While Australians are trying to do their bit to stay safe and protect the vulnerable in the community, our current situation may involve adapting to a new normal and working from home. Whether you are used to working in an office or classroom, taking that step to setup your home office can be a bit of an adjustment both physically and mentally.
It is extremely important to remember to put your health first and try to keep your life and daily habits as normal, healthy and productive as possible. As part of our ‘Working from Home’ campaign, we want to educate Australians about maintaining their spinal health and overall wellbeing through creating spaces and implementing healthy habits you can start using today.
If you are one of the lucky Australians who are able to continue to work or study from home, follow our simple tips to help make working from home, work for you.
It is important to make sure your workspace contributes to a healthy spine, posture and overall wellbeing.
If you have a separate study in your home then look no further, but if that is not possible then the kitchen table is a great alternative. No matter if you are working from a spare room or a dining room, the space should support your posture and spine.
Get the ergonomics right in your workspace by bringing an ergonomic/supportive chair to the table and sitting with your feet either flat on the floor or supported by a footrest. Arms should be relaxed by your side (wrist straight when using mouse and elbows at 90-110 degrees when typing), with your posture relaxed and tall.
If there is an opportunity to be at a standing desk, even better, as this will be helpful for most people. If standing, maintain an upright relaxed posture. To help prevent hitching the hip to one side, place a footrest underneath the desk and alternate each foot resting on it.
Your eyes should be looking straight ahead at your screen and if you are working off a laptop, you can do this by having a separate mouse and keyboard and elevating your screen to help keep your posture straight.
When working or studying from home, it can be easy to get distracted or become unfocused. Much like you would have a daily routine at work, try and keep a routine at home, by waking up at a consistent time, eating meals regularly, designating exercise time and sticking to regular working hours.
It might be a good idea if there are other people in your home to set dedicated ‘do not disturb’ times so you can solely commit to tasks and continue to be productive from home.
Whether it was walking to the nearest coffee shop, or going to the bathroom, you were most likely moving and taking frequent breaks in the office. Sitting for long periods of time can be harmful to your spinal health, so while working from home make a conscience effort to take breaks by scheduling them throughout your day.
Every 30 minutes or so, get up from your work area and have a little walk around, make a hot drink or even to do star jumps, just keep your body moving constantly.
The Straighten Up app is also a great tool to get you moving during long periods at home. The app features a three-minute stretching program designed to help improve your spinal health, posture and overall wellbeing. It also lets you set reminders about taking breaks, correcting your posture and staying hydrated.
Although working from home can feel a little isolating, friends and colleagues are usually just a phone call away. Stay connected by having virtual video meetings or even just checking in with colleagues and having a casual chat. Talking to people who are also working from home can help you feel like you are not alone in this.
Chances are you are looking at a screen for most of the day, so use the time at the end of your work day to have a little technology detox by either cooking a meal, reading a book or starting a new hobby.
If you can, why not go for a walk using the Just Start Walking app. The app tracks and maps your walks and lets you set daily reminders about going for a walk, so you can remember to keep active and head out for some much-needed fresh air.
Find a Chiropractor
Chiropractors can offer you advice and assistance on how to care for your spinal health while working from home. To find your nearest ACA chiropractor visit findachiro.org.au.