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With Stage 4 restrictions, now even more of you are working from home, and less of you are able to come in to the clinic (see our last update post). So, for those who are just setting up, or if you haven’t quite perfected the art of the home office yet, here is our work from home checklist.
Check all of the little niggly things that don’t seem important but believe me, they make a difference!
Ideally, your eyes are in line with the top of your screen. This goes for desktop screens and laptops. Elevate your laptop on to some books, a box, stand, whatever! Two screens? Have whichever you are using the most directly in front of you, with the second screen at the same height off to the side (elevated on books if needed). When looking over to the other screen, move your whole trunk, not just your neck.
You’ll need a separate keyboard and mouse. I got one from the supermarket back in March, there are plenty of cheap ones out there (or invest in a good quality one, we might be doing this for a while).
From a comfortable, supported posture, your elbows should sit below your shoulders, and then rest at 90°. Your hands are then at the keyboard and mouse. Place the mouse as close as possible from this position. Avoid reaching forward to the mouse which can put strain through the shoulder. This is quite often an issue so try to make this correct elbow/shoulder position happen.
If you’re reading, or on the phone and only using the mouse and then find yourself leaning on your non-mouse hand, fair enough! This though may cause some tension/issue up through the side you’re leaning towards. Rather than lean on your arm, lean back into your chair, use the backrest.
This will make a big difference to your comfort levels for the foreseeable future.
If you can, source an office chair. It should be padded, sturdy and height adjustable with removable arms (or no arms). If you can adjust the back rest and seat tilt – bonus! Ideally, your bum is all the way back in the seat with the back of the chair filling the natural curve of your back. You want the chair to bring you to the height where your forearms rest on the desk with your elbows at 90° (as above). If this means your feet are not flat on the ground, get a box/foot rest/foam roller on it’s side/whatever you can think of to prop your feet up and offload any strain in your legs and back.
No office chair? Not to worry, if you’re using a hard home chair – soften the seat. Sit on a pillow or folded up towel. Use a rolled up towel in the small of your back as a makeshift lumbar support. If it’s too deep, put a pillow vertically to fill the space between you and the back of the chair. Same deal with the height and foot rest as above.
With any chair, tuck it in so you are not reaching forward to the keyboard/mouse. Remove any long chair arms preventing the chair from being tucked in properly (some have those little short arms, they’re great!)
No matter how great your chair or desk set up is, if you’re not moving for hours on end, you will get sore. Try to stand (at least) every hour. Everyone knows to take breaks and move during their day, but, just because we know it doesn’t mean we will do it. Try an app to help remind you to get up during the day (Stand Up! or StandApp). Stage Kings are now making some sleek looking standing consoles (with 10% of the proceeds going to Support Act) that can be put together in 30 seconds, totally doable before work or in a lunch break.
As well as that, here is our DAILY DESK WORKOUT. An A4 sheet you can print or just keep up in a tab so you can easily do some desk moves without having to think about it. This includes some strengthening exercises to develop the stamina in the muscles that need to support you when you are sitting at a desk, so the more you do them, the easier it will be to sit. Win win! I will be making a series of these, so if these particular moves don’t take your fancy, keep an eye on the next few lots!
If you are still struggling with desk related pain, please call us so we can tailor a daily program for you. Then after Stage 4 has eased, come on in for a hands on session. Feel free to save the infographic to the side and pass it around to work colleagues and anyone that might need some advice around desk setup.
Take care out there,