With COVID-19 seeing many of us relocate our workplace from office to home, there has been an increasing demand for information and resources relating to achieving good ergonomic posture. For most of us, our homes were not sufficiently equipped to facilitate up to 40-hours a week of desk duties, and in the flurry of upgrading internet plans, replacing laptops and peripheral computer equipment, it proved easy to overlook the importance of creating a stable base for your new home office. Tempting as it may be, perching on a stool at the kitchen counter while you reply to a few office emails over your morning coffee, or sitting cross-legged on the floor with your new favourite colleague (the family dog), are practices that could soon prove perilous if they were to become your regular daily workstation.
Common signs of poor posture
According to Health Professionals, poor posture is a frequent contributor to many health complications, lost productivity, and poorer mental health outcomes. Symptoms of poor posture commonly include rounded shoulders, bent knees, spinal dysfunction and joint degeneration. Back pain, hip pain, neck pain, headache and muscle fatigue are also commonly reported. In most cases, poor posture is a direct result of concentrating so hard on the task at hand that one is unable to pay attention to any feelings of physical discomfort – the body’s warning sign that your muscles, bones or joints have spent too long in an ergonomically inappropriate position.
Addressing home office posture problems
Home ergonomics best practice is to invest some time into objectively assessing your home workplace – Does it provide you with the ability to sit comfortably with your back upright and your knees at or below the level of your hips? Are your ankles in front of your knees, and your legs uncrossed? Are you comfortably able to read small text on your computer screen without hunching forward to squint? If not, consider embracing the wide range of posture correcting tools available to you such as stand-up desks, laptop raisers, chair wedges, cushions and footrests. Roster yourself frequent “activity breaks”, ensuring that you rise from your chair for a short stretch or walk every half hour.
If you feel like your home office ergonomics are causing you undue pain or discomfort, contact the team at Melville Wellness Centre to discuss how our chiropractic assessment and treatment may benefit you.