Posture problems are just some of the many challenges that arise from a work from home setup. Since moving our offices into our homes' comforts, the boundaries between home and office have been blurred. Bringing your work to your home also required adjusting our bodies to cope with this new change.
Suddenly, our homes had to function as workspaces. What used to be our bedside tables had to be converted into a work-proper desk. Dining table chairs might have been substituted as office chairs for the time being. These are not the best workspaces for us, and our bodies know it.
Back pains, stiff necks, and even migraines are just ways the body says something is wrong. Perhaps it was working eight hours a day hunched over your desk. Or maybe even a chair that doesn't offer support to your back.
Here are some common posture problems that may have come up from working from home. We have also listed down ways on how to improve them and the benefits of addressing these issues.
Common Posture Problems
1. Forward Head Posture
Spending too many hours hunched over your desk or table might realign your head, causing hyperextension of it from your body. When it comes to forward head posture, the ears, neck, and head are misaligned from the body's natural gravity line, causing neck pains and stiff necks.
Kyphosis, or hunchback, happens when the upper part of our spinal cord develops an exaggerated curve and ends in a rounded set of shoulders. This is a common posture problem present with workers who spend much of their days hunched over their workstations.
Also associated with the medical term lordosis, a swayback is when the spine develops an exaggerated curve between the lower and mid-spine. The most common type of this posture problem is lumbar lordosis, which exhibits a lower back curve. Sitting for too many hours may cause losing muscle strength around the back, glutes, and abdominal muscles, which are essential muscle groups that support the spine.
Tips on How to Improve Your Posture
Finding out if posture problems might have caused your symptoms is just the first step. There are some ways to improve your posture and immediately feel the positive effects of making these changes. Here are some tips on how to improve your posture:
1. Make Your Workspace Ergonomic
Your workspace should be the one to adapt to your body and not the other way around. If you are making do with ill-fitting desks or chairs, perhaps it is time to forgive your body the pains and delve deeper into workspace ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the process of fitting your environment or space into your body to optimize productivity. One of the simplest ways to incorporate ergonomics into your workspace is finding a chair and table that feels comfortable to your body.
Learn how to renovate your workspace and turn it into a fully functional ergonomic room. This article on creating an ergonomic workspace shows a step-by-step process in building one.
2. Optimize Your Desk
Are your wrists hurting from using your fancy mouse for hours on end? Is your desk too dim or too bright? Perhaps your neck is crimping from having to looking down at your monitor? These are just some simple posture problems that weigh down the body from an ill-fitting workspace.
Perhaps trying a vertical mouse would give more comfort to your wrists. An LED lamp that has a customizable brightness level might be better for your eyesight. A laptop stand is also gaining traction these days for changing the lives of freelancers and work-from-home professionals for the better.
These are just some simple ways to optimize your work desk. If you want to take your workstation to the next level, read this article on how to create a productive home office.
3. Pay Attention to Your Neck
A lot of posture problems come from hunching over your desks for too long. Professionals who work from home often complain of stiff necks after working eight hours or more. As such, the best solution is to create a comfortable workstation that fits the body perfectly.
Good thing we now have an innovative standing desk that allows mobility and flexibility as you work from home. Studies show that standing desks lessen chronic back pains and neck strains. With a standing desk, your body is given the freedom to move around without any adverse effect on productivity.
4. Take Breaks
Working from home is an atypical setup, especially if you are one of those who migrated their workspace to their homes. As such, the body pains you may be feeling are strains from the change. Feelings these pains are valid. And improving your workstation to make it more comfortable for you is just one of the many things that one could do to make working from home easier.
When your body is feeling strained and cooped up, feel free to take breaks. Relaxing every once in a while helps your body to breathe, and your mind releases tension. It also helps in becoming productive in the long run as you have a fresh and new perspective every time you allow yourself to breathe and relax.
One of the challenges of working from home is falling into a sedentary lifestyle. It was effortless to schedule a quick trip to the gym on the way to work. But now that your workplace is in the comforts of your home, working out has become a challenge, too.
But it shouldn't be too difficult. There are simple exercise routines you could incorporate into your work hours as your work from home. Getting ten minutes of exercise is better than none. Not only does working out address posture problems, but it also helps your body in fighting fatigue and burnout.
You could also make exercising easier with programmable standing desks. Allow yourself to stand every once in a while to incorporate mobility into your work hours. Remember: the body is not made to sit for hours on end.
An ergonomic workspace alleviates most of the symptoms and corrects bad habits that lead to bad posture while working from home. Taking enough breaks and exercise allows the body to release the stress and strain from working from home. It also helps the body develop muscle strength to support working long hours from home.
Posture problems are just some of the common challenges while working from home. Identifying these problems is just the first step in addressing them. And while they are uncomfortable, it doesn't mean they couldn't be corrected or improved. Ultimately, when you listen to your body's pains, you discover how to work more efficiently and develop productive routines to enrich your working from home setup.