A lot of us in Woking are working from home right now.
You may be stationed at the kitchen table or have transformed an unused corner into a temporary workstation. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated room to work in, you may not be best set up to look after your posture. Not having the right support can play havoc with your back and could cause problems over the longer term.
Relax! We’ve got you covered…
If your shoulders, neck and back are tense after a long day, there are a few small things you can do to make a big difference. They’ll also help you be more comfortable while you work and can even help with focus and productivity.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably.
While working from bed may seem like one of the few benefits of the times we find ourselves in, it’s far from ideal for your body. You’ll also find that the lines blur between work and rest so when it does come time to get some sleep, your brain might think it’s worktime!
If you can, create a work zone away from any distractions and use it for work purposes only! The kitchen table is OK if you’re short on space but try to clear everything away at the end of the day.
We also recommend:
- - Making sure your chair is close to your desk for support and good posture.
- - Using a chair that allows your feet to rest comfortably on the floor.
- - Checking that the top of your computer screen is level with your eyes to keep your neck straight and avoid any strain.
Check your posture
Make it a habit to check your posture frequently – you may forget how you’re sitting when you’re engrossed with work. The more you do this the better and a strong posture will start to come more naturally, avoiding potential issues.
Start by making sure you are in the most comfortable position:
- - Make sure your hips are above your knees when seated.
- - Use a chair with a back rest and make sure your back fits into it.
- - Sit right back and upright – no slouching. You can correct this when you check in with yourself.
- - Relax your shoulders (it’s easy to tense up!) and try to keep your elbows at 90 degrees.
Keeping things you use often within reach is also a great way to avoid leaning across your desk too much. This may seem obvious but if you find yourself reaching too much, you’re also not getting the back support you need from your chair.
Give yourself a break!
We’ve all had to make major adjustments over the last year and working from home is whole new territory for many of us. That includes how we plan our work days. Don’t be tempted to cram work into extended sessions or hold out until tea-time for a break.
Building mini-pauses into your day can relieve any stress:
- - 5 minute flex: If you’re working at a computer, take a short pause often (every 5 minutes is not that much if you’re working hard!) to stretch your hands, roll your shoulders and flex your neck.
- - 20 minute pause: Don’t forget to give your eyes a break from screen time every 20 minutes. Look into the distance for 20 seconds, giving your eyes and your brain a quick refresher.
- - 30 minute stretch: Don’t go more than half an hour without standing up and stretching – it only takes seconds but can really re-energise you.
- - 2 hour exercises: Build gentle stretches or a quick walk round the garden into your day every two hours to get your body moving and reinvigorate you.
Easy desk stretches you can do right now!
Let’s start with your neck and work our way down:
Neck Rotations stretch the muscles on the outside of your neck. Start by keeping your head upright and turning from side to side, aiming to move it out past your shoulder.
Neck and Shoulder Stretches can be done by sitting on one hand and tilting your head in the other direction. Change sides and repeat as needed.
Posterior Shoulder Stretches can be done by holding one arm across your body and using the other arm to pull your elbow into your chest. Repeat on both sides.
Shoulder Extensions can be done by joining your hands and holding your arms above your head, reaching as high as you can with palms facing upwards. Alternatively, you can stand up, stretch your hands out behind you, gently clasp your hands together and lift your arms. This also opens the chest.
Seated Spinal Rotations can be done by crossing your arms across your chest, holding your shoulders, and rotating your body from the waist up. Move from left to right as far as is comfortable.
Sitting Back Extensions involve sitting straight with your feet together, placing your hands on the small of your back and leaning back as much as is comfortable.