Avoiding the WFH Pitfalls
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues in the UK and around the world, the latest updates have meant we’ve had to keep working from home for a little longer than we expected.
Those of you that have home offices may be well set-up, but others could already be struggling with the increased time spent over laptops, perched at tables and chairs of varying heights, not ideally suited to the working day.
Ergonomics or Movement?
Professional opinion on the benefits of ergonomics have swung back and forth over recent years. Lots time and money has been invested on ergonomically designed desks, chairs and work stations, but does it make a difference? Or is it papering over the cracks?
This may come as a surprise, but there is actually very little strong, high-quality evidence to show that certain postures directly relate to pain. A lot of assumptions have been made, which might muddy the water, for example:
This office worker has a “slumped” (kyphotic) posture at their desk.
This office worker also has back / neck pain.
Therefore, a “slumped” (kyphotic) posture, leads to their back pain.
The problem with the above statement is there is just too many other factors that are ignored.
How long does this person spend at their desk? Stress? Strength? Activity? Anxiety? Underlying conditions? Diet? Medication? to name but a few.
In essence, no posture is a bad posture, it is just the time you spend there, along with many other factors, that can increase your risk of pain. Like most things, too much of anything can be negative.
Rather than vilifying your work station and then getting frustrated when no amount of ergonomic equipment makes you comfortable…try to take control of the other factors that will have a cumulative effect on your pain risk.
Perhaps the simplest one, is move. Make sure to take regular breaks and move about as much as possible. Maybe even do some mobility exercises during calls? (just make sure your webcam is turned off).
You’ll probably find that your productivity actually increases while working from home! All those small distractions around the office that usually get you up from your desk, are taken away.
This might be great for work output but it doesn’t always do you any favours! You’ll often find it’s easier to spend more and more time, stuck at the desk than you do in the office.
Ensure that you take a proper lunch break for example, in order to do something completely unrelated to work and allow you to switch off for a while.
Working Hours / Schedule
To put it bluntly, your work life has invaded your home!
Now that you are “always available”, it’s very easy to allow work to encroach on what would normally be your downtime, if you were at the office. This can get particularly difficult if you work for international companies, where time-difference also has a part to play (the odd meeting popping into the calendar far earlier/later than normal).
Being disciplined about your working hours and schedule can be make-or-break for your stress levels and work-life balance. Especially with the restrictions currently limiting social gatherings and all the things we liked doing to unwind!
Take your lunch-break, finish when your are supposed to, and make the most of the hour activity the lock-down currently allows. We’ve got at least another 2 weeks of this, so let’s make sure we keep good habits in place!
Want an excuse to get away from your desk? We’ve been producing a great library of pilates and yoga videos to keep you moving – these 10-20 minute videos are a perfect way to stay sane and look after yourself when working from home! Click the link below to subscribe to our library and view our Uplift playlist!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRngCVriSPr8Yz4B22reB6w/playlists?view_as=subscriberCategories: All Articles
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