couple tips to keep you pain-free in the process.
Perhaps your company allows you to "take work home"? It's a great feeling to accomplish work from the comfort of your kitchen table. And, while working from home can help avoid some of the headaches of a regular workplace -- such as long commutes and inflexible work hours -- it can still cause its own discomforts, especially if you're using a laptop.
If your workspace involves hunching over the coffee table with a too-low laptop and a sprawl of spreadsheets everywhere,then we need to talk!
Working at home should be a comfortable, productive experience. With our tips, we can identify habits and poor work setups that could cause you pain while you work at home. We help you so you can remain productive anywhere... even in your pajamas.
However, when you think of a home workspace, you may picture something else entirely: a kitchen table, or sitting in the familiar indentation on the couch or being flopped on a bed with a laptop and notebook nearby.
It is important to consider that working from the comfort of your home is not always comfortable. When we ask our patients that work from home to describe their workstation setup, very few tell us that they have a separate home office with a desk. These days, good ergonomics isn’t limited to the usual 9-to-5 workday. The same practices that can help avoid aches and pains at the workplace can be applied to your home office, too!
Get Your Desk Set
20 Minute Movement Breaks
1. Getting Your Desk Set
The most important tip that we can offer when working from home is to have a designated workstation with a comfortable office chair. Having the right setup will allow you to work productively, pain-free, and more easily while you engage your work in the comfort of your home.
Using a real desk makes setting up a home office easier. However, given the unusual nature of many work-at-home situations right now, many people are using a “desk.” Whether it’s a dining room table, TV tray, or even a folding table, whatever your desk is right now, make sure it isn’t causing posture problems.
*Specifically, your desk should fit your knees, feet, and thighs comfortably underneath. You shouldn’t feel that you have to press your legs together to fit, and your knees shouldn’t bang up against anything. If you can’t fit under the desk comfortably, try out a different “desk” until you find the right fit.
People want to keep a normal distance from their eyes to their computer screen when using a computer. If they sit a certain distance away from the computer, they still need to reach for the keyboard to type. This reaching position of the arms and shoulders causes a rounded sitting posture, leading to strain in the neck and upper back.
2. Sit Pretty
To learn more about how to create a workspace that works for you, give our office a call and make an appointment!
If you’ve got an adjustable office chair, that’s great. Your work-from-home ergonomics are ahead of the game. But, just because you have an adjustable office chair, that doesn’t mean it’s adjusted correctly. And if you can’t get your hands on an office chair, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to make a kitchen or dining room chair ergonomically awesome.
*Support Your Spine
No matter what kind of chair you use, you want something that will support your spine’s natural S-shape. To do that, you need to sit properly. So, start at the bottom and work your way up.
As you sit in the chair, your feet should be flat on the floor. Make sure you’re sitting evenly on your bottom and not tilting to one side or the other. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor (or your knees at about hip height).
The problem is that once you’ve adjusted your chair to the right height, your arms may not be at the right height for the keyboard. And, of course, your standard kitchen chair isn’t adjustable.
Working at home should be comfortable, flexible, and beneficial to your time and energy. It shouldn't be a source of pain.
3. 20 Minute Movement Breaks
20 minutes is the point at which, if no major range of motion is used, the body starts to stiffen in the position your in! Basic neck circles, stand up reach to the ceiling and contract all your muscles, sit back down and continue working.
Nothing major but just break up the hour with simple stretches, a walk around, get a refil on water (stay hydrated!).
4. Cervical Extensions
Working at home almost ALWAYS involves a screen. Changing your position and stretching opposite and away from the screen. We talk about balance and this goes along with movement breaks this is a great way to MOVE!.