– The importance of your workstation being set up correctly, using mostly things you already have at home –
We all got thrown into working from home at short notice over 9 weeks ago and there wasn’t much time to make sure we all had everything we needed to set our workstations up comfortably.
Having your workstation set up correctly, one that ensures a good posture and minimises risk of muscle tension and pain is vital for your productivity. It is also so important for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Over these last 9+ weeks I’ve kept hearing of people sitting on the sofa with laptop on their knees, or at kitchen tables on regular kitchen chairs, some even sit on their beds. None of these solutions, on their own, provide the correct position for us to work in without it causing us damage in the form of muscle tension and pain.
When lockdown began, I took some time to ensure our home office (box room) was set up correctly for my husband and I to work in, whilst juggling looking after the kids.
We use laptops but the screens are too low for a comfortable posture, so I grabbed a cardboard box (our niece’s birthday gift that we haven’t been able to give to her due to lockdown!) to put underneath the laptop to raise it up. We bought an external keyboard allowing us to type without leaning on our elbows to use the laptop’s keyboard. We have an office chair that provides support for the back, but a kitchen chair can work too together with cushions and pillows for support. Sit on a cushion or two to raise you up as often kitchen chairs can be a little low and use a small pillow as support for your lower back. If your feet don’t touch the floor use a footstool or something similar. (Of course, if you have the means to, you can always buy a laptop stand or an additional screen and a nice ergonomic chair rather than adapt what you already have at home).
So how should a workstation be set up? Well a couple of things to bear in mind;
- Screen needs to be high enough for you to look straight ahead and not tilt your head down.
- Chair should be in a position so you can sit comfortably, supporting your lower back, with your forearms horizontal and resting on the desk, use a footrest if you can’t touch the floor.
It is also important to have regular breaks and forming healthy habits of exercise and ensuring we move our bodies regularly. Movement is good for us; we are not made for sitting still as much as we do these days.
I tell my clients all the time to look at their workstation and make necessary changes. To take regular breaks, getting movement in shoulders, arms, back and hips. Ideally to step away from the desk for a few minutes every hour; maybe grab a drink, get a few minutes of fresh air if possible.
After working from home for so long already chances are that by now you are living with muscle pain and tension. If this is the case book yourself in for a massage with a good reputable massage therapist, for when lockdown is lifted, and they can help ease that built up tension and pain. Your body will thank you for it!