The Benefits of Good Home Office Ergonomics Set-up
Over the last couple of years we have had a lot of requests for Ergonomic Workplace Assessments for the Home Office. With this in mind this article aims to give you an overview of injuries and issues related to sitting too much at work, especially if your work space is sub-optimal
The most common office injuries are as follows:
– Lower Back Pain (LBP)
– Neck Pain
– Shoulder Pain
– Tennis Elbow
– RSI at wrist/Tendinopathy
– Radicular Pain
– Eye Strain
Occupational Safety and Ergonomics
In a study by Bilge et al in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (2020), of the subjects studied, 69.6% reported upper back pain, 65.2% reported neck pain and 64.1% reported lower back pain during the previous 12 months. 60.5% of participants reported pain after they started work. These issues can have significant effects on quality of life with LBP (32.9%), back pain (28.2%) and neck pain (22.9%) restricting participants’ daily life. There was also a positive correlation between daily computer use and neck/upper back, and LBP, ie. the more you use a computer the more likely you are to have an issue.
Prolonged sitting at a desk
So how might prolonged sitting cause issues like these.
Firstly, sitting is obviously a sedentary activity. Too much time of sedentary activity will allow muscles to weaken, joints to stiffen, weight to increase. In other words, we decondition. To counteract this, our lifestyle outside work is crucially important. We need to counteract our sedentary work lives with active home lives. This can be anything. Go for a walk, lift weights, run, Pilates, gardening, anything. Just make sure that you are consistent and do something every day.
Gentle desk specific exercises
There are also some easy, gentle specific exercises which might help prevent and alleviate symptoms due to sitting too much. We have made a video of these exercises and you can watch them on this link.
Secondly, if our posture is suboptimal, it tends to shift the load onto our spine. For example, if we are reaching too far to the keyboard, our levers (arms) are further from our centre of gravity (core) meaning there is greater force through our neck and shoulders. This is where a complete Ergonomic assessment is important. Often, we need to be shown what good posture looks like and how to achieve and maintain it. We often need a change of equipment and furniture to achieve this such as a correct chair, monitors, keyboards, desks, mouse and laptop stands.
Our work environment
Our work environment is also very important. Here is a handy checklist to see if where you work at home is optimal or is it possible to change:
- Ensure that there is suitable light, heat and ventilation to be able to work comfortably. Is there glare?
- Keep the work space tidy.
- Keep the work area free from loud noise interruptions and distractions.
- Make sure the floor is clean, dry and free from slip, trip and fall hazards.
- Is there suitably located power sockets to avoid trailing cables and overloading of sockets.
- Ensure the availability of adequate broadband/phone.
- Have a suitable Work desk and adjustable chair.
- Have you suitable IT equipment, for example monitor, keyboard mouse, printer and headset if dealing with frequent phone calls.
ISCP Practical checklist
The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists has thoughtfully crafted a practical checklist designed to enhance your home workstation. By integrating these ergonomic suggestions into your daily routine, you’re not only proactively preventing workplace-related injuries, but also fostering a healthier, more active work environment.
PMC Physio Recommendation
If you are feeling the strain from your home office setup, don’t let the discomfort linger. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our expert physiotherapists. We specialise in treating home office-related injuries and follow our comprehensive Ergonomic Workplace Assessment guide to improve your day to day working and movement activity. Take the first step toward relief and a more comfortable workday. Your well-being is our priority.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997