A lot of us have been at this home office thing for close to a month now. What is your reality at the moment?
I’m a physiotherapist by trade (i.e. I know better), but am starting my work day from my kitchen table, on a bench with no back, trying to ensure my lovely “assistant” doesn’t fall off of his station while he is trying to “help”. I will likely finish my day from my 2 year old’s bed while he naps, awkwardly reaching around my 3 month old sleeping on my lap towards my keyboard. Can you relate?
This is REALITY. Right now we are all just doing what we can do.
Don’t get me wrong- workstation ergonomics are really important, and are a very well covered topic (just do a Google search- there are about 1,999,000 results).
But if you have 2 people working from home now (or more if you throw those home-schoolers in the mix) and only 1 office space, then someone is going to have to compromise.
Perhaps we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in B.C., with some industries getting back to work in the not-so-distant future but for others there still may be a longer period to come of working from home. So what can you do if you don’t have an ergonomic set-up?
Here are 5 easy ways to avoid a pain in the neck or back by the end of your work day:
Try to make the best of what you have- use books or cardboard boxes on a table, pillows from your bed or cushions from your couch to bring your laptop up to eye level instead of looking down at your screen.
Don’t stay there too long- especially if it is a less than ideal set-up.
- Use a timer on your phone or computer that reminds you to take a 60 sec micro-break every 20 minutes.
- Stand up, let your chair/bed/couch breath while you:
✅ take 5 deep breaths,
✅ raise your arms over your head, keep them up, bend your trunk side to side 5 times,
✅ turn your head from left to right 5 times,
✅ and do 5 calf raíses.
✅ Micro-break done!
Drink lots of water- your muscles and brain will thank you for it, and if your timer from step #2 fails to get you out of your seat, your bladder will.
Take your phone calls and eat your lunch standing up- if you have to be seated for computer work specifically, then use the other tasks during the day to stand or pace around your space.
Put your printer/scanner in a different location- in another room or downstairs to encourage microbreaks and to promote some circulation to those muscles that may have been in an awkward position for a while.
Again, we are all just doing what we can do. We are all learning and adapting and coping best we can. Be easy on yourself.