If you work from home the chances are you spend most of your time in front of a computer screen. A workstation at your home might consist of perching over your kitchen counter, sitting on your couch or slouching over a desk with unsuitable seating. Although working from home might sound comfortable, physiotherapists indicate that it can increase your risks of developing pain, discomfort, and injury, which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
It is therefore vital to consider home workstation ergonomics to prevent injuries. You can make some small changes to your workspace and habits that will reduce stress on your body and boost your productivity.
Some useful tips to help you improve your home office ergonomics
Maintain a good posture at all times – Try to sit up straight while resting the back against your chair from time to time, but you should avoid leaning forward. It is also important to vary your posture during the working day because sitting in the same chair or position all day might lead to neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Lumbar support – A good home office chair is essential to avoid back pain and discomfort. If you are utilizing a dining table chair, you can try placing a soft cushion or rolled towel behind your back to enhance lumbar support. Using lumbar support pillows on the back of the pelvis can increase your level of comfort when seated, especially if you have low back pain issues. Putting a thin pillow beneath your seat can also help you make an ordinary chair more comfortable. Also, if you are working at a table or desk that is extremely high, you can raise your seat by sitting on a soft cushion.
Support your feet– Supporting your legs on a raised surface, or stretching them long increases circulation. You should try and keep your feet flat on the floor, but if they do not firmly touch the ground when you are sitting, you can put a step stool or a shoebox underneath. Generally, your thighs and hips should create 90 degrees angles when you sit in your home office chair. However, you can move your legs back and forth to exercise them.
Elevate your monitor or screen – If possible, the top of your screen should be below the eye level to avoid straining your neck when reading. You can raise your laptop or screen by using a stack of books or shoe boxes. However, you should bring it down to a level that enables you to bend your arms at an angle of 90 degrees when you want to type to keep your arms and shoulders relaxed. It is also recommended you utilize a mouse and keyboard that are separate from your screen or monitor.
Take short breaks and exercise regularly – Many people take short breaks frequently to walk around when working in an office-bound setting so this also needs to be done at home and it would be best to take breaks of three to five minutes in every hour of screen time. You can stand and walk around the house or even do quick stretches at the desk or table you are using. This will also help prevent you from getting too comfortable in the wrong position and assist in resetting the natural position of your body.
At Home Physio Group our physiotherapists can help with many work-related injuries like overuse injury, repetitive strain, lifting injury, sudden traumatic injury, and musculoskeletal injuries.
For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.