With an unprecedented number of us now finding ourselves working from home overnight, our kitchen and dining tables, beds and sofas have never been so busy.
Not everyone was set up ready or had much experience as to how to make their workstation a healthier and more productive environment. Now we are settling into a new way of working for the foreseeable future, are you starting to feel the aches and pains of the dining chair, sofa etc?
How many of you have found yourself working at the dining table?
Did you know that a standard dining table height is between 76cm-79cm high and higher, but your office desk would have probably been between 72-74cm high. What is the impact of height difference when working? It may not seem like a big difference, but it is enough to cause you discomfort and pain. What implications does is have on your body?
If your desk is too high, most likely you’ll overwork your shoulder and arm muscles. In particular, when your shoulder muscles are contracted all day long which can result in upper back, neck, shoulder and arm discomfort, could also result in headaches – todays aches and pains could be tomorrows long term discomfort, so what can you do about it?
Speak to us or download our Guide to working in a healthier way at home. There are a number of possible solutions to reduce the long-term risks
Are you using a four-legged chair?
If you look at any guidelines for an office/task chair “The most common chair in the office today is the simple task chair, with rollers or wheels on the bottom, so firstly a four legged chair does not allow you to move in and out from the table easily, either position change will require you to lean forward to lift the chair to move it, which is fine on odd occasions but when happening regularly during a working day? Again, what are the implications on your body?
This will put pressure on your lower back and legs every time that you move in and out from the table. Specialist Back Clinic suggests “When standing up from a sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist” none of which is possible if you have pulled yourself into the table to work. You put pressure on your lower back every time you move the chair in and out from the table which can result in long term lower back discomfort, so what can you do about it?
The height of the chair and dining table is fine when you are eating a meal, but when you are working on your laptop or separate keyboard are you at the right height?
You will probably find that your wrists are higher than elbows which means that you are putting a stain on your wrists, shoulders and neck which will then lead to a stain on your back over time. You will be in a hunched position over your laptop.
Do you like the idea of working from your sofa or your bed?
Many of us have sat in the office and dreamed of being able to work from our bed or sofa, but what is the impact of working from our laptops lying down? Either option is an absolute NO, laying on the bed with your laptop on your legs or to the side will result in head tilting forwards and twisting of the upper back and neck, sitting on the sofa with the laptop on your lap, on the arm of the sofa or on a coffee table in front of you – all will result in your head tilting forwards causing stress/strain in the upper back and neck, arms of the sofa will result in you twisting your upper back and neck, laptop on the coffee table will result in you leaning forward and extending your arms – None of them offer a sensible solution if you are planning on working for any length of time and all of them offer stress/strain on various parts of the body.
Speak to us – there will be things you can do to make a four-legged chair more comfortable but also consider the options, as longer term a four-legged chair is not a healthy solution for all day working!
Are you working on a laptop?
Many of us may have used laptops in the past but may find that we are now using them all day, if you are using your laptop without any accessories, you will be hunched over the keyboard, the screen will be too low and too close, your head will be tilting forwards so you will be running the risk of discomfort in the upper back, neck, shoulders, wrists etc and this risk can be easily reduced with very little cost.
Have you bought a cheap solution as a quick fix?
Many of us have had no option but to utilise existing furniture or we have purchased a quick fix solution, within a week we have already spoken to some people who are questioning their purchases, desk that are the wrong height, chairs that do not offer any support and many that are now working on a Laptop all day, be aware that there will be thing s that you can do to improve the overall working set up – Our Advice is free.
Need something quickly?
We still have a number of manufacturers that are delivering. Speak to us about what you are looking for and we will see what we can do to help you.
Please remember that if this current situation continues for any length of time then the minor discomfort which you would have been able to address with a visit to a Physio, Osteopath or Chiropractor is not an option. They are all closed, so your minor discomfort WILL continue to get worse as every day you sit at the same set up and work.
Speak to us about our Free email workstation assessments. We can give you advice and guidance on how to change things instantly and with no cost. Why would you not take advantage of that! We really are here to help you at a time when we are all struggling with this new life.