In the past couple months we have heard about working from home more than ever before. Different experts are talking about the best technical solutions for on-line meetings, about staying productive or keeping the so called work–life balance, when for some of us home office might feel like we never actually leave the work.
Less is mentioned about whether our home environment is actually suitable for working at a computer. We work from bed, while sitting on a couch in bizarre positions or at the dining table. Often we only have laptop without an external keyboard, mouse or monitor. Did you start noticing some extra tension around your neck and shoulders, burning eyes or headaches? Or you might be more tired than usually, not so productive and cannot find the right work flow?
All this can be caused by a poor set up of your workspace, the so-called ergonomics of your work environment.
Taking care of your body is now more important than ever
It is very likely that your physical activities has changed quite a lot in context of the current COVID–19 pandemic. You cannot train in your favorite gym, go to yoga class or for a swim in the public swimming pool. Team sports as well as individual trainings have been restricted. That leaves you probably with running, cycling, hiking or may be working out at home. Sticking to your physical activities and finding motivation to train under these circumstances is a topic for a separate article.
Let’s get back to what happens during our working hours spent behind the computer and how this shift in our daily routine is actually affecting our health.
We often sit for more than 10 hours a day. Sitting is a relatively passive static position and because our body has an amazing ability to adapt to positions that we often repeat then the way we sit really matters! However you sit will also eventually become fixed as part of your regular posture. This leads to long-term muscle imbalances – some muscles shorten or overload, others weaken, there is a reduction in the range of motion of the joints, their wear. And of course pain.
Do you recognize these postures?
Pandemics of musculoskeletal disorders
Related to expansion of home office in 2020 one article in The New York Times is referring to current situation as pandemics of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). And really – studies done mainly in the USA where home office has been continuous since the spring show deterioration of back, joint and muscle pains. Which is naturally secondarily affecting employer’s productivity, sense of job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.
Yes, it requires some action on your side to actively seek better solutions for your home office. But it is so worth it! Plus you can actually use these practical tips also when you’ll get back to the office. So let’s hope it’s gonna be soon!