Setting Yourself Up For Success From Home
Updated: Jun 14
With the outbreak of COVID-19 a lot of people have switched from working in an office to working from home. This can lead to complications when it comes to your physical health. As a human race we were not designed to sit, PERIOD. However, as Western Society has evolved more and more of us are working in sedentary jobs, sitting often for 8 hours or more a day. To combat this, millions of euros have been spent in the ergonomic industry to design the perfect chair and desk combination. Large corporations allocate a sizeable sum each year to ensure that the office is decked out with the above mentioned equipment and employ physiotherapists to come in to assess the installation of this equipment and personalise each workstation to suit the individual employee. This is commonly known as an ergonomic work-station assessment and its purpose is to reduce injuries obtained in the workplace from prolonged sitting in less than optimal positions. The most common injuries being neck and back pain.
But what happens if we are suddenly removed from our ergonomic office and expected to carry out the same workload from our homes. Unless you were lucky enough to fit your office chair and desk into the back of your boot on your last day in work you are most likely using a kitchen chair, couch, bed for the 8+ hours of work expected by your employer each day. Add to this the general reduction in exercise due to gyms closing and restrictions being put in place. A recipe for disaster.
So what can you do to reduce the risk of developing that painful, stiff neck, lower back pain or sciatica that travels down the leg. There are certainly simple adjustments that you can make to your home workstation that will help:
1. Make sure the top of your screen is at eye level (if you are using a laptop, invest in a
wireless keyboard and stack the laptop on however many reams of paper/books to bring it to eye level)
2. Use a hard-back chair such as a simple kitchen chair – avoid big armchairs/couches/beds no matter how appealing they look
3. Place a rolled up medium sized towel behind your lower back to create a lumbar support.
4. Make sure your feet can touch the floor – this is essential for people with low back pain or sciatica – if your legs don’t touch the floor invest in a foot stand or get creative with a box/books
5. Complete exercises in the chair every 20 minutes (See videos)
6. Stand up at least every hour – make it a habit – for example every time your phone rings stand up to answer it, every time you check your email stand up to check them
If you would like to learn more about setting up your workstation for success at home you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are available for Online Physiotherapy and Virtual Ergonomic Assessments in the Home.