Five Tips for Not Thrashing Your Body While Working From Home
Working from home certainly has its benefits, but it has its challenges as well. Below are some tips to help you work more efficiently with less aches and pains from the comfort of your home (or office). Keep in mind, the human body will adapt to its surroundings thus creating a new "normal" posture, and those adaptations often create short term aches. If those aches are ignored or incorrectly remedied they can grow into adhesions, imbalances then indefinite chronic dysfunction. Let's save you all that trouble, shall we?
1. The 60%/30%/10% rule - This one is simple. Aim to sit no more than 60% of your day, stand no less than 30% and walk no less than 10%. This will help the body from adapting to a seated posture, as well as keeping the blood flowing to extremities and joints more mobilized.
2. Separate work area from "living" area - Ideally you have a place where you can strictly work apart from where you "live". In cases where that is not feasible, then set up an office space in a shared location that is already specialized for something else. We're not advocating for a desk in the restroom, nor a computer on your clothes dryer. What we've done is turned our fitness room into a fitness/office combo. If you don't have the space, carve out an area in the living room or kitchen. Set up on the periphery so you aren't sucked into the daily happenings of others if you set up in the living room.
3. Optimize your workspace - Ideally you have a desk or station that gives you the ability to go from sitting to standing. (Remember, limit sitting!).
Regardless of your position
- Top of monitor at eye height
- Keyboard positioned so wrists are in a neutral position (not bent up/down nor sideways).
- Elbows opened at 90-110 degrees
- Hips and knees at 90+ degrees
- Feet flat upon the floor
4. Intentionally move targeted areas -
It is important to keep blood flowing, appropriate muscles engaged and joints mobiled throughout the day. We tell our clients to try and take at least 1-2 minute break every hour. During those two minutes, target an area (utilizing specific movements) that is more prone to seize up or cause you discomfort. For most, this will be the neck and lower back areas, for many others it will be the hips, ankles, shoulders, fingers and wrists.
5. Create a work schedule - When you work in your away-from-home office, you probably had a schedule. This should be no different - although your meetings are virtual, and your restroom and coffee breaks last longer, you still want a good level of normality.
Here is an example of one of my days:
5:30-545 - Stretch & ROM work
5:45-8:00 - Diet designs
8:00-9:00 - Video conversions
9:00-9:30 - Go on walk
9:30-11:00 - Social media
11:00-12:15 - Fitness (stabilizers/core)
12:15-1:00 - Lunch
1:00-3:00 - Program designs
3:00-5:00 - Family time
5:00-6:00 - Program designs
6:00-800 - Family time
8:00-9:00 - Tie up loose business ends
9:00 - Sign off aka time to relax
My schedule is fairly flexible, and oftentimes I'm not 100% focused on my work due to my five and two year old boys. Who can resist taking a few minutes here and there to give them some love while they're within arms reach?
Stay healthy, fit, pain free and productive. And take time to see the silver lining in being "stuck" at home.