You may have had to improvise with your work set up during Covid-19 if you do not normally work from home. You may be noticing some new aches and pains. Not everyone has a dedicated workspace, desk and chair at home and are relying on the kitchen or dining table or even their laps at present.
If you have family at home as well, juggling available space and work surfaces to accommodate their needs and other day to day tasks can prove testing. Finding an ideal space may be near impossible.
So I thought that I would share with you some improvised or cheapish fixes that may make you more comfortable working at home.
Below is a diagram of an ideal set up.
Tips for temporary adjustments
1)Seat heights should be raised with a cushion if too low.
2) If you are shorter use a book or footrest under your feet so you can sit back comfortably in your chair.
3) Make sure the seat is not hitting the back of your knees because it can restrict the blood flow and cause you feet and ankles to swell. Change the chair or place a cushion behind your back to reduce the depth of the chair.
4) Support in the small of your back if you have a tendency to sit slumped, put a small cushion or rolled towel in behind you at waist level. If using a small towel, feed it into an old pair of tights (!) so you can tie it around the back of the chair to hold it in place.
5) Laptop screens are too low to use long term. Offices tend to have docking stations. Without, you will likely develop a forward neck posture. Your head is very heavy for the muscles to hold up in this position. Your body can probably cope for short periods. For longer-term working, you can use books to raise it to a comfortable eye level, one that keeps your head and neck in neutral ( Do the same for PC monitors if too low) but you will need to use an external keyboard and mouse. Keep your wrists in neutral. Despite the name, laptops should not be used on a low surface for obvious reasons.
6) Consider a standing work surface for part of the working day if your hours are long. For example, the kitchen work surface or chest of drawers. You will most likely have to tweak the height so that your arms are in a similar position to the ideal seated posture. Try using an upturned plastic storage box, suitcase or washing up bowel, books or other improvised objects. But alternate between sitting and standing.
Longer term Solutions
No space for a dedicated desk and office chair then dependent on your needs you could buy an inexpensive seat & or lumbar support cushion, laptop riser, or a monitor and external keyboard and mouse online. You can even invest in a sit stand desk riser. An example can be seen here. https://sit-stand.com/sit-stand-converter/120-yo-yo-desk-mini.html other sites can be found through google for all these products.
Movement and Exercise
We are not designed to stay in one position. Even the perfect sitting posture will cause our bodies problems if we don’t move often. Movement improves circulation, comfort and performance. It also decreases the risk of injuries. Remember you are no longer commuting to and from work which is exercise in itself. Most of the following are reminders
- Take some exercise before and after work.
- Make sure you have a mid day break if doing a full day and move.
- Set reminders to move, on your smart phone- time passes quickly when focused.
- Switch between sitting and standing
- Get up at regular intervals.
- Take phone calls standing or moving around.
- Climb up and down the stairs a few times or walk around the garden.
- Stretch in standing or on the floor
- Walk, run or cycle outside daily. If not used to these activities vary and build up slowly.
- Schedule a live or on demand Hogarth work out into your day.
Remember – Exercise is good for your brain and cognition as well as your body. Below shows a scan and the benefits of exercise in adolescents.
Don’t be tempted to work late into the evening. Evidence shows that blue light interrupts our sleep. Good quality sleep is necessary for a health immune system required to heal our body and mind. Find out more here:- https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed
Stay safe and well and keep moving!
For more advice or a video consultation. Louise can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07956255427 while the club and clinic are temporarily closed.