How to Stay Healthy While Working From... Anywhere
Thu Aug 27, 2020 | Lasers Resource
Our workspaces have changed over the last few months and this has made us acutely aware of our ever-present neck and back pain, which, in turn, has made employers think about the importance of providing employees with the proper tools/equipment and educating themselves, as well as staff, on appropriate ergonomic positioning.
In a recent post, we gave 4 tips for working more comfortably and effectively at home (on a more permanent basis), which gave some insight into how you should be setting up your workspaces and creating routines. For this piece, we’re going to focus on ergonomics.
Here’s why ergonomics are so important for your health.
First, let’s start with the basics—what exactly is “ergonomics”?
To put it simply, ergonomics is the practice of having a good posture and functional furniture set up to avoid pain or strain from repetitive motion. This is especially important with certain jobs, such as office work where you are typically sitting all day long.
Now, here’s what you can do to ensure good ergonomics while working (whether at home or in the office).
1. Be mindful of your body’s positioning throughout the day.
It’s important to actively think about your posture. As we get busier and tasks start piling up, we tend to hunch forward, closer to our screens. It might feel okay at the time, but this usually leaves us with strained eyes and back pain at the end of the workday, which can cause more significant harm over time.
For that reason, we recommend checking in on yourself every few hours. Are you sitting straight with your back against your chair? Are your feet flat on the floor (or on a footrest, if you prefer)?
Here are some other things to check for:
- The right chair/sitting position—everyone is different, so there’s no “one size fits all” chair. You should test out different chairs to find one that supports your spinal curves (good lumbar support can make the world of a difference when sitting all day, 5 days a week). Your arms should also rest on your chair’s armrests, not on the desk, and your shoulders should be relaxed, not stiff.
- Desktop monitor—your monitor should be right in front of you (in line with and behind your keyboard), and approximately an arm’s length away from you.
- Mouse and keyboard—your mouse should be on the same level as your keyboard, and your wrists should be straight with your hands at the same level as your elbows.
2. Are you taking regular breaks to stretch and move your body?
Our daily work routines have evolved, some for the better, and some for the worse. When getting into a task, it is so easy to forget to take breaks or find that hours have passed without you standing up.
This needs to change. Here are some stretches you can do throughout the day to stay healthy (and sane):
- Arms—you should do this exercise while sitting down. Simply place your elbows on your desk, put your hands together with your fingers faced upwards and move your wrists down to touch your desk (remember to stop once you feel a good stretch—which may be before your wrists actually reach the desk).
- Shoulders—lift your shoulders up to your ears and hold for 3-5 seconds before releasing.
- Lats—while sitting on your chair with your feet flat on the ground, lift your arms up in the air and cross your fingers. From here, you should push your arms back as far as you’re able to and lean slowly from side to side (remember to hold for a few seconds on each side).
- Neck—you can do this stretch while sitting or standing. Keep your back straight and tilt your head to one side (try touching your ear to your shoulder). Remember to do this on both sides and to keep your shoulders down.
For best results, you should repeat each exercise 2 or 3 times, each time you do them.
If you have any questions about ergonomics or are looking for some additional information, please feel free to reach out. We’re here to help.
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