Here’s a quick guide to make home working easier, healthier and hopefully pain-free from Martin Docherty, Clinical Governance & Digital Health Consultant at Aviva UK Health & Protection.
In lockdown Britain, working from home has become a relatively new experience for many workers. And because it was an unexpected experience, millions haven’t had the luxury of reorganising their home workspaces to accommodate laptops, screens, cables and other technological necessities. This can lead to an increase in postural aches and pains which can be easily avoided by adopting some simple measures.
If you’ll be working in a seated position for most of the day, the information that follows covers the best way of doing that and some practical tips for staying symptom free. The main thing to remember is to get up and move around regularly during the day.
Find the seat of power in your home
While some of us may be perfectly comfortable working from a sofa, others may need additional support. It all depends on your individual circumstances. The most important thing is to keep moving and try to vary your posture.
If possible, set your new ‘office’ up in a specific room that you associate with work. This means that you can ‘close the door’ at the end of the day, helping you switch off. Where possible, you should use a screen, keyboard and a mouse with a laptop as this will help encourage better posture. A basic TV monitor without internet connection works well as a substitute screen. If you’re making calls regularly, try to use a headset to avoid neck strain.
Your connection with the outside world begins with what you can see outside so try to find a place in your home where you don’t have to work facing a blank wall.
Your view might be a back garden, it could be rooftops, it might be a not-so-busy street, but it’s your physical window on the world. Each home is different, but what you should look for is a ‘command position’ that puts you in control. Aim for a position in the room away from the door that also enables you to look out of a window. You’ll feel better for it.
The bigger picture on homeworking health
Of course, there’s more to homeworking health than your workstation. It’s essential to stay hydrated and to take regular breaks from your work – ideally every 20 minutes or so.
You could use this time to stretch, or simply get away from the screen by taking a stroll outside – adhering to the latest Government guidelines. If you have access to a garden, even better, or if your home is big enough, you could even walk around that. Back pain and postural discomfort generally respond well to gentle exercise, so every step you take is great for your health in the lockdown.
If you do experience any issues always seek advice from a qualified health professional. You can also find more information online from ACPOHE.
The information in this article is created and published for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be treated or relied upon as such. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.