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Dining Table Ergonomics

Dining room tables around the globe have fast become the new work office in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home; once considered a treat, is quickly becoming the new norm for many. This unexpected shift has turned many dining tables into the new desk/ classroom, while many are choosing to slump on the couch or taking over the spare bed as the newly appointed workstation. Whatever the scenario, here are a few things to consider to help maintain your sanity and to keep the aches and pains at bay!

Keeping Routines

The boundaries can easily become blurred when working from home, which can make it difficult to switch off at the end of the day. Keeping a sense of routine and creating distinction between work and home is important.

Keep your alarm set to your usual time, brush your teeth, have breakfast. These familiar routines can help you start each day fresh and focus on the tasks at hand. Allocating a designated workspace, even if that means packing up at the end of the day, can help to define the boundary between work and personal life. Choose a space with natural light and fresh air to improve your focus, productivity and satisfaction when working from home.

Perfect Posture?

When we hear the term ergonomics, most of us tend to shuffle in our seat and sit up a little taller. But we all know how hard it is to maintain the ‘perfect posture’ for 10 minutes let alone a whole day.

If you find your new home office set up is literally a pain in the neck? Here are a few tips from WorkSafe Australia to adjust your home setup.

  1. Find a supportive chair with a comfortable seat. One of the most noticeable differences between a dining chair and office chair is the lack of lower back support. A small cushion or rolled up towel can provide some added support for the lower back.

  2. Adjust your screen so it is at eye level. This ensures there is no need to hitch the shoulders or strain the neck to see the screen. If using a laptop, propping it up with an old phone book (do people still have these?) or a ream of paper. Using an external keyboard and mouse can also be useful and such an easy fix.

  3. If you’ve gotten this far and have found your legs dangling off the floor, place another one of those phone books you have lying around so your feet can sit flat on the ground.

That being said, how long you can tolerate any one position varies from person to person. It may seem a little strange to think such an innocuous position like ‘sitting’ can cause pain. Think back to primary school… How did you sit on your school chair? There are 101 ways our 7 year old selves would wiggle and adjust to get comfortable on our school chairs. Your body is adaptive and capable of many positions. However, the only ‘bad posture’ is one you are in ALL the time. Which brings me to my next point…

Taking Breaks

It can be challenging to keep moving and get in our daily step count while trying to take a crash course in IT as we shift to zoom calls with your colleagues and homeschooling the kids. Then once we have done all the things we have to do, we are exhausted so we crash on the couch and sit some more during the next episode (or 3) of Tiger King.

We are all experiencing a huge shift in our usual set ups and routines. You’ve probably lost your morning walk to the bus stop along with your walking/talking coffee meetings and the rush from one meeting to another. Without these incidental prompts to move (both physically and mentally) you may need to set little reminders to take regular breaks, particularly as working from home also means we can end up working longer days as the hours blur into one another.

Take any excuse to stand up and move around. Regularly fill up your glass of water, take a short break to walk around the block, all phone calls should be taken in standing and make you lunch break active! Get the endorphins pumping and avoid that 3pm slump by switching on to The Studio Online for a lunchtime boxing session ;)

In addition, here are some stretches you can do to keep yourself limber throughout the day:

Each individual's body is unique and every work setup is different therefore once size certainly does not fit all. Here at The Studio we are running virtual ergonomic assessments which allow us visual access into your ‘home office’, providing the best possible view to assess your environment and help correct any faults we come across. Along with ergonomic advice we will also provide guidance as to specific exercises you should be performing daily to avoid or relieve existing aches and pains. Get in contact with us today!

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