Are you one of the millions of people who have made the transition to working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic? Whether it is full time working from home or hybrid working, ‘WFH’ has become a permanent feature in our lives.
Whilst working from home brings with it great benefits and increased flexibility, it isn’t without its own potential issues.
Google search data analysed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) revealed that user searches for ‘back pain relief’ and ‘back pain exercises’ shot up by a third during the first lockdown. This staggering increase is likely due to the impromptu work stations that millions of Britons set up in their homes in order to continue working.
The question is, now that the initial impact of the pandemic has passed and we’re accustomed to working from home, are those who work from home operating from suitable workstations?
Staying injury free and maintaining a suitable posture at your desk is essential for those operating from home. We’ve put together 5 top tips on how to help you with your position and posture whilst sat at a desk:
Without continuous movement, the body stiffens up and stops working optimally leaving room for brain fog, discomfort, and of course…injury.
One of our favourite sayings is that the best posture is your next posture; and that means to take breaks, and get mobile, little and often.
This could be walking to the printer, going to get some water, or just take a walk around the house or office. An easy way to remember this is to set an alarm every 20-30 minutes.
Adjust Your Chair to the Correct Height
Many people do not pay attention to the height of their chair and don’t realise the role that this can play in causing injury or imbalances.
Ensure your bottom is right at the back of the chair, once in this position your feet should rest flat on the floor or footrest and your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. Forearms should ideally be parallel to the floor and supported. Your back should be supported by the back of the chair and a lumbar support.
The height and position of your monitor can change your posture and the way you sit whilst at your desk, as well as how you hold your head and even impact how hard your eyes have to work.
If possible, set the height of your screen to eye level so that you are not looking up or down.
You can adjust the height of your screen by putting some books or a box underneath, or buy a screen riser (which are relatively cheap from places like Amazon).
Go Hands Free
Holding a telephone to your ear for prolonged periods of time (or worse…holding it between your ear and shoulder!) forces your body into an unnatural position, which over a period of time can cause injuries and imbalances.
If you use a telephone regularly it is recommended you get a headset or hands free device which will enable you to sit in a more natural position and also free up your hands to continue working or type up the notes from your call.
Protect Your Neck
Neck pain and stiffness is one of the most common ailments we see from people who have work from home related issues. This is often due to incorrect screen height, back posture, the use of a telephone or it being fixed in the same position for a long period of time.
Be proactive by doing regular neck exercises whilst sitting at your desk, such as rolling your shoulders and turning your neck to look over one shoulder, and then repeat the process on the other side.
This will keep your neck mobile and reduce the chances of injury.
Already suffering from work from home related issues?
If you do have some aches or pains that are persisting because of your working position, or you are concerned about your symptoms click on the button below to book an assessment with our physiotherapy team who will be happy to assess you and get you back to feeling comfortable whilst at your desk.
Our expert team of physiotherapists have years of experience in helping people resolve their work from home related pain and mobility issues, and will be happy to see you for an initial assessment. Click the button below to find out more or book your appointment today.