With the current state of lockdown in the UK, many workers have been recommended to stay away from their offices, therefore concentrating on their day to day tasks by working from home. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, there had been an increasing trend in people working from home, with numbers over 4.2 million in 2015, making the number of home workers 13.7% of the population. It is likely that we will see an upward trend after lockdown of more employees working from home, with many becoming ‘flexi’ workers. That is, they work part time in the office and part time at home.
This may result in many benefits for employer and employee. This could lead to a reduction in expenses, additionally allowing a better lifestyle. There would be less travelling, reducing strain on the environment and the worker, hopefully resulting in a better quality of life.
Unfortunately, there is a downside, as we believe many workers may suffer from back and neck pain, considering they are not working in posture friendly environments. How often do we hear that people have been working from their sofas and their beds? These positions put considerable strain on the human body, for prolonged periods.
When you consider that 80% of people in work hold desk jobs, many of these workers are not taking enough regular exercise outside of their working hours, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Working on the sofa or lying in bed can put increased unwanted pressure on the spine, especially if it is an incorrect posture for prolonged periods. Take Bernard, for example.
This is Bernard Bones- Bernard for short. Bernard is currently manning the office at Shrewsbury Chiropractic Clinic. But look how he’s sitting? Appalling! He really needs to set an example. Perhaps he needs to read this blog or have a treatment when we reopen. Bernard today is not being sensible. DON’T be like Bernard !
All it takes is a few simple changes to their workstations and posture, and this will reduce the likelihood of developing back and neck issues. Here are a few tips from Shrewsbury Chiropractic Clinic for people working from home for a better back:
- Choose a specific area in your house for working.
- Always work at a table, sit on a chair and DON’T use the sofa or bed.
- Ensure the top of the screen is at eyebrow level.
- If you are on a laptop make sure you are not hunching in front of the screen.
- Invest in a computer stand or place sturdy books under your laptop, so you can adjust the screen level to match your eye line.
- Use a detachable keyboard and mouse if you’re able to. This will reduce strain on your back.
- Take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes and move about. Using an alarm in another room works well, because you then need to get up to switch it off.
- When making phone calls, why not get up and walk around as you talk?
- Regular stretching will help in between these work ‘shifts’.
Please take a look at this short video by the British Chiropractic Association showing a short exercise routine entitled ‘Straighten Up UK’.
These tips may help in working from home for a better back. Of course, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days, perhaps you should seek professional help. An undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term issues if left untreated. Currently, the clinic is shut during lockdown. Please keep an eye on our website and social media as hopefully we will reopen soon. We are currently shut to #stop the spread and #flatten the curve, on recommendation of the British Chiropractic Association. If this lockdown continues for a longer period, however, we may start to take new patients on again via our video consultation program, called Telehealth. So watch this space.