Right now, you may be suddenly working from home, and many of you have never had to do that before. So that means, you may not have access to a private home office and are likely making due with what you have. You may be using your dining room table or couch for workspaces, but that’s not the best for keeping your body in a proper position. So, here are some tips on how to make your at-home office comfortable and ergonomic.
Designate a workspace: It’s often difficult to stay focused solely on work while at home. There are a ton of things you could be doing right? Cleaning, binge-watching your favourite show, or anything other than work. You must designate a specific space so that you can separate work from home life. It’s also beneficial to have some sort of sound barrier, whether that means your designated space is somewhere very secluded from everything else going on at home, or you put on some noise-cancelling headphones, white noise, or blast your favourite music to drown out the world.
Focus on comfort: Depending on the area you chose as your designated workspace, you may need to make a few adjustments. For example, if the chair you’re sitting in keeps your back rounded, place a pillow between your low back and the chair to give you the right lumbar support. Also, try to keep your feet flat on the floor. I know there are some positions that can seem comfortable at the moment, but sitting up straight with your feet on the floor is going to be more supportive than most of those when you’ve stayed that way for a few hours. If you’re using a laptop, use a keyboard and mouse if you have them available, and make sure you place them at a level where you can keep your shoulders down instead of flexed and tense. Also, bring your computer or laptop to eye level so you aren’t bending your neck to look at the screen.
Neutral pose: A neutral pose is a natural way your body falls. Ideally, you want your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. You want everything in line. Arms relaxed at your side, not reaching up or out. When you are consistently overreaching your body can create imbalances which can lead to pain.
Take frequent breaks: Changing positions frequently is beneficial for your body and mind. It can prevent aches and pains that normally come with an office job that has you sitting in one position for hours on end, and it gives your mind a break so you’re actually more productive during your work time. Work for 30 to 40 minutes and take a 5 to a 10-minute break if you can. Not only will it improve your productivity, but it allows your body to change positions and get a little movement in between. Use this time to perform a few stretches to loosen your tense muscles or go for a quick walk to get your heart rate up.
It takes time to adjust to working from home but using these tips can help make that switch easier. Are you working from home? If so, which of these tips will you implement first?
Life is already stressful enough. When you add in a pandemic and this kind of isolation, it can put those struggling with their mental health already, in an even more dangerous place. Make sure you’re taking care of you, however that looks. Use these tips to help.
Your Therapist, Rute Fernandes