For many, working from home has added benefits such as comfort. It’s also leading many to develop poor posture and back and/or neck pain.
The prevalence of remote work and hybrid work schedules has had many great and tangible benefits for employees, but it has also come with some negative consequences as well. Poor posture and employees suffering from lower back pain and/or neck pain as a result can have detrimental effects, most importantly on the employee themself.
Add on all the knock-on effects such as time off to go to the chiropractor or GP, reduced productivity due to pain or discomfort, and perhaps even more serious long-term chronic health problems and it should be clear just how important it is to maintain good posture.
The ability to work from home entails hours upon hours of the work day spent in your home office, so that home office had better be comfortable and ergonomic whilst keeping you productive (and not distracted!).
HOME OFFICE VS TRADITIONAL OFFICE
While many employees working from home may not miss working in a traditional office - the workplace drama, the commute, and so on - there are nevertheless some general benefits when it comes to posture. Most offices tend to have workstations that promote ergonomics and productivity, not only because this benefits the employer, but also because it satisfies workplace safety requirements and benefits employees too.
Many home offices, however, aren’t necessarily ergonomic or promote good posture since it’s your home and you can decorate it however you please. Although it may have been fun for a day or two, working from the sofa or bed is not a long-term strategy nor will it help mitigate back and/or neck pain.
1. INVEST IN AN ERGONOMIC OFFICE CHAIR
If you don’t already own an ergonomic office chair, you should consider investing in one immediately. Just like how a mattress sustains you for eight hours (a third of the day), your office chair will need to sustain you for another eight or more. That’s a lot of time spent sitting in one place, so make sure you are doing so comfortably and with minimal negative impact on your back.
There are a few reasons why brand new Herman Miller office chairs go from around €500 to well over €2,000; yet rather than complain about the price, manufacturers such as these consistently receive rave reviews. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but you should pay just enough for a chair that will support good posture.
2. ALIGN YOUR MONITOR AND PLACE IT PROPERLY
If you’re using a monitor, ensure that it’s aligned properly and in such a way that you don’t need to swivel your neck, look up, or look down on it. Instead, your monitor should be squarely in front of you. Dual monitors and other setups should be aligned to reduce neck motion as much as possible.
When placing a monitor near a window, avoid placing it so that you’re sitting directly behind the window or facing directly towards it. The former will produce glare and you’ll then be straining your eyes, whereas the latter will have you blinded by the sun. Instead, place it perpendicular to the window.
Laptop users should not place their laptop simply on top of the desk. This is fine for short periods, but it is not a good long-term strategy. Purchase a laptop stand and raise the laptop so that the monitor is squarely in line with you, or purchase monitors from Wisetek Store to replace/supplement your laptop monitor.
3. KEEP PERIPHERALS CLOSE AND AVOID STRAINING
Your mouse and keyboard, as well as any other peripherals (microphone, production equipment, etc.) should be placed carefully. Of course you probably already have most of these in a naturally close position, but you should also consider strain from your most commonly-used peripherals.
Your keyboard should be level and straight ahead of you, with no need to raise or lower your forearms. Your mouse should be close enough that when using it, your arm is still close to your body. If you’re using a laptop and have raised it (as mentioned in point 1 above), use a separate keyboard and mouse.
4. SIT BACK AND DON’T SLOUCH
One of the biggest reasons why employees begin to feel back or neck pain whilst working from home is from sitting improperly, such as slouching forwards. This leads to kyphosis, whereby the lumbar spine bends forwards and puts unnecessary strain on the intervertebral discs.
Leaning back so that the chair supports you with both the seat and the back is far more natural for your back and better for your posture. This is called lordosis, whereby the intervertebral discs of the lower back are more relaxed and the lordotic curve of your spine at the lower back area goes inwards towards your belly.
5. TAKE FREQUENT & SHORT BREAKS
Sitting down for eight or more hours per day in the same seat can be uncomfortable, even if you’ve followed all of the above tips to a T. It is important to care for your health and wellbeing by getting some exercise, no matter how small, and standing up and walking around every so often. This means that you should be taking frequent breaks and getting up to walk around. No matter whether it’s a brisk walk or jog outdoors or a quick walk to the coffee machine, any excuse to get up and move around will help reduce any strain you may be putting on your back.
It can be hard to maintain discipline in this regard, which is why many swear by productivity tools like the Pomodoro Technique. Briefly, this technique involves 25-minute ‘pomodoros’ (Italian for tomato) of focussed work broken up by 5-minute breaks. However you choose to break up your productive time throughout the day, maintain a disciplined routine of doing so and try to avoid using your breaks to remain seated.
PURCHASE REFURBISHED BUSINESS ELECTRONICS FROM WISETEK STORE
Working from home has its benefits, but it’s also extremely important to mind your posture and wellness whilst working from home. The refurbished laptops, tablets, mobile phones, monitors and more at Wisetek Store can help you remain productive. Save 50-80% on ‘as new’ refurbished electronics by shopping at Wisetek Store today.
Work comfortably with refurbished electronics from Wisetek Store. We carry ‘as new’ quality refurbished monitors, desktop computers, laptops, and plenty of accessories to help you work more productively from home.
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