The continued spread of Covid-19 means many of us are now working from home but have you considered how to set up your home office? While working on your laptop and sitting in an armchair may seem appealing, you could be causing all kinds of serious postural problems. Here are my tips to help you create a safe and healthy ‘home office‘ environment.
- Switch your laptop to a keyboard, mouse and monitor - laptops can cause neck and upper back discomfort. If you have to use a laptop, elevate it so that the top of the monitor is at eye level (see below pic).
- Adjustable chair and/or desk - I invested in an ergonomically designed chair https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07BB4R6BC/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1 which encourages you to maintain a natural spinal curve and alleviates some of the strain on your hip flexors. It takes a little practice to get used to but it is helping me sit at my desk with better posture. Standing desks are also popular and can help reduce back and neck pain. If you want to use an existing chair, use cushions to raise your height and a box as a foot rest to help achieve better posture.
- Avoid the sofa! Although it may seem like the most comfortable option, sofas encourage you to slump, to round your shoulders and bring your neck forward. This creates more strain on your spine and body.
- Mix it up! Stand up and work at the kitchen counter or sit on the floor with your laptop on the sofa or coffee table.
- Put your mobile on speaker or use earphones - if you are making lots of calls, try to avoid propping your phone to your ear and typing!
- Find an area of the house that you can create as a working environment. Whether this is the spare room or a space in a room, this will help you switch onto ‘work mode’ and avoid general house distractions like emptying the washing machine and dishwasher!
- Move every 30 minutes - whether it is stretching sat in your chair, running up and down the stairs, making a cup of tea or going out for a walk at lunchtime. This will help keep your muscles active and give your eyes a break from the screen.
If you would like further advice or stretches you can do at home to alleviate tension at your desk please let me know.