In the present scenario, working from home is more common for a large chunk of the population. While working from home, people are very careless about their seating posture and ergonomics resulting into aches and discomforts of the back and neck, which they have never experienced prior at their workplace. To correct this poor posture at the workstation, numerous companies are adhering to the ANSI-HFS standard that gives specific guidelines on the design and the installation of workstations for computers that can be able to accommodate a range of users. But, your home configuration may not be able to accommodate these guidelines, resulting into neck and back ailments.
In most homes there are people who don’t have enough space to fit today’s ergonomic office furniture or aren’t investing in it. If you are working from home, you are most likely sitting on a dining table or a sofa or a bed or a bean bag. Whatever the workstation you are at, most likely you’re not sitting in a good posture. Here are some suggestions to help prevent neck and back discomfort while working at home:
Move once per hour
Try to move at least once in an hour, whether it’s drinking a glass of water or performing a 5 minute workout near your workplace. Being in a solitary position for long periods of time could cause back and neck stiffness. Therefore, it is essential to let your body move at least once in an hour.
Make sure you are in a good neutral posture
- Maintain erect position of back & neck with shoulders relaxed
- Position equipment & work directly in front of and close to your major tasks
- Keep upper arms close to the body, elbows 90-100 degrees
- Keep feet flat on floor, upper body weight resting on “sits bones”. If you have trouble keeping your feet on the floor, try a foot rest.
- Wrists as neutral as possible; safe zone for wrist movement is 15 degrees in all directions
- Avoid bending neck forward for prolonged period of time
- Avoid static positions for prolonged time; muscles fatigue.
- Lower back should fit snuggly against the backrest of your chair. If it doesn’t, use a small pillow or rolled-up towel for support.
Slouching and sitting for long periods of time could be contributing to back discomfort. Sometimes, we don’t even realize the moment we’re slouching forward when we sit on our chairs. The benefits that sitting straight includes:
- Maintaining the bones and joints in alignment
- Assisting ligaments and muscles
- Breathe more properly
- More energy levels
- Reduces stress on neck and shoulders.
Check your computer's screen using straight neck
If you’re sitting on the kitchen’s table on a stool, you’re probably gazing downwards at your laptop. This can lead to extremely stiff necks and neck pain. Put your computer or laptop on the top of a couple of books or on a tray in order to elevate it into a comfortable position for viewing in front of you. Monitor should be directly in front of your body and the keyboard. It should not be off to the side. When you look straight ahead, you should be looking at the top of the monitor.
Limit the amount of time you spend on your couch or on your bed
Work from home can be as simple as wearing your pyjamas throughout the morning while working at your computer on a comfortable mattress. While this is a great position and relaxing however, a bed is more dangerous than sitting in a chair. To be able to see your laptop in this position, you’ll need to sit up, slump on your stomach or lie on your back at an angle. All of these could result in back and neck pain.
Find the perfect workspace to boost productivity
A dedicated and comfy space in your home to work is a great way to increase productivity. You might also wish to create a space which is free of distractions and provides access to all equipment needed for productivity.
Relax in a comfortable chair
The majority of people who are at home working are likely sitting at their dining room table. If that is the case, you can grab some pillows to provide extra padding. Roll up a towel to put close to the lower back area for back support. Make sure that your feet are properly supported to alleviate lower back discomfort. If your feet do not touch the floor, try an ottoman or a stack of books to support your feet.