Working from home is wonderful, but it comes with some of the same stressors as being in the office. You still need a good Wi-Fi connection, a working computer with a webcam, and a productive office environment. Part of a productive office environment is good lighting, the right office equipment, and ergonomic furniture that helps improve your posture. If you don’t maintain good posture throughout the day, you may experience back, shoulder, and neck pain that just won’t quit. You can avoid aches and pains when working from home with these tips. Check them out:
Don’t Sit for Too Long
You may not even realize you are doing it, but sitting in your chair for too long can have several consequences. In addition to weight gain and muscle loss, you may begin to experience back and hip pain if you sit in the same position for too long. To avoid staying seated too long, take regular breaks. Get up from your chair when you need to use the restroom or get a snack. Give yourself a minute or two between meetings to stand and stretch your legs. Further, you could get a sit-to-stand desk to give yourself more opportunities to stand throughout the day.
Don’t Stand for Too Long
If you have an adjustable desk that allows you to stand, don’t stand too long. You should only stand for a few minutes at a time when using a standing desk. You may feel tightness in your lower back if you stand for too long, which is just as bothersome as back pain from sitting too long. Consider setting boundaries for when you will stand, such as during meetings or while you are checking email.
To avoid back, neck, and shoulder pain while working from home, you should switch positions throughout the day. While you want to maintain the basics of good posture, you should allow yourself to be comfortable while working. Pay attention to your body throughout the day to ensure you aren’t putting too much stress on any one area. For instance, if you like to cross your legs, you should leave them uncrossed for a portion of the day to relieve tension from your knees.
Sit Up Straight
Good posture is essential to preventing aches and pains throughout the day. One of the main components of good posture is aligning your spine. No matter where you sit while you work from home, you should sit up to ensure that your back is straight. If you use a computer chair, your chair may have a built-in ergonomic design to help keep you in the correct position. Otherwise, use a firm pillow to support you.
Pro Tip: You can align your spine while you sleep too! Invest in a good mattress and pillow that keep your neck and spine in line with one another while you slumber.
Reposition Your Office Equipment
Elevate Your Screen
How you elevate your screen will depend on the type of computer you use to work from home. If you do your work on a monitor, you may need to elevate the screen with a box, thick book, or another object. On the other hand, your monitor might be adjustable. Further, if you use a laptop, you may need to invest in a laptop stand to elevate your screen. Elevating your screen will help you naturally lift your head while working, and lifting your head aligns your spine. Once you do this, you’ll notice less pain in your neck and shoulders.
Pro Tip: If you are using a monitor, push your screen back so that it is at least an arm’s length away. You reduce eye strain when your computer screen isn’t right in your face.
Move Your Mouse and Keyboard
The ideal position for your arms when it comes to your keyboard, mouse, and desk is with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. You want your wrists flat while you type and use your mouse. Bending your wrist while using your computer puts strain on your tendons and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.
Invest in a Comfortable Chair
Sitting at a desk chair is better for your back and shoulders than sitting on the couch or a dining room chair. Computer chairs support your back and typically include armrests for comfort. Further, they have padding to accommodate long hours of sitting. Office chair designs keep ergonomics in mind; they help align your spine, taking into consideration everything from your back and shoulders to your hips and legs.
Sit at Your Desk
If you work from a laptop, you may feel the temptation to take it away from your desk. Sitting at your desk improves your productivity and puts you in the mindset of work. Whether you work for yourself or a company, sitting at your desk promotes professionalism.
Avoid Working in Your Bed
Like sitting at your desk helps improve your productivity, lying in bed can make it worse. If you aren’t able to sit up straight and feel your best, your work may suffer. Try to cut down on the number of days you work from home and in bed—and take note of the difference in how you feel. Further, be mindful of how much work you complete when you aren’t in bed for hours at a time.
Everyone needs a break from sitting up and staring at a computer screen. Even if you are working from home and feel like you are taking breaks all the time, try to find ways to make your breaks good for your body. Get up and stretch, go for a walk on your lunch break, or sit somewhere else in your house that gives your back a break from being up straight.
Stretch Throughout the Day
In the morning, on your breaks, and whenever it feels good, take some time to stretch your body to relieve tension and soreness as it occurs. Your body is more important than your job. Give yourself a moment to unwind from the position you are in so that your blood can keep pumping through your veins. A good stretch allows your body to take in more oxygen. Some easy stretches you can do from your desk include:
- Rolling your neck in circles
- Tucking your chin
- Reaching your hands to the sky
You can avoid aches and pains when working from home with these tips. A basic understanding of ergonomics principles is essential to maintaining good posture. Align your spine and keep your wrists straight while typing. Rest your back against your chair, and plant your feet on the floor as much as you can. It is important to stay comfortable throughout the day, which is why you shouldn’t stay in the same position for too long. Stand up, rearrange yourself, and stretch throughout the day.
Invest in good home office furniture in Memphis, TN, from the Great American Home Store to set up your work-from-home space. Shop our full collection online, or come into one of our stores today.