Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, there are now millions of Americans who are working from home and finding themselves adjusting less-than-ideal work environments. Your makeshift work environment can influence your productivity, retention, morale and emotional well-being. Given many of us are experiencing this change simultaneously, Kuether Brain & Spine compiled the top tips and tricks to make a spine-healthy work from home environment.
- Check Your Posture: Set your back up for a success by checking your posture throughout the day. Proper sitting posture includes keeping your feet flat or resting them on either the floor or a footrest. You should avoid crossing knees or ankles and also maintain a small gap between the back of the knees and the chair. Position your knees at the same height or slightly lower than the hips and place ankles in front of the knee. Keep your shoulders relaxed and then keep forearms and knees parallel to the floor where possible. Always remember to reduce strain on your neck by looking straight ahead.
- Upgrade Your Desk: Up-level your desk. Working from home means you shouldn’t be working in bed or even on a couch. Your spine needs structure that is provided by an ergonomic desk and chair set-up. A few at-home hacks include putting pillow on your chair for more cushion, adding a rolled towel for extra lumbar support and stacking books to create an elevated foot rest.
- Elevate Your Laptop: Laptops are notorious for causing excess strain on your back, neck and eyes. To improve this, it is helpful to raise your laptop to eye level. This can be done by stacking magazines, books or shoeboxes. It can also be worth investing in an external keyboard and monitor to avoid positioning the body in straining postures while you’re working.
- Take Breaks and Move Your Body: Try to get up and walk around your home every 30 minutes. Your body is not meant to stay sedentary for prolonged periods of time. It is also helpful to reset after movement to maintain proper posture. A helpful hack is to stay hydrated. When you are properly hydrated, you will be reminded to get up and move every time you use the bathroom. You will also be reminded to wash your hands with soap and water for a full 20-seconds after using the restroom.
During this time of social distancing and quarantine, try to improve your professional life by setting yourself up for success through your environment.