- Richard R. Fay, DC
Posture Tips for Working From Home
Many currently find themselves working from home in order to help protect themselves and those in their community, but that doesn’t mean we have to let our spinal health and overall well being lapse.
In these difficult times, it is important to remember to put your health first and to keep your life and daily habits as normal, healthy and productive as possible. Try following these simple tips to help make working from home work for you.
Setting Up Your Productive Space
As you would in your office, make sure your workspace at home is optimized for productivity. If you can, set up a dedicated home office with a top-notch ergonomic chair, and if possible, try and arrange for an adjustable sit/stand desk.
Ensuring the technology you use is also ergonomically sound can be great in supporting your spinal health. For instance, if you are working off a laptop try to use a separate mouse and keyboard so your laptop can be lifted to eye level with help of a few props to keep your posture straight.
A kitchen table is a good alternative to a desk, try to replace one of the table chairs with a supportive work chair. Make sure to sit with your feet flat on the floor or supported by a footrest. Your arms should be relaxed by your side (wrist straight when using mouse and elbows at 90-110 degrees when typing), with your posture relaxed and tall.
If there is an opportunity to be at a standing desk, it would be helpful. When standing, maintain an upright relaxed posture. To help prevent hitching the hip to one side, place a footrest underneath the desk and alternate each foot resting on it. Your eyes should be looking straight ahead at your screen to help keep your posture straight.
Just as you would have a normal routine if you were going into work daily, try and keep a routine when working from home. Aim to wake up at a consistent time every day, eat meals regularly and stick to an exercise regime to help maintain control of unhealthy habits that may arise from the comfort of working from home.
Chances are you’re using your computer and phone a fair bit during working hours. While it is easy to get lost in the hours of work, it’s important to remember to give our minds and bodies a much-needed break. Every 30 minutes or so try to get up and do some stretching or something quick and active like 10 squats or jumping jacks.
Set up some alarms to take a five minute break every hour. Try going for a walk or getting a refreshment, anything to get you up, and moving away from your screen. At the end of the day, try and have a little technology detox. If you can, try and go for a 30-minute brisk walk or maybe unwind with a book, cook a meal or enjoy a relaxing cup of tea with no tech in sight.
Here's a simple stretch to try at home, the upper-body stretch.Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against the walls, elbows at shoulder height. Place one foot ahead of the other. Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and your chest and head up. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Relax.
While working from home can feel a little isolating, friends and colleagues are usually only a phone call away. Utilize technology to stay connected with people by having virtual video meetings, or even checking in with your work colleagues and having a casual chat. Talking to people who are working from home as well can help you feel like you’re not alone in this.
At DuPage Health and Physical Therapy, we can provide you with advice and assistance on how to implement positive spinal health habits while working from home. Give us a call today if you are experiencing any back pain as we are always here for you.