Working from home for long periods wasn’t something we were used to, but, having been home-bound for more than two months now in this lockdown, we have gradually grown to discover some of its perks. The biggest one being that we can attend all our meetings in comfortable clothes, lying around in every angle that a clock’s hands can make, without anyone to judge. One minute we’re sprawled across the sofa, laptop in hand, and in the next we’re cooped up in the bean bag. While this may sound great for your comfort, it isn’t as much for your health. Sitting in the wrong posture for long periods could have a severe impact on your spine, muscles, and bones, and be a pain in the neck, literally.
With work from home about to be the new normal for the coming months, we need to pay careful attention to taking care of how we sit, especially with many of us pulling long hours at work. Here are some simple tips on how you can optimize your posture while working from home:
Set up your workspace right
For those using chairs, choose one that supports your back. If it doesn’t, you could use the support of a pillow or a rolled-up towel for back support. It should also ideally let you keep your knees and elbows at right angles to keep prevent muscle strain.
While it is advisable to sit on a chair and not on a bed or a sofa while working, not all of us might have a designated desk for work, in which case we should take other measures to avoid strain on our necks. If you’re using a laptop, try and ensure your screen to be at eye-level so that your neck does not have to bend. You could either use a laptop-stand if you have one or prop it up using folders or books. A pillow can be placed under the knees while working on the bed to give the laptop additional height.
Watch your posture
Now that you have the workspace set, the next step is to get the posture right. Try and ensure that the small of your back has support, your shoulders are relaxed (not slumped), your neck isn’t craned downwards and that there is no strain on your knees.
Although we get usually off to the right start, we tend to slump or slouch with time without realizing it. Make mental notes, or maybe even a post-it, to correct your posture time-to-time.
Take breaks to stretch and move around
While in the office, we get to move around on the pretext of coffee breaks or other tasks. However, in the comfort of our homes there is very little reason to move around and we end up sitting in the same place for hours on end which isn’t healthy for our bodies.
Take a break at regular intervals to stretch and walk around to loosen the muscles and get the blood flowing in your limbs. Even low-level but regular activity such as walking around for 2-3 minutes, back arches, neck exercises and stretches can ensure our joints don’t get rusty and circulation is maintained.