There are estimates that as many as 36 million Americans will have remote jobs by 2025. A majority of employers find that incorporating remote workers is easier now than it was a few years ago, while productivity continues to improve.
That is great news for those who find that working from home improves their quality of life. Flexible hours, no commuting time, and natural integration of home and professional lives appeal to many. If there’s a drawback to remote work, it’s the common ergonomic mistakes that home-based employees fall into.
We’re here for you at Herald Square Chiropractic and Sport when the strains of your home office start to cause pain. Chiropractic care can help you endure the rigors of laptop living, though we’d prefer you avoid postural pain altogether. Here are 9 common ergonomics mistakes made while working from home we want you to avoid.
Home tables and chairs aren’t always up to the task of long-hours support. Without lower back support, you may hunch forward — a position that’s also encouraged by head-down postures common with working in front of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Lack of lumbar support starts a domino effect of soft tissue collapse.
If your feet aren’t on the floor, you need elevated support so your thighs are close to parallel with the floor, with your hips slightly higher than the knees. Dangling legs add additional strain on your lumbar spine.
Good posture demands that your shoulders are back and balanced over your hips, but keyboarding tends to pull them inward. Instead of a straight line from shoulder to shoulder, you develop an inward bow that throws off your center of gravity.
Typing with your wrists bent is an invitation for carpal tunnel syndrome. The best posture for keyboarding is a 90-degree bend of the elbows to keep your wrists straight. Adjust your keyboard height to accomplish this.
Your monitor works best at eye level. Yes, that means your laptop is probably in the wrong place. Add another monitor or switch to a desktop. Make your workstation fit you, not vice versa.
Though you have the freedom to work anywhere in your home, it doesn’t mean you should. Keeping a good posture through eight hours of stressful deadline work is virtually impossible on the sofa.
Your eyes have muscles too, and they can be strained from overuse. Long hours of screen time without a break could lead to after-hours headaches. Take 20 seconds every 20 minutes to focus on something else at least 20 feet away. It’s the 20-20-20 rule, and it’s a great time to reset your posture too.
It’s normal to want to do quality work to maintain your work-from-home status. If that manifests by working through breaks or lunches, then any short-term gain is offset by long-term pain. Your body needs movement.
The Heart Foundation calls sitting the new smoking for the range of health risks attached to a sedentary lifestyle. Remote work often requires long stretches of time doing tasks in traditionally seated postures.
As with item #8 on this list, your body needs movement for more than just soft tissue health. Consider adding an adjustable or standing desk to mix things up throughout the day. If that’s not possible, add 30 minutes of walking daily to counter some of the effects of your chair time.
When your best efforts aren’t enough to sidestep musculoskeletal pain, call or click to make an appointment with the ergonomics specialists at Herald Square Chiropractic and Sport. We can help you through the pain, as well as suggest changes to assure continued pain-free working. Book a consultation today.