My home office set-up: how can it be better?

It is very unsettling times currently and a lot of people who are lucky to still have their jobs are even luckier if they can work from home. But is your home office set-up optimal for you body, posture and concentration levels?

Having an ideal desk set-up is hard enough at times without the sudden shift in location due to this pandemic. However, having the right set-up can release pressure from sore shoulders and necks that are already under strain from our heightened levels of stress. Not only can poor ergonomics (work place design/equipment) cause new issues, it can make chronic issues like lower back pain from things such as injury, trauma or osteoarthritis more severe due to this added postural stress and strain.

Here are some steps to help optimise your home desk ergonomics

Chair height: you want to have your chair high enough that your hips are just slightly higher than your knees. This allows the lower back to be more supported and decrease your shoulders rolling forward.

If your chair cannot go up and down, place a pillow on the chair and behind the small of you back for added lumbar support.


Feet on the ground: If your feet are not on the ground and you don’t have some sort of step to put your feet on, some old books or phone books are a great alternative to lift those feet up so you can sit comfortably in your chair.


Elbows just above desk: the previous two steps should result in your elbows floating just above the desk, this ensures you’re not leaning forward on the desk and causing non-optimal posture.


Screen at eye level: Lifting the screen assists with our posture so the neck and upper back doesn’t flex forward for hours looking at a screen. Again use some old books to put your laptop or screen monitor on, and if you’re able, get a keyboard and mouse so that you can use your laptop as if it is just a monitor screen. You may even be able to borrow your keyboards and mouse from work. Have this mouse and keyboard in easy reach, not too far away so you are stretching for it!


Sit up tall: Try to remind yourself (or set a reminder on your phone) to sit up straight and to always have your shoulder blades touching your chair, ensure you have small breaks and a stretch – these small breaks also help concentration levels with increasing movement and blood flow to the brain.


Sit-stand desk: These are a great alternative to consider for at home or work, read our blog on sit-stand desks here to find out more.


 

If you have had an increase in pain due to swapping work places to home, and have tried all these tricks, talk to one of our very knowledgeable osteopaths on how to further decrease work posture strain and keep your mind on the job, not on your pain

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