10 weeks into working from home, I’m sure many people are well acquainted with that nagging feeling in their back reminding them that they haven’t moved in several hours. Sure, pre-pandemic there were those days in the office where you wouldn’t leave your chair for three hours, but suddenly it seems worse, right?
It’s because whatever your WFH situation is, it’s probably not as ergonomically-friendly as your usual office environment. Your kitchen table was meant for meals, not for 9 hours of hovering over your laptop. It’s also likely you’re not moving nearly as much as you were when you had to commute to an office. And because gyms are still closed, you’re probably not working out as much. Combined, it all adds up, wreaking havoc on your back.
Here are some tips for alleviating that WFH back pain.
- Change where you work throughout the day. I usually try to switch between my home office and my kitchen island throughout the day not only for a change of scenery, but also a change of seating. Just swapping out the type of chair seems to help.
- Get up and move. Even if it’s walking around while you take a quick call, get your steps in.
- Exercise! Whether it’s a quick run around your neighborhood, some sun salutations in your living room, or lifting some light weights, exercising will help activate your muscles. A stronger body helps lead to a stronger back.
- Check your posture. Make sure your laptop is at eye level and you’re not hunching over it. If a laptop stand is out of budget, prop up your laptop on books. I also do occasional self-checks to make sure I don’t get lazy and fall into a hunch during those long stretches of writing.
- Use earbuds or headphones when talking on the phone. Holding a phone to your ear, or between your shoulder and ear, for an hour can put stress on your shoulders and neck. And don’t forget to sit up straight!
For some easy exercises you can do at home to help with back pain, click here.