“Work from home” is still a common way of life in the “New Normal.” While many businesses thought working from home would be a short-term solution, many industries have chosen to continue working from home long term.
Employees are enjoying working from home, they mention they feel less stressed out working remotely and enjoy not having to commute to work everyday. Less stress and a better work-life balance are positive outcomes from working from home.
The downside of working from home is that more workers are experiencing painful musculoskeletal disorders such as neck pain and back pain.
Recent research shows that 41.2% of home workers reported low back pain, and 23.5% reported neck pain. Neck pain worsened in 50% of workers who are now working from home.
Don’t let your at-home workspace wreck your posture. Implement these tips to instantly correct your posture while working from home.
5 POSTURE TIPS TO IMPLEMENT
1. STAND CAPABLE WORKSPACE
The best way to keep moving throughout the day is to have a “stand capable” workspace. If your work allows it, try standing at a ratio of 3:1 to sitting. Wear supportive shoes, and stand on a soft surface like a mat or a carpet. Bring your device up to a working height from standing with an external mouse and keyboard. Get a standing desk, or place a box or books underneath your computer screen to work at a proper standing height.
2. ACTIVE SITTING
Stay active while you are sitting. Perform ankle circles and wrist circles in intervals throughout the day. Sit on an exercise ball or a posture cushion. By sitting on an exercise ball or posture cushion you will increase mobility of your hips and lower back. Sitting on an instable surface makes you sit with proper posture to stay balanced upright.
3. BRING DEVICES UP TO EYE LEVEL
One of the most common causes of neck pain is “Tech Neck” posture. Tech Neck occurs when you drop your head down to look at your phone or tablet, or when your neck juts forward to see your computer screen. To prevent stressful neck postures, bring your devices up to eye level while seated and while standing. Your gaze should be at the top of the computer screen. Your head should be upright with your chin retracted back so your ears are aligned over your shoulders.
4. TAKE POSTURE BREAKS
Take a Posture Break for 30 seconds every hour of your workday. Gravity is constantly pressing down on your body. While seated it is common to slouch with your shoulders forward, your head down, and a rounded back. To reverse slouched posture, perform anti-gravity Posture Breaks for 30 seconds each hour.
After performing a Posture Break you should feel a nice stretch across your anterior muscles that become shortened in a slouched posture.
5. USE A POSTURE REMINDER
Proper posture is a lifestyle change. Set a posture reminder on your phone that goes off every hour to check your posture and perform a Posture Break, or put a sticker at your at-home workspace. When you see the sticker, reset your posture with a Posture Break.
HOW TO PERFORM A POSTURE BREAK:
If you have a forward head posture, you may be experiencing these symptoms, or can develop these symptoms later on:
◊ Sit up or stand up straight ◊ Extend your arms straight out to the sides ◊ Press your chest forward ◊ Drop your head back ◊ Hold the position while taking deep breaths
Take care of your body. Your health is your greatest asset.
Moretti, A., Menna, F., Aulicino, M., Paoletta, M., Liguori, S., & Iolascon, G. (2020). Characterization of Home Working Population during COVID-19 Emergency: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6284.