Working from home? Matt’s top-5 tips!

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WFH: Working from hell?!

Why is working from the comfort of your own home so… Uncomfortable?

Working from home throughout this isolation and lockdown period has certainly delivered all sorts of creative home-office solutions. From kitchen and dining tables to couches and beds…whatever your set up they all have TWO things in common (unless you’re also wearing your PJs to work, then we have three things):

1. Our working environment has drastically changed

2. Our bodies aren’t always loving it

This perfect storm of awkward postures mixed with highly repetitive tasks and longer hours at the “office” has seen hundreds of Victorians fall victim to cranky necks, shoulders and backs!!

Chances are you were already experiencing some of these aches and pains but they’ve become more noticeable in the past couple of months.

So, here’s my TOP 5 tips you can implement TODAY to boost your health and productivity and decrease those aches and pains!

The Office Set-Up

Selecting your office is obviously step one, most of you will have already done this but how many boxes below does your setup tick off? Do you need to make any changes?

  • Select a solid desk or table to work from – No couches / beds!
  • Feet should be flat on the floor – Use foot rest if needed
  • Elbows, hips, knees and ankles should all be roughly 90 degrees
  • Keyboard / mouse 10-20cm away from desk edge for forearm support
  • Keep chair close to desk or table to reduce “reaching” for your mouse
  • Screens raised with eyes roughly level with top ⅓ of the monitor

    Where possible, select a separate section of your house (no matter how small) and make it exclusive for office use only. Create a physical and mental boundary for office hours – Remember to “clock off”.

Posture Makes Perfect

Office workers would spend roughly 70% of their day sitting, without the daily commute we can assume this percentage has only increased! Sitting is unavoidable but here are a few strategies you can use to avoid aches whilst sitting.

  • Use cushions / rolled up towels to create low back support
  • If using multiple monitors – Keep your eye line central to avoid constant twisting to look at your “secondary” screen
  • When working from a laptop, consider getting an external mouse and keyboard so you can raise the screen and keep more neutral wrists with supported forearms
  • Stand up desks are great! But build up your tolerance slowly. Start with 15mins per hour and increase as you can tolerate.

BUT REMEMBER, your BEST posture is your NEXT posture!

Do your best to avoid prolonged periods in ANY one position. See the next step for ideas on how to keep moving!

Keep On Moving

How can we keep moving throughout the day while being stuck to a desk you ask? Try some of the following tricks to break up your day.

  • Perform all hard-copy based tasks standing or walking
  • Implement a Zoom-meeting “standing culture” in your workplace
  • Use your lunch break to go outside and walk – For coffee, presumably
  • Incorporate some regular stretching & strength exercises – Up next!

Stretches & Exercises

Stretches


Neck stretches

  • Start in a seated position.
  • Take your hand, place it on your head and gently pull your ear towards your shoulder and hold.
  • Then angle the head looking down towards the knee and gently pull the head with comfortable tension.

    Hip stretches

  • Kneel on the floor and place the unaffected foot in a large stride in front of you.
  • Push the hips forwards evenly and keep your body straight until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip on your back leg.
  • Hold this position.


    Lower back

  • Start position is lying on the back with the legs bent and the feet on the floor.
  • Lift one leg and cross that ankle over the opposite knee.
  • Reach between the legs grasping the back of the knee of the lower leg and then pull both legs in towards the chest.
  • The non-stretch leg should exert a slight pressure that assists in pushing the crossed leg upwards toward the chest.
  • Hold for 15 seconds and repeat for the other side.


    Upper back

  • Sit up straight in a chair and lift your hands to touch the side of your head, just behind your ears. Point your elbows forwards.
  • Keeping your posture directly upright, move your elbows out to the sides.
  • Holding this position with your arms, rotate your upper body round to one side, and then round to the other.
  • You should feel the movement in your upper back.

Strength

Chin Tuck

  • Start in a seated position with your shoulders relaxed. Look straight forward.
  • Tuck your chin in, as to resemble a double chin, hold this position.
  • Try and avoid “looking down” with your head

Supine Hip Thrust

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Tuck your pelvis under and squeeze your glute muscles
  • Push your heels down and lift your hips up into the bridge position
  • Make sure you keep your hips up and level throughout the movement.

Nutrition

It’s easy to get “in the zone” but remember to take regular breaks to eat nutritious food and stay hydrated to keep your energy levels high and boost that productivity!

Make sure to include healthy snacks like:

  • Vegetable sticks
  • Handful of mixed nuts or seeds
  • Berries
  • Natural yoghurt or cheese

Let’s make working from the comfort of your own home exactly what it should be…. Comfortable!

For more helpful ergonomic, postural and nutritional advice or to relieve any pain book an appointment with Matt “HERE”…. Or call the clinic on 0421 526 409.

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