The benefits of working from home are many: Lack of commute, more time with family, but working from home is new to many people and poses a new challenge of converting the lounge, dining room or kitchen table into a workspace.
Back pain is a common occurrence whether you’re working at the office or working from home.
Many people have set up home offices for the pandemic that won’t work well for the long term. In addition to having the right equipment, the physical setup is critical, especially around avoiding repetitive strain injuries that a bad setup can cause.
Sitting in one position for about 6-8 hours have both long and short term effects to one’s health including:
- Back pain
- Weak Legs/Glutes
- Stiff Neck/Shoulders
- Weight gain
If you’re already experiencing one or more of these problems, knowing how to sit and set up properly while at your home office could help to either prevent issues or provide relief, Dr. Gibson recommends the following:
Make Your Workstation Seat-Friendly
We could start by talking about what kind of chair can be used to promote relief and comfortability, but a large part of sitting properly at one’s desk relies on the arrangement of the workstation. Before getting started with the work day, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my eyes in line with the area of the screen that I focus the most?
- Is what I need most within arm’s reach?
- Is my keyboard adjusted to assure maximum comfort for my wrists, shoulders and neck?
- If you are unable to answer these questions confidently, you should seriously consider adjusting your workstation to meet these requirements.
The best models are ergonomic and have adjustability in height that can roll and provides lumbar support and arm rests. Choose something that fits with your desk and room but make sure it’s comfortable.
Rest your Feet on the Floor
Place your feet flat on the floor. If they are not, add a footrest, which place your feet at a level that is comfortable. Footrests keeps your legs moving, your blood flowing, and your feet comfortable.
Place your Screen at Eye Level
Your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm’s length away, with your eyes focus on the top 1/3 of the screen.
To achieve this, you may need a monitor or laptop stand, stacking books or cardboard box underneath will be a good idea. If the screen is too high or too low, you’ll have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable.
View any Paper Documents with a Straight Neck
Don’t read from and iPad or papers that are flat on your table or your head will constantly have to move up and down, if you have to go back and forth between a laptop and separate reading material, use a vertical document holder or place papers/iPad on a stand.
Take Regular Breaks
Do not sit in the same position for too long. Make sure your posture every 45 minutes if you can. Frequent short breaks are better for your back than fewer long ones. It gives the muscles a chance to relax while others take the strain.