Ahhh Corona! Like the rest of the world, we are trying to do our part and follow the government recommended social distancing and isolation guidelines by staying home as much as possible and working from a home office.
For many of us, this means waking up from our horizontal sleeping position. Transitioning to a sitting position for breakfast. From here we either remain at the kitchen table for the workday or if you are lucky shifting to some other sort of impromptu “home office” setup. Due to the close proximity to the kitchen, we inevitably end up taking numerous food and coffee breaks. Most likely swapping to another sitting position for a change of scenery. When that work clock ticks over to 5-6 pm, we can finally close the laptop. Exhausted, we then slump onto the sofa for some well-deserved downtime before slipping back into bed to start the whole COVID schedule over again.
For those determined enough to squeeze in a makeshift workout, getting out into the fresh air for the government-signed-off exercise hour”, I commend you! However, even with that exercise hour you are still only hitting a fraction of your usual activity levels.
I don’t know about you but I can’t help feeling AND LOOKING like a SLUMPY BANANA with the lack of usual activity filling up my day.
What we THINK WE KNOW about working from home
- It feels like we would be more comfortable working as we can sit in bed/couch/kitchen etc.
- Homework set up is just as good as an office set up
- Can have a slower start to the day without the transit to work
- Able to Multitask house chores with work
- We can wear PJs all day (or at least waist down)
- Take as many breaks as we want (as long as the work gets done) and Unlimited access to all the food in the fridge
What we DIDN’T REALISE about working from home
- Working in bed/on couch/at the kitchen table are REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE over time
- Makeshift work stations are NOT ERGONOMIC and can RESULT IN a lot of problems like HEADACHES, NECK PAIN, BACK PAIN, FATIGUE and LACK OF FOCUS
- Slower start today can mean LESS PRODUCTIVITY and more wasted time
- Multitasking is not as efficient at expected. Jumping back and forth between tasks causes us to lose focus
- PJ’s all day can sneakily mask the potential results of all the extra snack breaks over time. Creating unexpected obstacles when trying to fit back into regular work clothes
Luckily for you, there are some home office hacks we can do to prevent our bodies and spines from turning into a slumpy banana.
HOME OFFICE SET UP HACKS
- If you do not have access to an ergonomic office chair a straight back chair such as an armless kitchen chair is best.
- Place a pillow on the seat and a smaller (or folded) pillow behind the curve of your low back for lumbar support
- if your chair already has seated padding just add the lumbar support pillow
- Make sure that your knees are slightly lower than your hips
- this will tilt your pelvis forward which also helps support the lower back
- Ideally, the chair should be able to slide under your work table so that your torso is close enough to allow your hands to reach all your tools (keyboard, mouse, phone, writing materials etc) with your elbows remaining comfortably by your sides.
- Your work surface should be at a level that allows the upper arms and wrists to remain neutral and your elbows to be at 90 degrees by your sides.
- If your station is too high, try to add a few extra pillows to lift your seat higher, otherwise, you can use a higher counter as a standing desk option
- Should be raised to eye level – if you don’t have a laptop stand you can improvise by placing books under your laptop to lift the screen to eye level (this may require the use of a separate keyboard/mouse if you are performing interactive work rather than just reading)
- Screen lighting should be a few levels lower than the brightness of the light in the room you are working in
- Take the time to ZOOM/magnify small text or images that require eye straining
- Try out the Dictation function on your computer to save from having to physically type if your wrists are not in the above mentioned neutral position
- Clean off your workspace whether it is an actual desk or kitchen table – less clutter = fewer distractions
- Make sure that your necessary work tools such as the keyboard, mouse, paper, pens etc on your desk are within comfortable reach allowing your elbows to remain at your sides
- Preferably have your desk facing towards the window rather than away from a window to minimise the glare on your monitor
- SET ALARMS every 1-2 hours to take a micro-break.
- Rather than getting up to grab a snack from the all too accessible kitchen use the micro-breaks for movement
- Stand up, stretch your arms overhead, move your head, neck and spine forwards, backwards, rotate and side bend left to right. If you are feeling extra ambitious sneak a few squats in every time you go to sit down again.
- Getting your body MOVING will shake off fatigue, INCREASE ENERGY and PRODUCTIVITY levels and improve your ability to FOCUS not to mention PREVENT those ACHING NECK and BACK PAINS caused by prolonged sitting positions.
AFTER WORK UNWIND
- Despite the tempting allure of sliding onto the couch and basking in the soft glow of the television once your workday is done, remember you have been home ALL DAY LONG.
- Take this opportunity to CLEAR your HEAD, CALM your MIND and OPEN your HEART and LUNGS by heading out for a 15-30 minute WALK
- No better way to shift from a working mindset then to get your blood pumping, joints and muscles moving and calm your mind by surrounding yourself with nature.
Don’t hesitate to contact our team at Hands on Health Care on (02) 9949 3017 for any further inquiries. Click the link below to book your next TELEHEALTH APPOINTMENT!
- Sad Banana Image, digital photograph, accessed on 10 April 2020, <https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/madison.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/2d/62d4e4bc-c9c3-11e3-ace7-0019bb2963f4/5355d00ee9b7b.image.jpg>.
- Home office image, digital photograph, accessed on 10 April 2020,<https://miro.medium.com/max/11520/1*PU7wwmX3JaTa6CcDKvSwpA.jpeg>.