The Covid-19 Pandemic caused us to go digital as we transitioned to working from home. While this came with some obvious perks - less driving, commuting, and more time at home with family - many of us were not adequately set up to endure long work day hours at home. We've become resourceful and creative, turning kitchen tables, couches and beds into temporary desks and workstations.
What You Can Do Today
Now that working from home is the new norm, it's time to reevaluate our new workstation to prevent poor posture. Prolonged poor posture leads to chronic pain and injury. Below are six tips that we can start to implement right away.
Positioning. Sit up right with your feet on the floor. Position yourself to create a 90 degree angle at the knees, hips and elbows. Avoid crossing your legs or taking on awkward positions for prolonged periods.
Low Back Support. Placing a low back support improves posture by helping you to sit up straight. If you don't have one you can create a support by rolling up a towel and placing it in the curve of your low back.
Desk and Chair Set Up. Place the computer screen at arm's length. The top of the computer screen should be at eye level. When sitting, make sure both feet are planted on the floor. With your knees at 90 degrees sit with the back of your knees approximately 3 inches away from the chair.
Lighting. Poor room or screen lighting affects posture. Having too much or too little light can also lead to headaches. Try different light sources to find which feels most comfortable for you. Natural light is the most ideal.
Move often. Stand up and walk around every hour. Place a timer to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and move around. Try taking meetings while going for short walks to keep moving.
Exercise. Regular exercise and strength training is extremely important for low back health. Working from home can mean that we are moving less than we are used to - often times with increased snacking. Daily walks and step counting are great ways to keep track of regular activity. When strength training, focus should be made on pulling movements. Examples of these are pull ups, seated or ring rows. While sitting at the desk, chin tucks and shoulder retractions are a great way to decrease strain in the upper and lower back. Do these regularly throughout the day at least 20 at a time.
If you've suffered from back pain, then you know how much this impacts quality of life. As we continue to work from home in the upcoming months, it is important to ensure that our workstation is set up to support good posture to avoid injury.