The Covid-19 pandemic is still here and as intimidating as it can get. With the fear of this virus everywhere, most people across the globe have been instructed to work from home. Are you working from your home without a proper office set up? Then you must be surely missing the ideal ergonomic work situations areas you are used to in an office environment!
Did you know one of the most crucial health threats is working on laptops in bed, on the couch, kitchen counters and anywhere one shouldn’t?
Work from home may sound interesting but doing it wrong can take a toll on the body and mind. No wonder most people feel stiff and sore by the end of the day.
Let’s see some stats
- According to a survey, it was revealed that workers decreased overall physical activity, mental well-being and exercise. Many workers struggled with creating a healthy and efficient work environment at home. It has also come to light that one-third of surveyed workers created a dedicated room for their work at home. However, 47.6 percent of workers shared their workspace with others.
- Three other studies were also conducted on the physical health of workers at home. The results revealed a range of terms associated with musculoskeletal health.
- A study was conducted by researchers at the University of South California for understanding the impact of social, behavioral and physical factors on office worker’s well being during the early COVID-19 work from home phase (April and June 2020). About 1,000 respondents participated in this survey. Around 988 were picked as valid. The results revealed that workers across the board recounted at least one-and-a-half hours extra work time during work from home, decreased job satisfaction and increase in neck pain. Around 64 percent of the respondents developed one or more new physical health issues.
- A poll was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report revealed 53% of American adults having negative mental health owing to stress linked to the pandemic. The Center for Mental Health in the UK predicts at least half a million people to suffer from poor mental health.
How to stay fit while working from home
Get a Desktop Computer
Try switching between your laptop and desktop computer. Exclusive use of a laptop can be detrimental for health. It is better to get a bigger monitor. It will help you manage your posture and have less effect on eyes. Having a bigger monitor will allow you to look straight ahead while working. Use a laptop as a second monitor instead.
This is coming from our own personal experience. Few of our team members switched to desktop computer for a while and they found significant positive changes in their posture and hence overall physical health.
Tip- Adjust your monitor so that it is directly in front of you at arm’s distance (or a bit more) and your head is about 3 inches below the top of the monitor.
Convert your laptop to make it work like a desktop
Invest in a laptop riser. It is easily available on the market at an affordable price. It helps set your monitor to your eye level. If you do not wish to buy a riser, create it by using blocks of books. This arrangement will help you in bringing your laptop’s screen to your eye-levels.
Next, get an external keyboard and mouse. Make sure you adjust the height of the desk and keyboard tray to maintain keyboard and mouse level little below elbow height. Relax your shoulders and keep wrists straight whenever you operate the keyboard and mouse. The right way is to keep arms at your sides and elbows at 90 degrees. This will help your fingers reach the keyboard without affecting your posture.
Invest in a good chair
Do you have a work friendly chair at home? Sitting on bed with a laptop can be detrimental to health. Buy a chair that allows adjustment of height. Maintain the seating arrangement in a way that your feet are on the floor while working. If not, get a footrest. Adjust the back of your chair in a way to ensure ample lumbar support.
Always maintain a gap of around 2-4 fingers between the edge of your seat and the back of knees. The height of the chair should be adjusted in a way to allow elbows remain at the same height as the desk. You can place pillows on chair seats for this purpose.
Maintain a good posture
Maintain a healthy posture while sitting at the desk. Recline by about 10-15 degrees. Do not keep your back at 90 degrees. You should maintain a slight recline to take the pressure off your hip flexors.
Most people feel stiff after getting up after spending hours on a chair. The hips get tight from sitting constantly at 90 degrees. Make sure you do stretches at regular intervals. This is important to avoid stiffness of muscles.
Move every 2 hours
Sitting for longer hours can lead to several health complications. So make sure you get up and take a walk every 2 hours. Do some stretches too. In case, you feel that a specific part of your body is disturbing you, focus on that specific area.
It is also advisable to change your posture at least twice in an hour. You should also carry out some of the tasks standing. Download an app and set reminders on your phone so that you get up and walk every two hours. Remind yourself to take steps towards a leaner healthier you.
Install Desk at Right Height
The table you use to work on laptop or computer should not be very high. Keep your chair raised in a way that your elbows are the same height as the table. Place something under the feet in case, if they are dangling. The feet should lie at 90 degrees.
Get a Footrest
Invest in a footrest. Many people tend to perch at the edge of their chair. This is because the table is too high. A footrest will push you back in your chair. This provides ample support to your back too. It is available widely at various online shops. Buy one that suits your specific requirements.
On a healthier note
Work from home is not a bad idea especially if you plan it well. The arrangement should not affect your health. Following the above listed ergonomic tips will help you keep your health in good shape while working from home.
Eat healthy, stretch and walk every two hours. This will keep your heart, mind and body in good shape. After all, you gotta live with them and in them.