Due to COVID-19, more of us are increasingly finding ourselves working from home. Although waking up, having breakfast in bed, and then opening the laptop for work sounds enticing, it isn’t the greatest positioning for your spine. Here are a few tips that should help make working from home less of a pain in the back.
- Find an Appropriate Space: Although the couch, bed or floor are tempting, finding a spot in your home where you can set up your workspace is important. When sitting on the couch or bed, our heads tend to lean forward, putting strain on our neck and back, leading to joint and muscle irritation. A proper desk or kitchen table will offer improved ergonomics for your spine, while also providing a space for staying mentally focused.
- Use a Good Chair: If possible, use an office chair with adjustable height and back positions. The ideal body position is with your eyes at screen-height, lower back mildly supported to maintain a natural curve, and elbows at a mid-to-low torso position that keeps the shoulders relaxed.
- Glam up a Bad Chair: If an office chair is not available, use pillows or cushions underneath your buttocks to raise your height and behind your lower back to provide support for the natural curve.
- Adjust Your Screen: As mentioned above, having your screen at eye-height is important for keeping your neck in a natural, less aggravating position. To elevate the screen, put some books beneath your laptop or monitor, while keeping in mind the position of the shoulders, wrists and elbows. Having an external keyboard and mouse will help keep your elbows and shoulders in a relaxed position.
- Take Microbreaks: Ideally, breaks for a postural reset or stretch should be taken every 20 minutes, although this can be hard to remember when in the zone. Setting an alarm every hour is a helpful reminder to get up, walk around and take a 5- or 10-minute break to allow your postural muscles to reset from the work they are putting in.