Even at the best of times, office work is a leading cause of back, neck and shoulder pain. During the current lockdown, many of you are having to work from home, which is only making these issues worse. Hastily set-up workstations at the dining table are far from the ideal office environment, but with a few tweaks, you can make things much more comfortable for yourself. Here are my top 3 tips to make things better while you’re stuck at home.
1: Move more – This might seem obvious and simple, but how often do you find that 2 hours (or more) have gone by and you’ve barely moved a muscle beyond your fingers? We’re not designed to sit in static positions for hours at a time – our bodies thrive off movement. Set an alarm or download a movement reminder app to prompt you to get up and move. This could be a walk around the house & garden, a few air squats or a simple neck/shoulder mobility routine. Here is a five minute routine that I put together that you can do without even leaving your desk:
2: Adjust your workstation – You don’t need fancy technology to set your workstation up to be ergonomic. Books, boxes and cushions work just as well in most situations. Use a stack of books to make sure your screen is set at eye-level. Our heads are heavy and the constant effort to hold them up can cause neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. You can even use books and boxes to convert your table or desk into a standing desk. Standing to work means you are constantly on the go at a micro level. Your muscles are working, your nerves are firing and the circulation is flowing.
3: Work in different locations – Moving around the house gives you chance to work in different positions and postures all day long. The individual posture you hold isn’t anywhere near as important as how long you hold it for. It’s much healthier to sit in as many different positions as possible than to sit in one “good” posture for hours on end. No-one will know if you’re working on the sofa with your feet up, or even on the bed! If you have a desktop computer that can’t move around with you, take technology breaks where you carry out computer-free jobs such as phone calls, note-making, planning or even just time out to think. . I started this piece at the living room table and am finishing it off sitting on the bed!