020 8520 5268 | Ashlins Natural Health, 181 Hoe Street, E17 3AP sarah@saraholiverosteopathy.com

Are you working from home due to coronavirus? You might have noticed stiffness and discomfort across your neck, shoulders and upper back. This is probably down to spending long periods at a poorly set up work station.

There are two things you need to do to feel better. Firstly, take frequent breaks to get up and move around. Secondly, improve your desk set up using the following easy steps.

  1. Place your laptop on a table. Your dining table or a desk is ideal. Don’t work in bed, on your settee or on a low coffee table. That’s ok for brief periods but will prove very uncomfortable after a while.
  2. Use a mouse. Wired or Bluetooth, it doesn’t matter. This will help keep your ‘mouse arm’ in a more relaxed position compared with using the trackpad.
  3. Use a peripheral keyboard. Again, it can be wired or wireless. This also helps your arms rest in front of you and allows us to complete step 4.
  4. Raise your laptop up on a box or stack of books. I’ve used an archive box full of old receipts in these pictures. Look around and see what you can find at home. Your screen should be eye level, but any extra height would be helpful.

    You want to look straight ahead to see your screen. If you have to look down at your screen you will end up with very tired muscles at the back of your neck and across the top of your shoulder.
  5. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy your new, comfortable desk. Well done!
  6. Bonus tips:
    Try to push your chair under your desk so your tummy is close to the desk’s edge.

    Position your desk so your window or light source is either behind your screen or to your side. Light shining from behind you onto your screen make sit hard to see and can strain your eyes.

    Keep your mouse & keyboard within easy reach; your elbows should remain bent and close to your sides.

    It’s ok to fidget, shuffle around and lean back in your chair as it is very hard work to maintain one position for a long time.

    Lastly – try to get up from your desk roughly every hour. Regular movement helps lubricate your joints and stretch your muscles. It can also help with concentration and decision making. You’ll feel much better for it!