Well, here we are, one month into 2021 and many things from the madness of 2020 seem to be here to stay – at least for a while. One of the biggest shifts we have seen is the increase in the number of people who are working from home – Statistics Canada estimates by the last week of March 2020 ~39% of the population was working from home in comparison ~13% in 2018. There are so many benefits to this new model, most notably curbing the spread of Covid-19, BUT it is also worth acknowledging some of the difficulties that come with it.
We shifted quickly and adapted to these tumultuous times – but since we did not think it would last long there was often not much thought put into how working from home would truly look. Home offices sprung up in many houses but had to be created with whatever resources were available and self-designed. Most offices were designed to be temporary and people are now feeling the consequences of using a space created out of convenience rather than having an ergonomic design. In the clinic, we see this present as most people seek help for shoulder back and neck pain due to poor posture and position management.
So, if you work from home, how can you avoid this type of pain cropping up in your life?
Home office design – think about your set-up
The best workspace is one that is designed for you! Starting with a chair in which you can sit comfortably with your back against the backrest, feet flat on the floor and where the height keeps your hips and knees at about 90-degree angles. The position of your keyboard or table should be one where you are able to relax at the shoulders and your elbows are at approximately a 90-degree angle with your forearms supported on the table. Finally, your screen should be at a height where you are able to sit up nice and tall looking forward but not leaning forward – not looking up or down to focus.
Take breaks – move around
One of the biggest changes with work happening from home is that we do not need to move as much – no more getting ready, leaving the house and going into the office. This means most of us are moving A LOT less during the day. For every hour of your day spent sitting, try to spend at least 5-10 minutes moving – if this means walking around the house while on a call or getting up once an hour to stretch, do it! You will feel a lot better by breaking up the day.
Specific exercises and stretches – opposite direction that you spend your work-day in
Think of how you are sitting throughout the day, are your shoulders pulled forward and turned inwards? Is your head stuck out in front of you or are you looking down a lot? If these are true for you; stretching out your chest with a doorframe pec stretch, working on drawing your shoulder blades back and down, and focusing on keeping your head in line with the rest of your spine may help!
If you are experiencing pain or limitations and would like a more personalized treatment plan to address this in your life please contact us today! We have a wonderful team who would be happy to help you get back to living proactively!