Paul Mitterhuber, Harpenden based Osteopath and Principal Osteopath at Osteopathics in Harpenden, shares his top tips for working from home during a global pandemic.
Paul is one of our local trusted Osteopaths who regularly treats both of us. We believe that combining movement, massage with the care of good Osteopath or physiotherapist is so important to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Working From Home During A Global Pandemic
With the sudden advent of more of us working from home, it is important that our computer and desk set-up does not start to cause health issues.
Whilst many people have been used to working from home for some days per week for the past few years, the recent coronavirus outbreak has suddenly forced many businesses to ask their employees to work from home. Of course, not everyone has a home office and working at the kitchen table or sofa for hours at a time will inevitably lead to neck, back and postural issues.
While some people may think that not having to go into work would be easier as it does not involve the commute, they many end up spending more hours sitting at a screen without moving. Laptops were originally designed to be portable computers which could be utilised for short periods of time. However, for many it is now their main computer and these in themselves have poor ergonomic function.
Tips To Improve Your Posture When Working From Home
So, here are some tips to help improve your posture when working from home and prevent neck pain, back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries:
- Workstation setup – place your computer on a solid table and use a proper office chair which ideally is adjustable.
- Position your laptop so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes. You can use a laptop riser or some books. Ideally though, plug in a separate monitor with a larger screen.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse which are placed directly in front of you so you can relax your shoulders.
- Sit upright and well back into your chair. Try to keep your hips above your knees. Your hips and knees should be bent to 90 degrees.
- Ideally, use a sit/stand desk which will allows you to change position without interrupting your work. Understandably, this equipment may not be easily accessible in the home, so one could try to move between surfaces of differing heights.
- When using the phone, if possible, use speakerphone or a headset. This will allow you to move around whilst having conversations and could prevent neck pain and stiffness.
Tips To Improve Your Wellbeing When Working From Home
Here are some further tips to help your general wellbeing:
- While you may not be commuting, going for a brisk 10-50 minute walk before and after your work sessions will help improve blood supply to your postural muscles.
- Don’t sit or stand in one place for too long. Change your position every 15 minutes, even if it’s simply standing up and rolling your shoulders and neck around.
- Sit upright and relax your shoulders. Try not to slouch or crane your neck forwards.
- Focus on your breathing and use your diaphragm.
- Make sure you take proper breaks. For example, at lunch don’t put the washing on and eat a sandwich at your desk.
- Do regular exercise, but don’t overdo it.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water.
I hope you find this advice helpful. Our team of experienced, friendly osteopaths, physiotherapists and podiatrists are here to help you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Osteopathics Harpenden or on 01582 713 648