With the current environment, a lot of us are facing working from home on short notice. Whilst you might feel underprepared for this scenario, here are 5 easy steps you can follow to avoid discomfort at your workstation.
- 1. Adjust your chair height so that your forearms are parallel with your work surface. This prevents all manner of upper limb discomfort, shoulder, neck pain, forearm overload, wrist pain and hand injuries, it prevents the need for “hitching” shoulders to type and mouse.
- 2. If your feet are not supported by the floor in the above position, implement a footrest. You can be creative and use a phone book or a few sturdy text books.
- 3. Screens should be at eye level – your eye line should hit the top 1/3 of the screens without tilting your neck. This will prevent discomfort through your cervical spine throughout the day. If you’re on a laptop, this will mean using books, and an external keyboard and mouse. If you are a multifocal user glasses, adjust the screens to see easily without moving your neck.
- 4. Sit right back into your chair (no perching!), lean onto the backrest and bring the chair close into your desk. This prevents back and trunk muscle fatigue by allowing the body to rest onto the chair more efficiently and also reduces overreaching for desktop items.
PLEASE don’t sit on an exercise ball for extended periods! The key is in the name, it is for exercise, not for office work. It is too difficult to maintain an upright posture during a long working day on an exercise ball.
- 5. MOVE! Even the most ergonomic set up and most supportive chair cannot prevent discomfort from being stationary in one posture for prolonged periods. You should be aiming to have a break every 20-30 minutes and a longer break every 60 minutes.
Try to schedule these breaks, when you are not in a busy office environment, there are limited cues to tell you that it is break time, so we tend to find people take less breaks, not more.
If you are experiencing pain whilst working from home, or need some extra assistance, please book in to see us in the clinic. Or we are also now offering Telehealth appointments and this could be the perfect time to have a physio be able to see your home office set up and offer you some tips to avoid being injured. Book online or call the clinic.