Having the ability to work from home can provide more freedom and flexibility when it’s a choice. Currently, with many experiencing an unexpected and extended period of home working, it can be socially isolating and be a source of physical stress due to less than adequate temporary working areas.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me about neck and shoulder stiffness and what they can do to help. Here are some suggestions that I picked up when I was trained carry out desktop risk assessments, from my previous life working in an office, and from my BTEC Level 5 training in sports and remedial massage therapy.
- If possible, use a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse to the ones that come with your laptop. This will give you greater options to adjust your workstation to the correct height.
- The monitor should be directly in front of you, and not off to the side.
- The monitor should be at eye height, so that you don’t strain your neck looking up or down to view it.
- Use a keyboard with a wrist support. If yours doesn’t have one, then improvise with a small towel to provide cushioning.
- Check that the desk is at the correct height. If too high, adjust your chair accordingly. If it’s not adjustable, place a cushion under your bottom.
- Your hips should be 90 degrees to your torso. If your feet do not touch the floor, place a cushion under your feet.
- Once sitting in your chair, move between leaning forward and leaning backward to find neutral the position. Your back should be straight but not bolt up-right.
- Your neck should be long as if there is an invisible string coming out of the crown of your head raising you up. When your neck is long, your chin should be tucked in.
- Make sure that your room is well ventilated and has good lighting.
- Remember to take a break and move every hour. Rest your eyes from screens and phones, and rotate or shake your shoulders and arms to get the blood moving.
- The weather can be quite hot on some days, so ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking water every hour, and limit the amount of caffine intake.
I hope you find this helpful. 💜