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It looks like remote work is here to stay! By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely. According to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report” released in late 2020, this is an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. And for most of us who are fortunate enough to have this flexibility, this is welcome news. 

However, there are perils associated with working from home, mainly the impact it can have on your overall health and musculoskeletal system. 

Consider the following from a September 2021 article in the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, based on an online survey of office workers who switched to remote work during the pandemic:

·       Outside activities were significantly decreased

·       Sedentary and indoor activities were significantly increased 

The good news is, there are ways to minimize the negative effects of remote work. Read on for some easy tips that can make a big difference. 

Improve your workplace setup

When you chose the furniture for your home, you were probably thinking about its appearance and comfort, not the features that would allow you to work efficiently and optimally for your health. The result?  Ergonomic conditions are crucial to your musculoskeletal system. 

Here are seven ways to improve your workstation: 

  1. If the height of your chair does not allow your thighs to be parallel with the floor, consider purchasing an ergonomically correct, fully adjustable office chair.  
  2. If you are unable to rest your feet on the floor when seated, lower your chair’s height or use a footrest.
  3. If you feel pressure from the chair seat on the back of your knees when you are sitting, adjust the seat pan and add back support. 
  4.  Don’t work on your couch, bed, or any other unsupported chair. This can lead to slouching, resulting in aches and pains. 
  5.  Avoid crossing your legs, as it is bad for your circulation.
  6. Make sure your monitor is positioned directly in front of you and at least an arms-length away. Straining to see a computer screen that is too far away, too high, or too low can compromise your posture. 
  7.  When sitting, keep your back as straight as possible and lengthen your neck. 

Get up and move! 

No matter how ergonomically correct your workstation is, if you don’t get up and move, you’re compromising your health. Being mindful of this risk is the best way to combat it. Here are some tips to help you get moving more frequently:

  • Set reminders to check your posture and move around for at least a minute or two every hour. This will keep your blood flowing and give your eyes a break from your monitor. 
  • Do exercises that counter your tendency to round your shoulders from sitting at a desk for prolonged periods, such as chest openers/backbends.
  • Work on strengthening your glute muscles when working out, either at home or at a gym, as they tend to become sore and tight from sitting too long.
  • Counter tight hips with yoga poses such as Pigeon Pose, or try a simple kneeling hip flexor stretch. 

Whether you’re experiencing musculoskeletal pain from remote work, an injury, or any other reason, our physical rehabilitation specialists are ready to provide one-on-one treatment for faster healing. Our newly expanded and renovated facility is equipped with the latest technological advances such as a spinal decompression unit, a cold laser, electric stimulation, and ultrasound capabilities. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!