Although the UK government is beginning to unwind the social distancing measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still working at home. This can be very challenging for some of us, as it can be difficult to remain productive in a home environment.
There are also several health risks associated with working from home, particularly relating to the health of the spine. In fact, we have seen many clients at our Fareham chiropractor clinic in recent weeks complaining of back pain caused by working in a home office.
To help you avoid back pain that results in a rushed visit to our chiropractic clinic in Fareham, this guide will share some simple tips for working from home safely and productively.
How To Make Working From Home Work For You – Advice From Our Fareham Chiropractor
Keep Your Usual Morning Routine
Keeping the same routine that you had when working outside of the home will help you retain a productive mindset and make the most of each day. If you normally woke up at 6am when working outside of your home, continue doing so. Keep daily habits as well, including those relating to exercise, breakfast and personal hygiene. Even though these habits aren’t directly related to work, they prepare your mind for the day ahead.
Create a Productive Work Environment
Here’s how to create a workspace that is made for getting things done:
- Remove distractions
Get rid of anything distracting, including unfinished housework, televisions, radios and social media.
- Use a high-quality ergonomic chair
A correctly adjusted ergonomic chair will help you look after the health of your spine and avoid a trip to our chiropractors.
- Ensure your desk and computer are ergonomic
Have your desk at a comfortable height that is appropriate for your chair. Ideally, use an adjustable standing desk, so you can move between sitting and standing throughout the day. If you are using a computer, follow this guide to ensure it is set up ergonomically.
- Declutter your work environment
Remove any unnecessary objects from your work environment including photos, gadgets, unneeded documents and so on. This will provide a boost to your productivity.
- Add plenty of natural light
If possible, work in front of a large window that provides natural light. This will improve your mood and help you get more done. If natural light is not available use artificial light with a blue hue, as it promotes productivity.
Schedule in regular breaks
Although you may not notice it, your normal workday probably includes many small breaks from your work duties. This could include the time you spend talking to a colleague, answering a phone call, getting a coffee or sitting in a meeting.
When you work at home, many of these breaks won’t occur and you will be able to continue working for longer stretches without interruption. While this is great for productivity, it can be detrimental to the health of your spine, as you are more likely to spend long stretches of time in a seated position.
To protect your spine, schedule in a short break every 30 minutes. During this time, perform some stretches or a small amount of exercise. Yoga is also particularly useful as you can perform individual poses whenever you have a spare minute or two.
If you asked one of our chiropractors about the best way to protect the health of your spine, they’re answer would in most cases include “Exercise”. Regular exercise improves spinal health in several ways, including strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility, promoting intervertebral disc health and improving bone density.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of many gyms, you may need to look for new ways to exercise. Some options which bolster spinal health and can be done outdoors or at home include:
- Cycling (outdoor or stationary)
- Tai chi
- Body weight exercises
- Free weights
Our chiropractors at Homewood chiropractic clinic can advise you of the best forms of exercise for spinal health that are appropriate for your situation.
Set boundaries with friends and family
One of the benefits of working from home is that you get to see more of your friends and family members. Unfortunately, you will quickly realise that this blessing is actually a curse when it comes to productivity.
You may discover that your family members are constantly checking in to see what you are up to on an hourly basis. Friends with less-busy schedules may begin calling or texting throughout the day, further distracting you from your work.
To prevent these frequent contacts from destroying your productivity, you will need to set boundaries which inform the people in your life when you are contactable. You may also have to turn off your mobile phone, email, text messages, and Facebook messenger to focus on your work.