As we move into a new year and head back to work (albeit in a home office while C19 does its thing!), it’s a great time to look at all areas of our health including our health in our home office. The 2 most important facets to consider when working in a home based office environment are your physical and mental health. Oftentimes, we go onto autopilot and ignore the aches and pains and nagging thoughts because we've got stuff to do, right?
I'd love to dive a little deeper into how we can make our WFH environment more comfortable and therefore more efficient and productive!
Let's start with the physical...
If working in an office you might find that most companies have in house ergonomic policies to follow inline with their state (such as Worksafe QLD for those living in Queensland) but what about those of us that work remotely or from home?
It's extremely important to ensure that workstations, computers, desks, chairs are set up correctly to avoid injury or long term complications. I spoke with my fantastic Chiropractor, Dr Kitty Satiu from https://myspineinline.com.au/ who had some extremely helpful advice specifically for those working from home.
''The simple fact is, our bodies were not designed to sit stationary behind a desk from 9am - 5pm. With that in mind we can view our home work stations in a practical light. I like to approach it in 2-steps. 1- How we sit and 2 - How long we sit.
1. How We Sit
The chair is the number one piece of furniture that can make or break your set up. The dining room chair, or lounge 9/10 will not suffice. I recommend an office chair with the ability to alter height, back support and angle of the seating base. A swivel option is most ideal, once again the body is not designed to sit stationary so the option of being able to rotate means the spine has the opportunity for incidental movement. A sitting / standing desk is the ideal option, to keep the spine and pelvis moving during the work day period. Ideally the computer monitor/screen is directly in front of you and at the level of your eye where your neck is in a neutral relaxed position. This can be achieved by using phone books/ shoe boxes, and a secondary key board if need be.
An absolute no no is working in the living room sitting on the lounge or the floor at the coffee table, only poor habits and rounded shoulders will be created here.
2. How Long We Sit
The Pomodoro technique is a recommendation I’ve made to patients for the last 15 years in practice.
The Pomodoro is a time management system which encourages people to work with the time they have. A lot of research now supports the idea that learning and focus is at its optimal in 40 minute intervals separated by 5 minute breaks. There are many apps now available where you can practice working within a Pomodoro, failing that there is the old school, set a timer.
With so many distractions, working from the kitchen bench or dining room table, a Pomodoro is the perfect way to stay in flow, knowing that when the alarm goes off you have a 5 minute break to go for a walk, get a drink of water, or to visit the bathroom.
Working with the correct set up at home and in a Pomodoro fashion will ensure that your body is moving as optimally and frequently as is possible.''
Those of you residing in Brisbane, I encourage you to visit Dr Lina or Dr Kitty at myspineinline West End for a consultation or detailed advice on the above practices and how to make the best of your workstation. To make an appointment, call 07 3217 2769.
On my next blog, I will explore the practices and resources that can help our mental health when working from home. Especially those of us who are not used to these environments.