- Place your computer screen and keyboard at the right position
- Start your day with exercising to stay active throughout the day
- Choose a healthy diet when working from home
COVID-19 has changed the way India works with a vast majority of professionals working from home since the pandemic broke out. While work from home is not a novel concept and many international as well as domestic corporates have been practicing this culture for some time now, there is one major difference-while earlier it was a choice, now it is a necessity. Work from home allows for more flexibility, eliminates commuting time and allows for better care of one's self. While working from home has its own benefits, it also comes along with a set of challenges. Some of these challenges include orthopaedic conditions such as back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and joint pain among others. The lack of an ergonomic set-up, adequate physical exercise and incorrect posture add to the worsening of these conditions. Therefore, we need to consider all aspects of physical and mental health and harmony while working from home.
Tips to work efficiently in a work from home set-up:
1. Follow a very disciplined and strict routine daily- wake up on time, exercise, have meals at the same time, set working hours with adequate breaks in between
2. Do not let distractions at home interfere with work-doorbell, house help, delivery boys, other members in the family
3. Take care of your mental health, as it plays an important role in a work from home set-up; spend adequate time indulging in hobbies and 'me time'.
4. A work from home set-up requires more than just a schedule, device and work-it requires an ergonomically efficient workstation as well comprising the following elements:
- The workstation should be set up in an area with good lighting, away from other family members. This may be difficult with the ongoing online classes for school children, but it is also an opportunity to teach children to be more independent and give them space to use their respective workstations
- The desk and chair should be of a proper height. The laptop or desktop monitor should be at a height which prevents you from looking downwards while working because looking downwards or upwards for prolonged periods of time can cause neck strain
- Computer glasses is an essential accessory to prevent the glare and blue light of the screen from harming your eyes
- Try to use an external keyboard and mouse attached to the laptop
- Sit straight with the lower back supported and keep the forearms supported on the table or the arms of the chair. Typing or using the mouse with the forearms in the air creates stress on the neck and shoulders
- Take a break for a few minutes every hour. Get up from the chair, stop looking at the monitor and use your hands for some activity other than typing or scrolling. This will prevent back and neck pains, headaches and shoulder and arm pain
5. Repetitive small movements of the hand, wrist or elbow can lead to painful muscles and tendons. To prevent these, the following measures can be practiced:
- Place the mouse close to the keyboard and at the same height
- Use the whole arm and not just the wrist when using the mouse
- Type lightly and remove your hands from the keyboard when not typing to allow them to rest
A disciplined routine coupled with strong mental and physical well-being can make work from home an enjoyable experience. One must engage in regular exercise as part of a set routine to maintain physical fitness and prevent injuries. Work from home also allows for a good balance of work and leisure. Interacting with family members and friends can help one de-stress and maintain mental well-being.
(Dr. Rajgopal, Group Chairman Institute Of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Orthopaedics, Medanta)
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