During lockdown a large number of people have changed their working location from office to home, in theory this change could have benefitted them by providing more time and less stress, however; poor desk set-ups, family working environments and the pressure of coping with life changes during the pandemic, has contributed towards an increase in shoulder, neck and back pain presentations.
This blog aims to provide considerations for people who have been working from home in hope of improving their overall health and productivity.
Most people who have transitioned from working in the office to home are using their dining table, bed or sofa as their new work station and sitting for hours at a time in a poorly supported position, increasing muscle and joint tensions.
Considerations when setting up your workstation:
- Eyes level with the top of the screen.
- The screen is face on without any glare.
- Forearms are relaxed and level with the desk surface.
- Back is in direct contact with the chair.
- Feet are supported by the floor or foot stool.
You may not have the capital or space within your home for a whole new workstation or office, small changes can make a big difference to your working posture, can you invest in a better supported office chair, foot stool or computer platform?
Take a 2-3 minute break from your working position every 45-60 minutes. Getting up and walking across the house or around the garden can prevent postural muscles shortening and increase blood flow and drainage around joints, reducing tension.
Working from home provides people with an opportunity to prepare a more nutritious lunchtime meal. A reduction in processed carbohydrates can prevent the after lunch feeling of fatigue, maintain concentration and over time reduce body weight and pressure on our joints.
Set boundaries! Your work and personal time should not mix. 69% of people answer work related calls and emails in their own time.
Planning your day and creating a to-do list can maximise your productivity and reduce stress. Completing set tasks feels rewarding and re-enforces our need to feel valued at work.
1/3 of people working from home have reported feeling isolated.
Make time in your day/week for a video or phone call with your work colleagues. This can create solutions for work related issues, boost focus and morale.
Aim to have a designated area within your home for your workspace. Once you’ve finished work for the day clean and re-organise your space, pack your equipment away or cover it up. This allows you to start work in an organised fashion the following day and creates a feeling of separation between your home and work.
48% of people report working longer hours at home than they would do ordinarily
Are you a vampire or sun worshiper? Try to find some middle ground, open the curtains/blinds and window to let in natural light and to improve air circulation, benefiting your overall mood.
Make other people in your household aware of the effort you are making to separate your work and personal time. This will encourage them to respect your needs.
The physical, mental and environmental categories within this blog are interchangeable, improvements within one category will have health benefits within the others. If you are in pain as a result of work related issues feel free to give me a call for further advice or to book in for an assessment and treatment.