With those of us who can work from home being asked to continue doing so we thought it best to have a look at our new work environments for you all. All too often you may opt to fire up the laptop whilst slouching on the sofa to answer a few emails and then 5 hours later you’re still there hammering away at the keyboard in a less than ideal posture. As such it is crucial that we treat our work from home, in the same manner, we would do in the office, and ensure we have a ‘healthy’ home office space to work in. Not only will this boost productivity but also limit causing unnecessary aches, pains and strains from plotting up wherever seems (initially) most comfy. The 4 cornerstones of the healthy home set up are;
– Workspace Continuity
– Work The Angles
– Office Mindset
– Stay Mobile
Let’s have a look at each point to see what I mean…
Having a space that is solely for work within your home pays dividends. The lines can quickly become blurred if you are just working wherever your cup of tea can be placed. Blurred lines > no boundaries and a drop in productivity.
Find a place that you can call your own between office hours and ask other members of the household to respect your workspace and working hours. This will help immensely!
There are few things quite as distracting as working at the dining table and having people milling in and out making breakfasts and lunches around you and jumping into a conversation with you while you’re trying to concentrate on work.
Ensure everyone is aware that you should be treated as if you were at work and to give you the required breathing space. Your deadlines will thank you!
Work The Angles
Setting up your space in an ergonomic fashion will ensure you aren’t doing yourself any unnecessary damage while working. There are a few rules that should be followed to ensure this is achieved and may well differ greatly to what you have originally been told, however, please read on to find out my thoughts on the ergonomic assessment guidelines and if they actually work after 7 years of treating patients who are deemed to have the correct ‘ergonomic set up’ but till enter the clinic with desk posture issues!
– Your eyes should be level with the top 1/3 of your screen (please read below for my non-gold star study into this setup advice)
– Your screen should be at least 50cm in front of your eyes, and not much more than that if you can
– Elbows should be by your side and above the table, whilst keeping your forearms and wrists parallel with each other
– You shouldn’t have to lean forward or sideways to use your keyboard or mouse
– Adjust chair height to ensure your hips and knees are at a 90° alignment with your feet on the floor, or a footrest if you prefer
– Your chair should have a back recline between 10° and 20°
– Leave yourself a little gap between the base of the chair and your knees
Try to stick as close to your workday routine as you can. Get up, get ready and get ‘breakfasted’ within the normal timeframe and, to make up for the lost exercise that would normally get you to work, why not go for a short walk or run before sitting down to work.
Not only will this help reduce the risk of adding on the pounds but it will wake you up and get you ready for a full day of productivity. Even if it’s just a stroll to the shop on the corner to get the paper, it all helps!
Also, this is a common tip that is really effective, dress as you would when you are going to work. If you sit down in your dressing gown and slippers I can guarantee you won’t have as productive a day as if you’d got your work clothes on!
Don’t forget to get up and walk around from time to time. Get the blood flowing, do some stretches or some light exercise every so often.
I like to set an interval alarm of an hour when the alarm goes off I set about doing some form of stretch or exercise for 2-5 minutes and then getting back to work. It helps with my concentration levels and definitely enhances my productivity.
As most of my patients know, I and another oxford osteopath devised our own study off the back of desk-bound patients still regularly presenting into clinic even though their desk set up had been ‘ergonomically assessed’ and their set up was deemed to be suitable and appropriate!
We took it on to look into the guidelines and to try our own experiment to see if we could make some changes to the outcomes of those working at a desk all day. The first thing I found was that the regulations hadn’t been updated since 1970!
Since then we have had massive changes to the way that we work, some people use up to three screens at a time and also work from handheld devices! The main issue that I saw with the set up was the screen height, it just wasn’t high enough, as such, we made changes there.
Then with the advice stating that your eye level should be aimed at the top 1/3 of the screen, we moved that to the bottom 1/3, what did we find, that these eliminated people neck pain from 93% of our patients who previously had their screens lower and presented its neck pain. Why is this? Because of your centre of gravity.
I always offer people the option of forwarding their desk set up to me, so what are you waiting for? Send over your desk set up and let’s see how we can improve this for you 🙂
I am hoping to open again at the end of June, please keep an eye on your emails for your appointment change.
Stay safe and well, until next time!