The COVID-19-driven lockdown has pushed the entire Indian professional workforce into working from home. Being relatively new to this telecommuting medium, you may often not have proper work-desk arrangements set up at home. Working for long hours with incorrect body posture over a long time can have an impact on your health.
Poor posture while working on the laptop could cause musculoskeletal disorders like pain in the neck, back, shoulders, and other issues. It’s important that you mind the posture while working at home.
Here are some instructions to keep yourself healthy while working from home and stay healthy !!
Adopt The Right Posture
The right posture keeps you healthy and gives you more energy to work. Try to imitate your working habits in the ofﬁce to avoid developing other issues like fatigue, headaches, backaches, neck pains, and MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders).
These conditions will not only affect your productivity but also your mental health. Let’s look at some points to remember while working in different ways.
While sitting on a chair and desk
It may be a good idea to invest in ergonomic chair and work desk that support different postures throughout the day.
The chair that you invest in should have adjustable features like seat heights, armrest and backrest adjustments to ensure maximum comfort, also having excellent lumbar support that is adjustable to keep your back well supported.
- Adjust the height of your chair and rest your feet on the ﬂoor or the footrest. Bend your knees at 90 degrees to relieve the excess pressure out of your back
- Ensure your arms are always supported, either on the desk or the chair armrest – with elbows bent at 90 degrees while typing on the keyboard
- If you don’t have a chair with good back support, you should take breaks or change your posture after every 20 minutes
- Take proper lumbar support to keep your back straight
While Standing & working
It’s also a good idea to stand and work to vary your work posture. You may use a storage cabinet as your standing workstation. The more regularly you change your posture, the better you will feel.
- Place your laptop on a hard surface
- Adjust the height of your laptop screen such that the screen top is at your eye level
- Don’t slouch or lower your back
- Keep your laptop away from any kind of liquid to prevent spills
While sitting on the sofa or bed
Of course, working on the bed, sofa or the bean bag can be quite attractive. While it’s okay to use these for a short period, remember not to forget the basics of good posture.
- Place cushions behind your back to help you get the right support
- Place cardboard or a stand beneath the laptop to keep it steady
- Adjust the height of the laptop to keep the screen parallel to your eye level
- Avoid slouching or lowering your neck while working
Tips for improving health while working home
Use Your Laptop Safely
It natural to pick a comfortable spot while working on the laptop at home. Given that you will end up working for long hours, maintaining the correct posture becomes crucial.
It is recommended that you opt for a laptop stand and set up your system in a way that the screen is raised to the height of your eyebrows. You should also use a wireless mouse and a keyboard, if possible, to keep the screen at your arm’s length while typing.
Working from home means there is a chance for you to become more sedentary. You no longer have to walk over to the conference room or take a post-lunch casual walk around the premises.
Here are some tips:
- While at home, ensure you take breaks to move around a bit.
- Try to walk around a bit while you are on the phone.
- Socialize a bit, as you would do if you were in ofﬁce.
- Take micro-breaks. Micro-breaks are great productivity boosters and also prevent you from staying seated all day.
Even if you can’t go to the gym, make sure you work out regularly, stretch your muscles, and keep yourself ﬁt and healthy at all times. It’s very important to get as much movement into your day as possible and avoid being sedentary.
You can try some freehand exercises and stretches. Do crunches, push-ups, squats, and leg lifts in the morning to feel energetic throughout the day. Not only will it help you stay physically ﬁt but also increase your productivity by improving mental clarity and focus.
Stay Healthy, Stay Productive
Written by – Dr Reena Valecha
Occupational Therapist & Ergonomist
(Currently associated with Godrej)