Working from Home Ergonomics is the recent necessity observed during the lockdown, in employees who operate from home. Physiotherapists assess, plan, and implement rehabilitative measures to restore the normal human function. History of Physiotherapy has evolved for 100 years and still researches going on to find new treatment methods. Work ergonomics focuses on work performance based on the worker’s safety and productivity. Since the World is almost on standstill due to COVID 19, the majority of the companies have opted for Teleworking (Work from home). Let’s discuss this concept in brief and discuss tips and techniques to ensure a safe and efficient work from home environment.

Work from home (Teleworking) has been going on for years but due to unavoidable situations, the office workers are almost at home for 5 months. This is not only taking a toll on our physical wellbeing but also affects mentally.

 

Common Mistakes Performed In Work From Home Scenario

  1. Improper Posture while working. Strain on the Neck & Shoulders.
  2. Screen height differences, raising shoulders while typing.
  3. Repetitive mouse clicks and touchpad.
  4. Erratic working hours leading to Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.
  5. Brightness level disturbances of the laptop and phone screens

Effects Of Social Isolation On Mental Health

Mental Health along with Physical health is equally important. Due to isolation, overlapping responsibilities amplified psychosocial risks associated with unstructured working times. Telework has even provoked anxiety linked to the pandemic and behavioral issues especially those associated with addictions. We will discuss a few important and life-saving tips further.

Long Hours Of Sitting – Invitation To Various Diseases

 Sitting for more than 4-5 hours is an Absolute Contraindication and one of the major causes of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

Studies have shown that the adoption of home and social isolation due to COVID has lead to a significant decline in physical activity all over the world resulting in a reduction of the moderate to vigorous physical activity to sedentary behavior. Even slight inactivity of 1-4 weeks can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Hence introducing a home-based exercise program will significantly improve our overall health system, thereby reducing the risk of injuries.

 

Musculoskeletal Conditions In Work From Home Scenario

  1. Middle or Lower Back pain
  2. Neck Pain
  3. Elbow and Wrist Pain
  4. Knee Pain

These all risk factors and common disorders together are stated as Cumulative Trauma Disorder

Cumulative – Occurring gradually over weeks, months or years

Trauma- Bodily Injury to Nerves, Tissues, Tendon or Joints

Disorders – Physical Ailments or Abnormal Condition

 

10 Tips and Techniques for a safe and efficient Work from Home Environment 

Modifications for Working from Home Ergonomics

  1. Head should be at level, facing forward in line with the torso. Chin line should be in line with your chest.
  2. Keeping your entire back supported on the chair, if possible place a pillow. I always call it as “BBC”- Bums back to chair.
  3. Knees should be 90 degrees parallel to the seat of the chair. It should not be too low or high. Thighs should be parallel to the floor. Place a footrest if it’s too low.
  4. Make sure that your elbows and wrist are completely supported and place at 90 degrees to the elbow as shown in the picture.
  5. If sitting on the floor, make sure your back is completely supported and place your laptop on the study table with elbows supported. If not available then, place a laptop on a pillow. Never place the laptop on your lap.
  6. Feet should be parallel to the floor
  7. Take breaks every 40 mins and quick strolls in the house while talking on call.
  8. No sitting at 1 place for more than 40-50 mins.
  9. Monitor/Laptop screen should be 16-29 inches away from your eyes & the monitor’s top line should be in line with your eyes.
  10. Stretches to be performed every 4-6 hours.

Read more about: Improving Performance in the Workplace with Nutra-Ergonomics

 

7 Hacks to Working from Home Ergonomics Effectively 

  1. Wake up with a Positive mindset making sure you give Gratitude to God. Try not to touch your phone whenever you get up.
  2. Get sleep of at least 6-8 hours regularly. Meditate for a couple of minutes; use guided meditation audios available on YouTube/Spotify/Wynk Music.
  3. Keeping active by any physical activity e.g. Stair climbing, Body Weight Exercises, and Yoga.
  4. Avoid any distractions for a few hours. Keeping small targets daily e.g. not to touch phone for the next 2- 4 hours, no talking to anyone for a few hours. This helps us to stay centered and balanced and improve our listening capacity.
  5. Avoid Multitasking, this can lead to restlessness. Hence perform 1 task at a time. This improves our focus in the work.
  6. Most importantly, spend time with yourself. Spending time with ourselves helps us to be more patient, block any unnecessary thoughts by challenging our minds.
  7. Try to maintain gratitude and a personal diary. Writing helps to declutter our mind and improves concentration and clarifies our thought process.

Epilogue

One has to always be grateful for whatever you possess. Lockdown could be used as an opportunity to help ourselves and revive ourselves towards a healthier as well as peaceful life. Every organization should emphasis on the ergonomic statures of every employee while they remotely operate. Feel free to conduct Ergonomic workshops to share some hacks on improving one’s postures as well as reducing muscle strains. Collaborate with Inspirit to Fix on a Personalized Module for your Organization.

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AuthorExperienced Clinical Physiotherapist with a demonstrated history of working in the Hospital & Health Care Industry
Dr. Priyanka Palkar

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2 Comments

  1. Very helpful and informative

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  2. Very insightful.

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