COVID-19 has caused disruption that we wouldn’t have imagined a few months ago. Most of us are now needing to work from home, and adapting to this is a challenge. It is a stressful for time for most of us, but setting up your desk correctly ensuring correct posture can help reduce stress of developing back and neck pain. This blog will go through how you can set up a desk at home to the best standard you can, how to maintain good posture and move regularly.
Here are some tips for setting up a work station for working from home;
- Get your sitting position right
Try not to just sit on the sofa with your legs curled up and a laptop on your lap. This is going to result in neck pain, hip pain and low back pain and stiffness very quickly. If you have a desk available then this is the obvious place to work.
If you don’t have a desk available, use a dining table or similar so that you can sit up right with your forearms able to rest (ideally with the elbow at 90 degrees).
Ironing boards are a great option if you do not have a desk/table or cannot get it to an appropriate height. Ironing boards are height adjustable so you can get it to a comfortable height. The other benefit is you can raise it to use it a standing desk and then lower it back down when you want to sit down.
- Get your screen height right
Try to get your screen at the right/best possible height. If you work from a laptop this can be difficult as the screen will be too low. If you have a separate keyboard available, put your laptop on something to raise it e.g. pile of books, so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes. You can then use the other keyboard to type on. If you have a separate screen, raise this second screen and use your existing keyboard on the laptop.
- Use a comfortable chair
Find the most comfortable chair you have. Ideally, use a chair with a back support and something that isn’t too soft. Beanbags and sofa’s are not going to give you any support, which is likely to lead to back pain.
If you do not have access to a comfortable chair, use a swiss ball. They are inexpensive and can be ordered online, so no need to leave the house still if you do not already have one. Swiss balls keep your muscles activated which will help with possible reduction in movement now that you are working from home. Swiss balls also activate the core and challenge the balance.
Maintaining good posture and regular movements;
– Focus on sitting upright and not hunching or slouching forward
– Aim to stand up from your desk every 20-30 minutes for a minute or two. If you tend to get engrossed in your work and forget to move regularly, set an alarm on your phone or put a post-it note on your computer screen to remind you.
– Do some backwards shoulder rolls every hour (you can do this more regularly if you feel your shoulders hunching forwards). This exercise helps to reset your posture when you naturally start hunching forwards, and it also helps to keep the shoulder and upper back mobile.
– Keep up with regular exercise – try taking a walk at lunch if you are able to leave the house, online exercise videos (head to www.lavenderhealthcare.co.uk for Pilates videos), walk up and down the stairs. The together group has great workouts every morning and is a great way to start your day positively. P.E with Joe on Joe Wicks youtube channel is aimed at keeping children active, but a lot of adults have also been enjoying it. It is live every weekday at 9am.
If you have any concerns or queries about exercising from home or how to set up your desk at home, email on firstname.lastname@example.org