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The Physical Effects of Working from Home: Understanding the impact



Since Covid-19 and the rise of remote work, we, physios are seeing in the clinic a lot more younger patients, in their early to late 20's suffering from ongoing musculoskeletal pain such as lower back and neck pain.

For many, there has been a significant shift in the way people work. While there are numerous advantages to working from home, it's essential to recognize and address the potential physical effects it can have on individuals. This article explores some common physical impacts of working from home and offers practical tips for maintaining a healthy and comfortable work environment. 1. Sedentary Lifestyle: One of the primary physical effects of working from home is an increase in sedentary behavior. Without the need to commute or move around an office environment, individuals may find themselves sitting for extended periods. Prolonged sitting can lead to a range of health issues, including musculoskeletal pain, poor circulation, weight gain, and increased risk of chronic conditions. Tips: a) Establish a schedule for regular movement breaks, such as stretching or short walks.

b) leave the house every day for an activity and if you didn't plan one, go for a walk no matter how hot or cold it is.

c) Engage in regular strengthening exercise routines minimum once a week. Due to the lack of movement you are loosing muscle strength that was preserved before Covid by regular activity such as climbing stair in the train station or shopping around your office. 2. Poor Ergonomics: Many home workspace are not designed with optimal ergonomics in mind, which can contribute to physical discomfort and musculoskeletal problems. Improper desk and chair heights, inadequate lighting, and inadequate equipment can strain the neck, back, wrists, and eyes.

Tips:

a) Don't work with a laptop! Use a separate screen or a separate keyboard and mouse.

b) Set up a dedicated workspace with a supportive chair, proper desk height, and adequate lighting. c) Position the top of your screen at eye level to avoid strain on the neck. d) Make sure you have enough space under the desk to stretch your legs and that your feet are grounded on the floor. 3. Increased Eye Strain:

Working on screens for prolonged periods can lead to eye strain, dryness, and discomfort, commonly known as computer vision syndrome. The increased use of digital devices and inadequate lighting at home can exacerbate these issues. Tips: a) Ensure proper lighting in your workspace, with natural light preferred. b) Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds to rest your eyes. c) Adjust screen settings, such as brightness and font size, to reduce eye strain. 4. Impact on Sleep Patterns: The blurring of boundaries between work and personal life can disrupt sleep patterns. Working late hours, constant exposure to screens, and increased stress levels can lead to difficulty falling asleep or getting quality rest. Tips: a) Establish a consistent sleep routine with set bedtimes and wake-up times. b) Create a wind-down routine before bed, avoiding screens for at least an hour before sleep. c) Designate a separate workspace away from the bedroom to maintain work-life boundaries. Remember! While working from home offers flexibility and convenience, it is crucial to be aware of the potential physical effects it can have. By prioritizing movement, optimizing ergonomics, addressing eye strain, and maintaining healthy sleep patterns, you can mitigate the physical challenges associated with remote work.


Don't hesitate to contact us for further advise or help if you suffer from an overuse injury.




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