All Office spoke to Dale Kennedy, Certified Professional Ergonomist at Ergomax about working from home and 11 tips to do so correctly.
How is working from home feeling?
Have you noticed that you may be a little more stiff, a little more tired? Have you noticed your neck and shoulders become more “stressed” when working? The fact is, we are just not moving enough every day. The body is designed to move and working all day on your devices, whether you stand or sit all day is not healthy.
“Our research in South Africa has shown there has been a significant increase in reported physical discomforts and mental well-being concerns.”
Do these statements sound familiar to you?
“I felt my home office setup was good for a while, but now I feel irritated and tired by lunch.”
“I adjusted my screen height and lighting, but I still have these low-grade headaches.”
So what is causing all these feelings of discomforts?
Firstly, there has been a dramatic change in how we work, there are new challenges that we are all facing, and in is natural to resist change. Secondly, we now have the demands of both work and home life in one environment which can become over bearing to the most organised of people.
So what has changed? Many of us are now working at home and may not have the luxury of a separate work area. We may not realise that working in bed, on a couch or at a kitchen counter is not supporting our working bodies. We don’t have a team of people considering our Health and Safety as we do in an office. So we are all left to make a plan.
Our daily demands have changed, we now have to juggle home life and work life. Those of us with children even more so – home schooling is added into our routine. As a result we are working longer hours or just not able to get to our work! All these factors have to be absorbed and dealt with as well as keeping up with work demands. No wonder we all a little “stressed” a litter “sore” and little “mentally drained.”
We are just not moving enough. With working from home, we have removed walking to the car/bus/train and even walking around the office! So for most of us we probably lie down to sleep and then we sit when awake. This is not healthy. The research is clear not moving is changing the way our bodies function, and this is not a good change. The consequence is we are less able to process sugars, less able to withstand daily stressors and are simply damaging our bodies.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel thought. The simple thing is to MOVE. That’s it, simply move around as often as possible. With a couple simply lifestyle and ergonomic adjustments we can prevent the negative effects of sitting around all day. Taking a proactive approach to your wellness can make a measurable difference in how you feel and how you preform.
Remote Ergonomic Assessment
So, where do you begin? Right here with All Office! We’ll walkthrough the healthiest postures for both sitting and standing and provide practical tips that make it easy to follow along no matter what kind workspace you’re working with. Contact us now if you want a Remote Ergonomic Assessment with a custom made report from Dale Kennedy (CPE).
Unless you have a dedicated desk and chair setup it can be difficult to achieve a healthy posture. That said, it is possible to work effectively from a couch, dining room table or kitchen counter by following this advice:
- First, figure out where you are going to work to avoid too many distractions.
- If possible, try to avoid soft seating. Couches and beds do not support your body well. If you do decide to work from your couch use a small pillow to support your lower back and maintain the natural curve of your spine.
- Avoid placing your laptop on your lap. This can cause laptop burn on your legs. Use a tray or even a magazine to prevent contact.
- In an office your chair is positioned so your thighs are horizontal and your feet flat on the floor or footrest. It is unlikely your dining chair or kitchen stool will provide the same support so your pelvis may be tilted while you work. Make sure you stand up regularly and move your body.
- A couple of ways of doing this is to place your beverage out of reach so you have to move to get it. Stand up while taking a call.
- Your eyes will dictate your posture. If you can’t see your screen clearly you will move towards it. If you have a lap top you will be looking downwards at the screen, which can strain your neck, shoulders and lower back. A key concept is to position your screen correctly.
- Place your monitor directly in front of you. Raise your monitor to eye-height if you have an external keyboard and mouse.
- If you are using a laptop and an external monitor make sure they are kept at the same height, and PLEASE try match the contrast ratios to each other to avoid eye-strain.
- To help avoid eyestrain, make sure your screen is about an arm’s reach away. Even more, incorporate the 20-20-20 Rule into your routine: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds to allow your eyes to recover from long periods of close viewing.
- Next position your elbows above the desk height. You don’t want to have to continually lift your shoulder girdle up in order to type.
- If your feet come off the floor, then place them on a box, small dustbin etc.
Listen to your body! If you become stiff, fidgety or uncomfortable… MOVE! If you experience more frequent discomfort speak with your manager or health and safety colleagues.