Is Working From Home Giving You Bad Posture?
By Jennie Waeland, February 24 2021
Working from home may sound stress-free and relaxing at first, but after many months, it can become detrimental to our body and posture. We’ve all been guilty at some point of working horizontally on the sofa or not taking frequent breaks from the screen.
Whilst these characteristics may seem harmless, overtime it can make a real difference to our posture. So, it’s time to analyse your work from home habits and start giving your body a little more TLC.
Read on for some of our best tips to help improve posture and muscle tension. Let’s leave the couch-potatoing till after work hours.
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So, what can cause bad posture and backache?
Looking down at a phone
For most of us, endless hours can be spent staring down at a phone or laptop screen. The majority of the time, our screen is rested on our lap rather than at the correct eye level. All of this craning our necks and glancing downwards can cause shoulder, back and neck pain especially when unmoved for a long time period.
Again, during this period, many of us won’t have the correct set-up to work from home. Ergonomic chairs can be great at the office, but what happens when we have to work from our own house?
Sofas, armchairs and beds have become the new desk chairs. Whilst this may initially seem to be the comfier sitting position, our backs can suffer greatly without the correct support. Soft, squishy materials will not help with posture and can make you slouch in your seat.
Excessive time spent at your desk
Working from home is a whole new experience for the majority of us. We have gone from an office environment to makeshift desks at home.
In the office, it is easy to break up your time working with tea breaks, grabbing a coffee and socialising with co-workers.
Unfortunately, for some, a lot of internal guilt can come from working at home. How many breaks can I take? Can I nip out to the shops? Will they know if I go for a walk?
This guilt can keep us chained to our desks for large amounts of time and result in poor posture when we’re not stretching our legs, and constantly looking down at the screen.
How can I counteract this?
Use a desktop computer
If you have access to both a desktop and laptop, try using the desktop. When using a laptop, we often have it resting on our lap or a lower surface. This can cause backache and neck tension. It is important to have your screen as close to eye level as possible.
If you don’t have a desktop computer, try buying a mouse for your laptop and propping it up on your desk. Stay away from those pesky low-down coffee tables!
Take frequent breaks from the screen
It’s important, for both your mental and physical health, to move around from time to time and get your blood flowing. You should also give your eyes regular breaks from the screen. If you are at your desk, you can try looking far off into the distance and focusing on an object or point. This will help your muscles get some exercise and not be glued only a couple of inches away all the time.
You should also make sure to give yourself breaks to read, catch up with a family member, take a walk or have a cup of tea. Working solidly won’t do your posture any benefits, especially if you are working on a sofa or unsupportive chair. Sitting in the same spot can also decrease circulation.
Don’t work from your sofa or bed
Slouching down on an unsupportive chair or bed can put your body in an awkward position. This can lead to aches and pains after some time.
Try working from a desk or kitchen counter. These are typically higher up and come with more durable chairs. This change will do wonders for your posture.
Not to mention, working from your bed will play havoc with your motivation.
Keep your feet flat on the ground
The ideal stance to sit in a chair is to keep your legs bent at a 90 degree angle with your feet rooted flat on the ground.
Don’t cross your legs
To go along with the previous point, you should keep your feet on the ground. If you rest your feet on something higher up, such as a table or a beam of your desk, your posture will change dramatically and your spine will begin to slouch. This screams back ache.
You should also avoid crossing your legs as this is bad for the circulation in your legs and can leave you once again vulnerable to slouching.
Invest in an ergonomic chair
With the current climate, we have no idea how long we are going to stay working from home. Bad habits may work out temporarily but in the long term, you will begin to feel the negative effects.
It is worth investing in a comfortable, ergonomic chair. This will help correct your posture whilst working at a desk. There are different chairs for different physical needs so the world of comfort is your oyster.
Try some posture exercises
There are plenty of exercises online to help combat bad posture or to relieve back and neck ache. You can also try yoga to help you stretch and get the blood flowing.
Incorporating small exercises can help make your posture great again.