Home working – Keep your back safe! 1 Feb 2021
Home working in lockdown is unfortunately part of life at the moment for many people. This has happened so quickly that companies have not been able to react quickly enough to keep their employees safe from postural injuries. This is part caused by ever-changing lockdown rules. Whilst patients are now reporting that larger companies are starting to fund new desks and chairs for home use there are still many simple practices you need to incorporate to keep yourself pain free: Mini breaks every ½ hour have been shown to be more effective than longer breaks (30 mins+) every few hours in managing postural pain. Try these simple tips:
Schedule in tea breaks on an alarm – work at home is all encompassing and we don’t get up to chat to colleagues, so make this time to move. Make one of these teas or coffees to go and walk round the block with it.
Eat your lunch standing up – you are sitting all day. Don’t sit down for lunch as well. Your back won’t thank you for it.
Set micro breaks – use a visual reminder like www.workrave.org which is free. You can set a pop up on your screen to remind you to stretch out (with specific chosen exercises) and move. It’s ok it doesn’t freeze your screen. Otherwise set an alarm on your fit-bit if your computer work programs block additional programs from working at the same time.
Stand or lie down working – Sit to stand desks are the best way to minimise pressure on your back by changing from a bent position to an extended position regularly. If you don’t have one try standing with your laptop on a shelf (or ironing board) for some of the day or if you are researching (and not typing much) try lying down.
Open the window – Fresh air won’t help your posture but will make you feel more alive even if it’s colder than normal! Good working conditions isn’t just about posture, it is also about the general environment and the way you feel
Computer Set Up – Everybody knows the basics these days but try and get someone to take a picture of you working from the side to see how you actually sit
Note that the hips are slightly higher than the knees (to keep the back straighter) and the chair arms don’t block you from getting close to the computer) so you don’t end up leaning forward.
Remember if you are struggling to see the screen get your eyes checked as this will make you lean forward also. See Alison on Mill Lane for help: www.alisondavidsonopticians.com
Everything you use regularly should be within your first primary zone (mouse and keyboard) and everything for reference in the third zone. (Images from www.ergonomictrends.com
This is an ideal work position, however it is not the best one. The best one is one that you keep changing – work at the desk, work standing up, even work on the sofa (no longer than 25 nins at a time) and add in micro breaks … KEEP CHANGING!
At the end of your work day, stretch or exercise it out. Do the opposite of being bent all day. Walking, running and the Cobra yoga stretch are examples of this. Any form of general exercise will also get the blood flowing but better to do the little things in the day so pain doesn’t build in the first place. If you can’t ease it off yourself with all the advice, come and see us in the clinic.