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goPhysio Guide to: Working From Home

Posted on 23rd March 2020 by

People up and down the country must have spent the weekend preparing to move their usual work place and into the home. Kitchen and dining tables across the land have been taken over, disused spare rooms hurriedly cleared!

There will be no doubt, that over the coming weeks, on top of everything else, people will start to suffer with new aches and pains from these new ‘temporary’ working set ups. So, what’s the best way to reduce the risk of developing aches and pains as we ,modify and adjust our working patters?

Our main tip would be not to be too focused on or worried about your set up and how ‘ergonomically perfect’ it is. If you can move and change position regularly, you can offset the imperfections! You’ll see a guide below to what aspects make a more ergonomically sound desk set up, but don’t worry if you can’t follow all of them.

You may need to adapt to work with what you have; use books to raise your screen or laptop, put something under your feet to improve your hip and knee position, or try different chairs for example.

Top Tips

  • Vary your position by relating it to tasks. Sit for certain tasks, stand for others – use your imagination!
  • If you’re on the phone, get up, have a little wonder round whilst you’re talking, perhaps get into the garden and walk whilst you talk.
  • Every time you get up to go to the toilet or make a drink, have a little stretch. Reach you arms up above you, take a deep breath, stretch to each side and rotate your trunk each way a few times.
  • Use your laptop on your kitchen worktop for a change, like a temporary ‘standing desk’. It’ll give your back and legs a different challenge, stretching out your hip flexors and helping circulation.
  • Don’t feel bad for sitting on the sofa with your lap top or phone, just try not to stay there for too long. It’s OK to slouch and have a relaxed posture for a short time.
  • A small rolled up towel in the small of your back can be a great way to help support you in sitting if your chair isn’t quite right.
  • Set a timer to remind you to get up and move on a regular basis, have a quick walk round the garden, do 10 star jumps or run on the spot for 60 seconds.
  • Try and put aside a dedicated working space that’s separate from your social space. Not only will this help with reducing stress levels, you’ll also be able to step away from work for a breather more easily.
  • If you can, schedule some exercise time in every day. Even just 10 minutes. The fact we’re all following guidance and going out less, staying home, is going to have a huge impact on our overall activity levels. There are so many great free resources out there and out of this horrendous situation, are many new opportunities – try yoga, karate, Pilates, boxercise….the list is endless.
  • As long as it is advised safe to do so, try and get out for a walk locally during the day or after work. Fresh air and walking will do wonders to help rejuvenate you after a day sat at a computer.

If you do find yourself in pain or with a new injury or problem, we can offer online video consultations to help you. Find more information here.

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Try these desk exercises

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Look after yourself when working from home

Posted on 1st March 2016 by

Look after yourself when working from home

We seem to spend hours at a computer nowadays, not only working but shopping, socialising, researching……….

Technology now means we can work from almost anywhere, and the number of people working from home is now estimated to be 14% of the workforce.

Whereas in an office or workplace, we tend to be mindful of our workstation set up or have support and guidance from an occupational health service, at home this isn’t so. The work station can often be a lap top at a kitchen table or desk that doubles up for the kids homework!

Over time, such a set up can wreck havoc with your body.

Ergonomics

Ergonomic principles are great. They optimise your work station set up to make sure any stress on your body from working in a sustained position is minimised. However, the trouble with ergonomics is that it can make a work station TOO COMFORTABLE. This means you don’t necessarily feel uncomfortable, therefore you stay in one position longer. Staying in any position for too long isn’t recommended as over time this can lead to pain and issues in areas such as your neck, back and arms.

So, although optimising your work station ergonomically is recommended, to have the greatest benefit you need to combine this with changing position regularly, being active in the working day and taking small breaks.

It can seem a bit daunting, reviewing your work set up, but small changes can make a huge difference.

Small Changes

  • Start with your chair. Decent chairs don’t need to be expensive nowadays. The key components are that it has arm rests, is height adjustable (both seat and back rest), that it provides support for your lumbar spine and that it can swivel (which helps you move around your desk and reach for things you need).
  • On your desk make sure your mouse and keyboard are as close together as possible. Position your key board so that the letter B is right in the middle (many key boards are asymmetrical). Your key board and mouse should be positioned at a height so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees when your working – this is applicable in both a seated and standing work position.
  • Position your monitor so that the top is about 8-10cm above eye level, so you can look straight on. It should be about an arms length away when you’re sitting. If you use a laptop, get yourself a docking station or device to raise it up so you’re not always looking down.
  • Make sure everything is within easy reach.
  •  If you use a lap top, invest in a separate keyboard and stand so that you can follow the same ergonomic principles.
  • Set your desk and chair height appropriately for your height. Ergotron offer some great interactive tools to help you transform your workspace with movement.

Variation

As pointed out above, no matter how good your desk set up is, the key to staying pain and injury free when your work is mainly computer based is variety. Alternate positions when you can. A good way to do this is by task based working. For example, if you need to take or make a phone call, do this walking round. Put your printer in another room so you have to get up to retrieve any printing. Set a timer to remind you to take a minute out every 30 minutes or so to get up and stretch. Use your kitchen worktop for brainstorming or taking written notes. Invest in a height adjustable desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing when you’re on your computer. Suggest a walking meeting so you can get out in the fresh air and get your body moving at any opportunity.

Working from home can be great, reduced travel time, more flexible hours and coffee at hand, but, the tendency to work longer hours at the desk can be part of it. So, just make sure you look after you body in the process.

If you’d like any help or advice with your work station set up, our team of Physiotherapist are on hand to help. Just give the clinic a call on 023 8025 3317.