7 Physio Tips for Maximum Comfort While Remote Working – Part 1
With the current COVID-19 situation, individuals that can work from home have been asked to do so. While we have been sent away from our perfect office setups and temporarily asked to work from our homes, we’ve spoken to an NHS Physiotherapist who has seen a large increase in enquiries that are home working related.
So, while we are still home working, how can we make sure we have the best set up to avoid triggering old injuries or even creating new ones. While it’s tempting to sit and work from bed or on the sofa, the reality is that hunched over a laptop may be problematic in the long-term. Let’s aim to make our workspaces as comfortable as possible with the help of a Physiotherapist.
1. Sit Properly
If you’ve not done this before then it’s hard to know the right thing to do. Often we find ourselves slumping or slouching as this, in the short-term, seems more comfortable.
Here are some helpful ways to combat this:
- Invest in a proper chair and your body will thank you!
- Sit in the back of your chair, with your feet flat on the floor.
- If the height of the chair is correct, your knees should be at 90 degrees. If the chair is too high or low, you may sit with your legs crossed or your back slumped.
2. Lumbar Support
If you’re lucky enough to have lumbar supports built into your chair, well done! If not, they are very affordable online and are worth some investment.
- Lumbar support aims to reduce lumbar flexion (rounding your lower back), which sequentially reduces thoracic flexion (rounding of the upper back and neck).
3. Elevate your Screen to Eye Height
Avoid rounding your shoulders and neck by keeping your screen at eye level. The smallest change in the angle of your head can have a big influence on the muscles in your neck and back.
If you are using a laptop, there are helpful little laptop stands that can elevate your screen to the correct height at eye level.
4. Avoid Repetitive Rotation
If you have multiple screens try and stack them on top of each other or move them centrally. If you have more than two screens, make sure you arrange the screens in order of frequent use.
5. Get Up and Move Around
We know how when working from home, movement is reduced. So it seems obvious to suggest just standing up and walking around for a little bit to help encourage some fresh blood and engage muscles that may otherwise not be being used.
- When we sit down, we have bent knees, closed hips, disengaged core and glutes, plus a rounding of the back. Our bodies are unlikely to thank us for this. One suggestion could be to charge your phone on the opposite side of the room or have regular tea and water breaks. A mid-afternoon dance around the ‘home office’ is also highly recommended.
6. Try Some Easy Desk Stretches
We like to keep things simple as well as encouraging movement throughout the working day. We have avoided calling these exercises due to negative connotations and instead have created stretches that can be done from your desk. These can be done with minimal effort and without disruption of your day too much.
- Gently rotate your shoulders in circles
- Reach up over your head and lean side to side
- Gently stretch your neck from side to side (think ear to shoulder)
- Reach behind your chair to stretch your chest
7. Standing Desk
Our bodies are designed to be flexible, strong and agile. It’s no surprise that after sitting down for 8+ hours per day, our body begins to feel as though it’s in pain. It is not the sitting position that causes pain, it’s the lack of diversity in movement throughout the day.
- We would suggest a makeshift stand up desk to place a laptop on for a few hours in the day. We have heard that some people have used something as simple as an ironing board as it’s easy to customise the height of.
That’s all from us. 7 tips that you can use to immediately alter your home workspace to change your posture and decrease the chances of triggering old injuries or creating new ones.
In next weeks blog, we will be exploring a range of specific exercises for parts of the body that employees have reported are causing them pain while remote working in lockdown.