Still working from home? Five Ergonomic Tips for Remote Workers.

What does your current workstation look like? 

Are you a sofa surfer or have you transformed your dinner table into your office desk? Maybe you’ve set up camp in your local coffee shop and you’re reading this over a well needed iced coffee? 

Whatever your set-up looks like, take a minute right now to assess your posture…

Pay particular attention to your neck and shoulders, are they tense or slouched forward? Put your laptop to one side or move away from your computer, sit up straight, steadily inhale and exhale as you roll your shoulders back and lift your neck up – feels good, doesn’t it?

If you’re honest with yourself, how much attention do you give to your posture?

In 2020, Nurofen took a poll of 2,000 UK adults which revealed 36% have experienced increased back, neck and joint pain. 25% stated these pains developed during lockdown and believed it was down to a poor workstation set-up at home.

With businesses reopening their doors, and many keen to get back into the office, the option for remote working is here to stay.

So, how can you ensure you’re not putting your body under any unnecessary strain, and that you’re not at risk of developing a long-term chronic ailment?

Here are five ergonomic tips you can put into action today:

Move around

Just like you schedule in those team Zoom meetings, schedule in time to move away from your desk too.

Every 30 minutes to an hour, stand up and walk around for a minute or so. This break will unlock any tightness developing in your back or neck that often occurs after being seated for too long. It will also give your blood a chance to circulate properly, not to mention it will give your eyes and mind a well needed rest. This short time away from your desk will recharge your motivation levels too.

Invest in a good chair

Your desk chair needs to support your spinal curves. You should adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. If your feet don’t touch the floor, invest in a footrest. Adjust your armrests so your arms gently rest on them, and allow your shoulders to relax.

Keyboard and Mouse

Your mouse and keyboard should be within easy reach and on the same surface. The keyboard should be around 5cm from the front edge of your desk or table, and the mouse roughly in line with the keyboard. Don’t forget to leave enough room to support your wrists.

While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. 

It is recommended to use keyboard shortcuts as this will reduce extended mouse use. It also helps to alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving the mouse to the other side of your keyboard. You can change the button settings to accommodate which hand you are using to control the mouse by heading over the mouse settings on your PC or laptop.

Keep your chin up

It is crucial to pay attention to your neck and head posture whilst you’re working. Allowing your neck to hang and your chin to touch your chest will lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Practise relaxing your neck, head and shoulders.

If you’re struggling to keep your chin up, I recommend you elevate your laptop. The top of the monitor should be below eye level, so you don’t strain your neck when reading. 

Perform stretches

Every hour, sit up straight at the end of your chair, or stand up and move away from your desk. 

This cross-body shoulder stretch will help to extend the back of the shoulder. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Stretch your right arm out straight
  • Bring your right arm across your body, so your hand points to the floor on the other side of your left leg
  • Bend your left arm at the elbow
  • Hook your left forearm under your right arm, supporting the right arm above the elbow
  • Use your left forearm to pull the right arm further in and across your body, stretching the back of the right shoulder
  • Hold this for 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the other side.

This link has 3 great mobility exercises to help realign your neck, shoulders and back:

If the above tips aren’t relieving your pain, please get in touch with me to book in your complimentary consultation at the Enfield Osteopathic Clinic. 

We will be able to assess your body and provide the appropriate treatments needed to release tension in your body and get you moving around as normal.

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