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Working from Home

July 14 | 2021
Posted by Erin Mills Physiotherapy

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I am working from home and need to find a physio near me!

 

Working from home

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that have drastically changed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is that many people have had to switch to working from home.  All workplaces that were able to switch to working remotely started transitioning their staff to their homes at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.  There are a lot of benefits to being able to work from home:

  • Employers can keep their staff safe and prevent the spread of the virus from offices.
  • Employees can continue working and not lose their earnings because of the pandemic.
  • Productivity is improved since there is no commuting time involved.

However, there are several downsides to working from home, including:

  • Lack of separation between work and home spaces.
  • Difficulty managing young children at home while working from home.
  • Increased expectations to be available and work longer hours.
  • Lack of social interaction with teammates and colleagues.

Why does working from home increase my chance of injury?

 

Specifically, from a physiotherapy perspective, there are 2 main downsides from working form home.

  • One of the most significant downsides from working from home is that employees are not moving around as much throughout their workday.
    • Since they are not commuting and not having to move around to see colleagues or have meetings in the office, they are more sedentary.

Remote virtual meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Another important downside of working from home is that most people do not have an ergonomic set up for their office space.
    • A lot of employees have had to adapt their available space for work and use the desks and chairs they have available to them.

Working on the couch

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The combination of being more sedentary and poor ergonomics has created a lot of injuries:
  • This change in the workplace environment has led to an increase in neck, shoulder, and back pain for many people.

What can be done to help reduce pain with working from home?

Although working from home has some challenges, there are some simple things that can be done to help prevent or alleviate discomfort.

Firstly, it is important to start with the workstation that you are using.

  • There are some key things to keep in mind when setting up your workstation to ensure that it is ergonomic.
  • You should try to ensure that you have a good desk and good office chair.
  • Since you will be spending a good amount of time working, you must make sure that it is set up in a way that is going to be comfortable.
  • Desk
    • Ideally there should be adequate space for you all your equipment, such as laptop or monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
    • If possible, a sit to stand desk would be optimal so that it allows you to switch between sitting and standing through your workday.
  • Chair
    • Your chair should be adjustable and have a good back support.
    • You want to be able to have your feet flat on the floor.
    • You also want the height to be at a level where your hips and knees are at 90 degrees.
    • A lumbar roll will also help with maintaining a more neutral posture with your low back.

Although these are all recommendations to make the best out of your workspace, it is not always possible.  There may be issues relating to space that does not allow for new furniture.  There may also not be any resources to purchase or change the equipment that is available.   In these cases, people must make do with what they have available even if it is not ergonomic.  This has certainly led to people working at their dining room table or living room couch.

As a result, having the perfect desk and chair setup is not always going to be possible.  But more importantly, having the perfect office setup  does not always ensure that you will be pain free if you sit at your desk all day.  You can have the most expensive ergonomic equipment but pain can still occur if you don’t break up your sitting routine.  Therefore, the most important thing that everyone can do to stay physically healthy and prevent any pain symptoms is to keep moving.  Adding regular breaks into your workday to interrupt the sedentary sitting position will help prevent stiffness from building up into your joints.  The key to staying pain free and flexible is to add a variety of movements into your day.

 

What is the best way to add movement into my busy work schedule?

Stretching at home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most people, it can be challenging to add something new into their routine.  This is especially true if you are already used to doing things a certain way and have your schedule fixed.  The easiest way to add movement into an already packed day is to do it in small increments.  These are some tips to help get you moving while working from home:

  • Add a reminder on your phone or computer to get up from sitting once every hour.
  • Use the free moments between meetings or projects to stand and get some movement in your day.
    • Grab a drink of water or just walk up and down the stairs a few times
    • Go for a quick walk around the block
    • Grab your yoga mat and do a few stretches or simple exercises
  • Block off some time during your work day and go for an intentional walk or use any equipment you may have at home such as a treadmill, bike, elliptical or weights

Once you get into a routine of doing some form of exercise for several weeks, it will become part of your regular routine.  Just as we have regular routines for our physical and dental hygiene and nutritional needs, we should also incorporate movement and exercise.

Where do I start if I am new to exercise?

If you are having trouble getting started, then seeing a Registered Physiotherapist will help you get on the right path.  A Registered Physiotherapist will be able to assess your physical ability.  They will also provide you with exercises to get you moving in a safe way.  Your physiotherapist will also be able to monitor your exercises and progress you according to your abilities.  This will give you a good starting off point for getting more active and living a healthy lifestyle.

Call PhysioNow today to book your appointment!

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