News / Working from Home: Tips for desk workers

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Lockdown can be a tricky time for staying healthy and fit, due to the impacts on our daily routine, work schedule and ability to exercise. Last year, we found that a lot of our clients ended up with neck and back pain: In some cases this had increased to the point where it was causing headaches, or symptoms such as pain, numbness or pins and needles into their arms and hands!

Rather than going down this path, I would recommend applying the following action points to help look after your body while working from home:

  1. Get up and take a break every 30 mins! Dempsey et al (2016) found that 3 minutes of walking or simple body weight resistance exercise every 30 minutes  (at a light to moderate intensity) may significantly reduce the metabolic factors directly related to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  2. Check your desk setup: Your eyes should be in line with top of the monitor, elbows at desk height, with your feet on the floor and your lower back supported by the backrest. You may need to make some adjustments to make this work.
  3. If you can’t adjust your desk setup to match your body, you may need new equipment. Monitor stands or foot rests are quick and affordable ways to maintain your posture, and ensure that you are comfortable throughout the day. If you work on a laptop, you could use an external monitor to make viewing easier, or place it on a stand and use a wireless keyboard and mouse.
  4. Talk to your Physio or Exercise Physiologist about what stretches or exercises to do throughout your day, to prevent your symptoms from progressing. Please note that we are also running telehealth sessions at the moment (along with face to face), and can provide you with personalised advice on how to alleviate your symptoms.

Written by Tim Nesbitt-Hawes, Physiotherapist