Have you started working from home? In this period of COVID-19, a great deal of businesses have been forced to adapt to ensure the health of their workers. For many businesses this has involved setting up employees in their home environments. We know from research how important it is to set up your work environment ergonomically to reduce the chances of developing work-related pain is! Some common complaints associated with desk-based jobs include disorders of the lower back, shoulders and neck. While home can be a more relaxed environment compared to normal, it’s just as important to have a good set up. So here are some tips:
- Have a dedicated area. Before claiming a corner in one of your rooms and calling it good enough, find a space that meets your requirements. Make sure it is in a private area if you share your space with a spouse, children or roommates. Make sure you have access to plenty of light; you’ll do your best work if some of that includes natural light.
- Use a desk and chair! It can be tempting to stay in bed all day with a laptop but it’s important to have a good set up. If possible use a monitor and set it up so that the top line of text on the screen is at resting eye level. Make sure the chair has a back rest which supports the natural curves of your spine and that it is an appropriate height to ensure feet are flat and supported on floor. When utilising keyboard, have arms parallel to the floor with wrists in a neutral position
- Get moving! It’s a great idea to implement short rest break every 30 minutes to assist in optimising your health. This can be as simple as making a cup of coffee, having a quick snack or even standing whilst you make a phone call. If we sit for prolonged periods of time in a hunched position the muscles over the chest, such as our pecs, become tights whilst muscles on our back such as our trapezius become sore from being recruited in a poor ergonomic set-up. You can also do some simple stretches in you breaks.
- Track you time. It’s easy to forget about time when your working from home. Before you know it, you’ve worked 14 hours for the third day in a row. Whether you choose to hang a clock on the wall or use the alarm on your phone, have some way to track time in your home office. Try and maintain your regular work hours. Even though your work is at home, there still comes a time when you have it to call it a day and shut the door to your office.
It is hard to keep a healthy balance between exercise, nutrition, work and psychological wellbeing. Try these tips above to help set up a home office environment.