By Megan Kelly
One of the most common complaints we hear from people is that they have a sore neck, back, shoulders or arms from sitting at their desk all day. This is much more common now due to Covid-19 causing people to work from home, with very little notice to correctly set up their workstation.
A poorly set-up workstation can include any of the following:
- A faulty chair or a chair that you are unsure how to adjust
- A desk too small or cramped for the job
- Poor layout of equipment. This can include things such as the screens not being centred, important documents being below eye level, the mouse being out of reach etc
- Personal psychosocial factors such as having a boss or manager sitting behind you which feels like they are standing over you constantly or a workload that is far too high
- The desk set up with your back to the door so people keep interrupting you from behind, causing you to twist in your seat often.
You may also exhibit poor postural habits. These can be any of the following:
- Neck forward in a ‘turkey’posture
- Stooping over at the shoulders due to being tall
- Low back slumped in the seat in a ‘sloth’posture
- Not having your feet firmly on the floor or a foot rest
- Staying stationary for too long
The BEST posture is your NEXT posture.
We repeat these words often to our patients. There is no perfectly good posture for you. The best thing you can do to alleviate postural related pain is to change position, get up often, do some regular stretches or take a walk around the office (or to the letterbox/fridge if you’re working from home) and change your working position on return. If you can aim to change your working posture every 30-60 minutes your body will love you for it!
Most of these issues can be corrected with a quick ergonomic desk assessment. Once your desk is better set up and arranged, try the following simple tips:
SIMPLE TIP NUMBER 1: Set a reminder on your computer or phone that beeps at you on a regular interval, telling you to change position or stretch. Its amazing how you can get lost in your work and lose track of time very quickly.
SIMPLE TIP NUMBER 2: If your back is to the door, try putting a make-up mirror on your desk to the side of your screens. This will help you to see who is behind you without having to twist in your chair constantly.
Remember you can always talk to your physiotherapist about the best way to have your workstation set up, so that it works for you.