WORKING FROM the comfort of your own home not only sounds appealing but in these unprecedented times, a relief in most cases. However working from your kitchen dining table is somewhat different from your normal work setup.
You may find yourself struggling with your posture or experiencing lower back pain because you don’t have the right chair or your table may not be at the right height.
We’ve teamed up with Nadia Alibhai, the osteopath. Nadia recognises the importance of personalised care and is passionate about helping you understand your body, especially through this pandemic.
Although unable to practice at the moment due to COVID-19, Nadia would like to share with you some tips on her frequently asked questions to bring you natural relief from pain and to restore your mobility whilst working from home.
At what is the ideal height and position of a computer monitor whilst working from home?
The computer monitor should be at a height that allows the top of the screen to fall at eye level.
Does this also apply when using a laptop?
In this case, put the laptop on some books or a binder and if possible get a wireless keyboard to keep your wrists and elbows at a comfortable position.
What are the best stretches to do if sitting down a lot?
Stretching out your upper and lower back as well as hip flexors. The main thing is to get up and move off your chair every 45 minutes to one hour. Set a chore to do such as filling the washing machine, doing the dishes or tidying up.
If working from home but don’t have an office chair, are there any tips on how I should be sitting?
Firstly, make sure the chair lets you sit in a position where your feet are on the ground, your buttocks are at the back of the chair and your lower and upper back are supported.
Working from home can cause a lot of neck pain especially when using the phone frequently. What advice would you give?
Invest in a hands-free kit if you can. If talking on a handset, do not cradle the phone by holding it between your ear and shoulder as this can cause further tightening and locking of the neck. Place the phone on the table and speak with a speaker on if possible. If typing on your phone bring the screen to eye level to prevent your head rounding forward as this can cause extra strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.
It is easy to forget your posture, especially if your chair is uncomfortable. Any tips to prevent this?
One of the main things to do is be conscious of your posture. Ask yourself “how am I sitting?” If slouching you can adjust by pulling your shoulder blades down and back, relaxing your jaw and tucking your chin back while sitting up tall. If you don’t have an ergonomical chair you can roll up a towel or jumper and place it at your mid back region as a reminder to extend there.
Most people working from home will find themselves working from their dining room table, which is not ideal. Do you have any suggestions?
Try to spend your day alternating between your work from home desk and chair to a higher surface such as your kitchen counter where you can stand. This will help prevent overloading of your lumbar spine.
Where would be the best place to work from whilst at home?
Select a spot where natural light is your primary source. Research shows that this positively affects our sleep cycle, and hormones. If your set-up is near a window where you can let the fresh air in its even better.
What advice would you give to anyone that finds themselves stiffening up whilst working from home?
Get up and move every 45 minutes. Gentle stretches, grabbing some water or even dancing for a few minutes with each break can help keep your body mobile.