Have you experienced headaches, neck tightness, shoulder pain or tightness in between the shoulder blades when sitting at the desk for too long?
These are the most common presentations seen in desk-based occupations and can be very frustrating to deal with. Most workplaces have dedicated staff that assess your workstation, and make adjustments based on your individual circumstances, which helps reduce the risk of developing sore spots.
But what happens when you are working from home? Quite often we make do with the chairs, desks and computers we have with very little thought given to workstation set up!
Mistakes No 1 – The Wrong Chair
If you have the chance to bring your chair home from work, please do it! Chances are it has been set up correctly for you.
You may be using the same chair for your workstation that you use at the kitchen table. The height may not be adjustable, the backrest may be fixed and chances are it doesn’t swivel. Using a fixed chair like this increases the risk of neck and upper back pain.
Picture yourself in a low chair, having to shrug your shoulders and adopt a ‘chicken wing’ position just to reach up to the table and keyboard. It’s uncomfortable.
You may need to bring your chair home from work for the ideal set up, however, we understand this is not always practical. If you have to purchase a new chair, seeking appropriate advice beforehand can save you time and money, and a few sore spots as well.
Mistake No 2 – Using a Laptop
Moving around the house with a laptop is easy. They are portable and lightweight. The problem, of course, is not every room will have a great chair and desk waiting for you.
The other issue with laptops is the keyboard and screen are quite often attached to one another. This results in you looking down at the screen, adopting a forward head posture and rounded shoulders. Over time, this increases the risk of pain and tightness in these areas.
Have you ever sat up in bed using a laptop? Or maybe lay on your front on the floor? Both positions are loading up the neck and lower back compared to sitting on a great chair at a great desk.
Mistake No 3 – Messy Workstation
Home is for home things, so when you bring your work home, you are quite often setting up amongst a whole bunch of objects that are already present. This can result in a cluttered workstation, which you try your best to work around.
This is one of the most common issues we see when people work from home. Setting up the keyboard on an angle to the monitor so you have room for the mouse, or having to twist your trunk to reach the printer located at the very end of the desk are common issues.
Aim to clear your workstation area as best you can! Ideally replicate your office set up at home, with the keyboard, mouse and printer in roughly the same positions. We understand this is easier said than done, but it is better than aggravating your neck as you are constantly turned one way looking at the monitor.
Workstation ergonomics is complex at the best of times, and transferring these principles into the home is not easy as every workstation set up is designed for the individual. Keep in mind, every little adjustment you can make to reduce the risk of becoming sore adds up over a long day or long week.
Leading Edge physiotherapists can assess your home workstation set up remotely through homeoffice.physio, our telehealth service. You can also receive advice and a home program on how to deal with those sore spots!
For more information, or to make a booking, click here!!