Covid-19 has brought a range of changes to our daily lives, and many of us are getting used to working from home. The first day or so of this seemed ideal – rise a little later and work on the laptop from your pajamas on the couch. In reality, these changes may have an effect on our physical well-being.
Working from home infrastructure
Many of us are working from couches, kitchen tables or small desks. Correct sitting posture while working at a desk is vital to avoid back and neck pain. Laptops, despite their name, are not best placed on our laps. Place your computer on a secure surface at a height that ensures you are looking straight at the screen. In addition, your forearms should be supported on the desk and not be reaching for the keyboard. Your chair should have some support at the lower back and be at a height that allows your eyes to be level with the monitor and your feet to touch the ground – or a step under your feet for those of us a little shorter! The position of your workspace is important; the corner of a room with limited light and fresh air will hasten the onset of mental fatigue, reducing your productivity and creativity. We are available to advise you on your workspace via our tele-health platform.
Sleep and breaks
Working in this environment may lead to unusual working hours. You may be tempted to start later in the morning and finish later in the evening. This often leads to two problems – poor sleep habits and lack of breaks during the day. Maintaining (or improving) your sleep pattern is important during this period. It is recommended that we go to bed and get up at the same time every day. During our work day, breaks often are missed when working from home. You will miss the conversations with colleagues or even the lunchtime walk. Take regular breaks during your day and incorporate a telephone call to someone to avoid isolation and perhaps use this time to get some exercise to invigorate you for the remainder of the day.
Movement while working from home can be very variable. Some people will use the time to get an extra walk in and subscribe to online workouts while others will go from sitting at a work station to sitting in front of Netflix. Moderation is key in all cases. For those who are more sedentary, standing and pacing while on the phone keeps the blood flowing to legs and gets a few steps in. A walk in the morning to mentally plan your day is an ideal start, especially with this improved weather. Those who are filling every gap in their day with exercise should ensure it is something that they are familiar with or are easing in gently if it is newer. Increased intensity workouts should be interspersed with stretches or yoga. As always, we are available to discuss a suitable exercise regime for you, or to look at any niggles you may have picked up over this time.