People began working from home due to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of America’s workforce was working from home at the pandemic’s height with some companies planning to continue once there was a return to some level of normalcy. But there are many ways you must be more careful in treating your body while taking care of business from the comfort of your residence. (1)
There are a variety of issues that working from home can present, such as isolation and overeating, but the biggest for your own health and well-being is how poor ergonomics and posture can impact you.
Working from home can create musculoskeletal disorders that can reduce your productivity and impact your quality of life.
The most common MSDs for those working from home include:
- Back pain
- Muscle strains, tears, and sprains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
On average, employees who work from home sit at their desks for about nine hours per day. The long periods of sitting at a desk with poor posture without proper breaks are one of the biggest mistakes made by the home workforce.
To keep your body and spine healthy follow a few other very basic ergonomic tips while working from home:
- Have a dedicated workspace. Invest in a good chair that allows you to adjust your height in a way that keeps your thighs parallel with the floor. If your feet don’t touch the floor, then get a footrest.
- Support your lower back with either a lumbar pillow or rolled-up towel or by using the adjustable back of your chair.
- Make sure your wrists are in line with the arms when using the keyboard and your wrists are flat against it.
- Keep your elbows as close as you can to your sides and ensure that most of the weight of your arms is supported by the arms of the chair.
- Avoid hunching or slumping the shoulders forward.
- Take frequent breaks, at least once per hour. It may be helpful to set a reminder on your phone or computer. Stretch and move during these short breaks.
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