Setting up your home office
With such a significant percentage of society working from home and increasing number of our patients presenting with spinal issues seemingly affected by lack of movement and/or poor home office ergonomics we thought it would be timely to run through some simple steps you could take to make working from home easier on your body. Dr Nick Brasher (Osteopath) has some handy tips to get your home work space up to scratch.
Over recent months we have noticed a significant shift in the types of issues that our clients are presenting to the clinic. With organised sport on pause and gyms closed for the foreseeable future gone are the acute muscle tears and impact injuries, seemingly replaced by more sedentary issues such stiffness, headaches and low back pain. The biggest factor in this shift, in our opinion, is immobility.
The number one enemy to those working from home is a lack of movement. Gone are the inadvertent walks from office to office, meeting to meeting, the coffee breaks or chatting to colleagues at the water cooler. They have been replaced by Zoom calls, scrolling from one screen to the next and, before you know it, the only movement you have performed for the day was a toilet break and lunch. So our single biggest piece of advice to those working from home is to take regular breaks (every 30-45 minutes), even if brief. Something is better than nothing, as the saying goes, “movement is medicine.”
If you have access to a “sit-stand” desk that is a fantastic option. It encourages inadvertent movement and helps you avoid the vertical compression through the spine that sitting creates.
If you are sitting:
- Your monitor should be somewhere between horizontal to eye level and 30 degrees below it, at a distance approximately the length of your arm;
- Your chair should be adjustable in height and also allow for full-length spinal support with your buttocks at the back of the seat and the support reclined to 10-20 degrees from vertical;
- Keyboard, screen, mouse and any document holders or other frequently used objects should be centrally located and easily accessible, allowing your arms to rest at 90 degrees at the elbow comfortably;
- Thighs should be parallel, knees at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. If your feet do not reach the floor, and you cannot adjust the height of the desk, you can use a footrest.
If you or your employer have any specific questions regarding your office setup or would like one of our Osteopaths to run an eye over your current setup, please contact the clinic.
Click here for a great poster to share with your workplace some handy tips about setting up your office space.