• Komal Tayade

Work From Home Diaries: Ergonomics

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Can't sit for too long? Persistent pain in your neck, shoulders and back? Here are some quick tips to make sure you're doing "Work from Home" right!

Is the lockdown, locking you down?

As the cases of COVID-19 are still increasing, it is only natural for all of us to feel a sense of concern over our own health and safety and that of our loved ones. We’re all aware that the situation is evolving every day, but the overload of information per minute & updates that we have access to is one of the main reasons for people to feel more anxious about it. In such times, moderate your consumption of news to only a couple of reliable sources and limit it to twice a day.

In these times of social distancing, digital media is our greatest strength, but it is our responsibility to use it correctly. Continue to share stories of hope and positivity during these times. Also keep in mind that social distancing applies to physical distance only and it is up to us how we spend this time and how we make it count. 

While our everyday work routines may be disrupted, make sure that you have your own goals for the day and the week to maintain your rhythm it’s important to stick to a routine. Sleep and wake up at the same time as on regular days and get ready to start the day. 

As a lot of us are working from home during this lockdown period, let us deep dive into some of the ergonomics of working from home. This can help increase our productivity & efficiency during this otherwise lull phase.

Posture tips

Though working in your pajamas may be a small perk while working from home, the lack of a having predefined working space can affect your posture, because of which your body is accommodating differently than it does in your normal work space. Poor posture can affect your health in a many ways, causing headaches, neck, back, hip, knee, and even foot pain. Shoulder pain and impingement, fatigue and breathing problems can also be a result of poor posture so can constipation and slow digestion.

As of now, it is still uncertain when life might return to normal. With your home doubling as your work space for the unforeseeable future, below are a few tips to ensure your posture is as correct as possible

  • Mimic your normal work space setting the best you can. It is one’s natural tendency to be sitting on the couch or bed hunched forward. If you’re working from a space like this, you need to try to fight this tendency and find some time to sit upright.

  • Sit in such a way that your hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, inline, and parallel to the floor. The head should be leveled upright, facing forward with no turn to the left or right, and generally in line with the torso.

  • Monitors and other display devices should be placed at eye level. Viewing a display should not require straining of the neck nor squinting of the eyes. Ergonomics dictates that one should not be required to turn their neck to the left, right, up, or down constantly to view a display.

  • There’s a way to sit in your desk chair. The chair should also be high enough so that your knees are in line with your hips. Recline the angle of your chair to a level that makes sure that your back is fully supported.

  • Those who require talking on a phone all day should use a headset to free their hands and save their neck. 

  • Individuals who require to read printed documents need a document holder, preferably adjustable or attach the document to a clipboard and mount it at a comfortable distance and perhaps use proper lighting as well.

  • No matter how good your posture is while sitting, you don’t want to do it for too long. A good physiotherapist will always recommend that you get up to stretch for at least 15 minutes out of every hour, it is great for the overall functioning of your heart. So set some reminders for yourself. Even a quick stretch and a bathroom break is better than nothing.

Strengthening is the key to good posture not just while you’re sitting, but overall. A simple core (stomach) stabilizing exercise will also help. A small step each day will go a long way and improve your posture dramatically. Make Good Posture a Priority!!

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