Working from home happened so fast for so many of us and in many ways it’s been a game changer but even in the early days of lockdown I noticed my neck beginning to ache.
It’s about change of course, changing the way we communicate. A different projection of the voice, looking differently – for facial cues on Zoom or Teams meetings. Together these differences have resulted in greater tension in the muscles at the top of the neck, causing headache, neck and arm pain and of course lower back pain.
In Richmond we’ve also been seeing more patients coming into clinic with aching shoulders and upper backs. Often this is down to posture when working from home. We’ve all been blending home and office work, sometimes that’s meant moving the laptop from dining room to kitchen then up to the bedroom! Getting through the work successfully only to relax by checking in on social media, head down, scrolling.
Business travel has stopped and for many so has the commute; you may have saved travel time but lost time efficiency.
The great thing about laptops is that they’re so easy to move around but that’s also the problem – you can end up balancing your laptop while your mobile is tucked in against your shoulder and you’re propped up in bed or skewhiff on the sofa!
I keep hearing of people travelling into deserted central London headquarters so that they can get hold of their office chairs and bring them home. They can feel the need to achieve a more formal work place setting. Whilst not everyone may be able to do this and some may be having to manage working from home in a limited amount of space, if you can think through your home office and make it more formal, your back and neck will thank you.
Similarly it may be worthwhile thinking about your screen/life balance. Plan your working from home day so that you start and finish at your chosen time. Make a point of switching off screens when you’ve finished your work so that your head can clear.
Whatever you can do to improve your home workplace is worth the effort. Even if you are in a less than ideal home office, make a promise to yourself to have regular breaks; set a timer and every twenty minutes get up from your seat, stretch out, try running on the spot for say a minute, stretch again and then get back to it.
If you’d like advice on how best to set yourself up at home you can always give us a call and we can FaceTime or Zoom; the tech isn’t the problem by the way – just the way we use it!