In terms of allowing you extra time for sleep or dress code freedoms, working from home can be a great stress reliever - but if you’re not careful, it could put extra stress on your body.
In recent years, the focus on posture as a health issue in the workplace has increased dramatically, and yet, many office workers are still spending long hours in a seated position.
Whether you’re new to the workforce or you’ve been working in “sedentary” jobs for years, there are a number of simple fixes you can implement to protect your physical health.
Read on for five key tips on maintaining a strong posture from your home office.
Set up an ergonomic workstation
As much as many of us have benefitted from the WFH shift, there are a few undeniable benefits of working in an office - starting with the focus on ergonomics.
These days, most offices are equipped with comfortable, supportive chairs, spacious desks, and windows for natural light - and it’s not just in the interest of following rules. Workplace ergonomics also benefits employers in a major way through increased productivity.
If you’re setting up your home workstation for the first time, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s fairly simple; the basics come down to a quality desk, a supportive chair, and a computer that aligns with your eye level.
And in case you’re unsure whether your setup meets health standards, you won’t have to wait long for a conclusive answer.
Set a standing timer
Once you’re caught up in the details of your workday, it’s easy to lose track of time - specifically, the amount of time you’ve spent in a chair - and for those times, your favourite technology is here to help!
If you’re worried about forgetting to stand up and move around, get yourself a FitBit, an Apple Watch, or a free mobile app like Move. These devices will keep track of your sitting and standing time so that you don’t have to, and give you the gentle nudge you need to get out of your seat.
It’s worth noting that you might also need a standing desk in your home office to make this one work - a worthwhile investment if you’re expecting to work from home on a regular basis.
Learn how to reset your posture
Even if you start the day with the best intentions, it can be hard to escape that mid-afternoon slouch, and by the end of the day, you might feel your spine getting out of alignment as you fall back into a slump.
Don’t worry, it’s easy to get back into peak postural alignment - you just have to know how to feel into it.
When you need a reset, exercises like neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and hip flexor stretches can help. Couple them with five minutes out of your chair and you’ll be feeling almost as good as new in no time.
Get a lunchtime workout in
The thing about living a sedentary lifestyle (as many office workers do) is that it often leaves us feeling even more tired than we would if we were physically active - and that’s just one reason why exercise is so important.
Even if you can only budget 20 minutes out of your day to move your body, it’s important to make the best of it and do something that gets you out of your seat. You can even tailor your workout to the type of exercise you enjoy and what your body needs each day.
For example, those looking for an easy introduction to exercise might like walking and yoga, both of which are easy on the joints and great for improving your posture and strength. Once you feel stronger and more comfortable, you might prefer to try weight-lifting, bike-riding, or running.
Invest in therapy
Sometimes, by the time you realise that your sitting posture is causing health problems, you’re too far in to fix it with a quick routine adjustment. If you can relate, there’s no need to panic, because physiotherapists will attest to the fact that it’s never too late to reset.
In fact, there aren’t many aches and pains a qualified chiro can’t relieve. Whatever your symptoms are - back pain, headaches, neck pain, muscle cramps, or something else entirely - physiotherapy is one of the best ways to get back to good health. Plus, they can help you create the good postural habits you need to prevent future problems.
No matter what you do for work, maintaining good posture should always be a priority. Your health and quality of life will be all the better for it, not to mention the thousands of dollars you’ll save in chiropractic fees, so don’t wait too long to take a (literal) stand.