During the pandemic millions of people around the world have been working from home. Plenty of these will continue to work from home well into the future, as employers realise flexible working isn’t so scary after all.
This new flexibility doesn’t come without challenges, however. Besides having to decide whether or not to put trousers on for your weekly 1-to-1 with your manager, many of us find ourselves working less ergonomically. We hunch on kitchen chairs or slouch in bed, peering at screens that are too low with awkward sunbeams glaring on the screen when the sun suddenly makes it through the buildings outside your flat.
But never fear! There are a number of cheap and easy things you can do to make sure that you stay fit and healthy as you work from home, and hopefully avoid developing a permanent stoop.
1. Say no to slouching.
Nothing feels better than going full Homer Simpson during your working day. No colleagues to judge you, no managers to both you, just slap a cup of coffee on the curve of your belly and hit the spreadsheets. Although this may be fun for a while, it’ll quickly put undue tension on your muscles and sensitive soft tissues, according to the
It might be a struggle to begin with, but sitting with a straight back and shoulders will prevent you crawling into bed with some aches and pains at the end of the day. It’s also something to keep in mind once you’ve clocked off and are hitting the latest Netflix Scandi-Noir.
2. Eye level is buy (the way the best) level
A common mistake when working from home is that your laptop or computer screen isn’t at eye level. Extended periods gazing down into a screen or mobile can hunch your back, often exacerbated by poor muscle strength in your upper back, while extended periods staring up at a screen can result in a poking chin, which is also less than optimal.
Making sure your screen is at eye height is a simple fix, and when combined with the correct posture as described above, will help you avoid looking like Quasimodo in your twilight years.
3. From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowest peasant, everybody enjoys a good sit.
Ah, sitting, the great leveller. Without one of those fancy ergonomic chairs you get in high end offices, you might be struggling to get comfy, and before long you might be experiencing tension in your arms and back.
Ensuring that you’re sat so that your elbows can form a L by your sides, and that your wrists are straight and parallel to the floor can help reduce the onset of repetitive strain injuries. This often means forgoing arm rests. Your feet should be flat on the floor, so make sure to adjust the height of your chair or use something as a footrest.
4. Take regular breaks.
The most hallowed time of day in our daily grind is the work break. Time for a coffee with colleagues or a short walk around town. Make sure to vary your sitting position, and take regular short breaks to wander around your home or nip to the shops to get your muscles moving.
Regular short breaks are better than infrequent, longer trips, so even making sure you take an extra minute to stretch and explore can make the world of difference. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even stack a chair on a table and voila! Instant standing desk to really work out those calves, although do make sure that the structure is stable and your screen is at eye level before trying it out.
And there you have it, four super easy ways to be kind to your body and ensure a comfortable work environment when working from home!