Working from home. Working hard or hardly working?

Published: 03 Apr 2020

Working from home.  Working hard or hardly working?

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is currently on the rise for many people who have desk based jobs. Unfortunately a poorly set up work space will find you uncomfortable when sitting for hours on end and this can impact on your ability to focus. The other issue is that while there is no travel time (woohoo) you are also less likely to go outside and stretch your legs, and generally move your body. This blog will focus on the ideal home set up and some key exercises to utilise throughout the day to stretch out those tight muscles.

How to set up your workstation at home

  • Have a chair with good back support and make sure it is angled at 90-110 degrees to support your lower back 
  • Ensure your work desk has adequate leg space so you can stretch your legs often. Desks or tables with a drawer directly in front of you, or lots of “stuff” underneath with make it hard for you to find a comfortable position
  • Use a riser for your laptop to ensure it is at an appropriate height, and add a keyboard and mouse if you can.
  • Use books or textbooks to raise the level of your monitor to adjust it to eye level
  • When sitting, think tall! Imagine you have a string on top of your head pulling you upright 
  • Make sure your elbows are above the desk at 90 degrees and your shoulders are relaxed 

Here is a picture of Ken and Tom from our Penrith team giving some advice while in the ideal set up.

If you would like to read more about how to set up your work environment, click on this link from the University of Western Australia.

Why is sitting all day bad?

Even with the modifications above, frequent breaks are still needed throughout the day. Sitting is a part of everyday life and many desk job workers find themselves sitting for at least 8 hours a day. However, not wanting to freak you out, sedentary behaviour and prolonged sitting are associated with an increased risk of developing:

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Research has found some ways to reverse the negative effects of prolonged sitting. They found that 1 hour of physical activity per day was able to reduce the risk of increased death compared to people who do not exercise. Suitable exercise includes brisk walking or cycling.

A young child riding a bicycle down the street

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This is a picture of our Penrith team going for a nice bike ride.
And here are the people who own this business going for a run 😉

How can I incorporate physical activity into my busy lifestyle?

The best way to incorporate regular activity into a busy lifestyle is to consciously break up periods of prolonged sitting. Every 30-60 minutes:

  • stand up and go for a small walk around the house or outside to get away from the computer – set an alarm or reminder!
  • Do some stretches or home exercises to take your eyes away from the screen.
  • Read your work while you stand and stretch. 
  • Do some wall squats or leg workouts while you do your work.

Here are some exercises that you can use to stretch out those muscles that become tight from sitting:

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Wall squats – try and hold for 30-60 seconds
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Chlild’s pose – feels great on your lower back and is a wonderful way to relieve stress.
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Chest or trapezius stretch .
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Hip flexor stretch – I can understand that you will be particularly impressed with my form in this shot.
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Hamstring stretch – I would think that you might be able to do this better than I am here.

If you are experiencing any neck, shoulder or back pain from sitting all day working at your desk and are unsure about what to do, feel free to get in touch. We are very happy to chat with you and help you work out what you need to do.

Our practices at Penrith, Jordan Springs and Caringbah are all open.