By July 30, 2013 Read More →

Healthier ways to work at home

Healthier ways to work at home - Margot AkeroydToday’s guest post is by Margot Akeroyd, an occupational therapist and ergonomist who has been working with the health and wellness of people at work for over 20 years. Here she shares some simple tips for healthier ways to work at home:

Even in the healthiest environment with the best ergonomic equipment, you can still develop discomfort, aches and pains when working at your computer, on your mobile device or just sitting in your car!

There are a variety of positive and negative health risks that people face in all work environments, not only physically but also emotionally. For example:
A more sedentary lifestyle,
texting and emailing from the phone rather than ringing or walking to see people,
the anxiety of not getting responses or the message being misinterpreted.

When incorporating evolving technology into day-to-day activities, awareness of how you react in your environment is also key to learning how you can prevent injuries and illnesses developing.

To prevent musculo-skeletal disorders or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in the forearms, fingers, neck or back developing or worsening, it’s essential you become more aware of:

1. How you do your work – how you use and position your body.
2. How you set up your equipment and furniture in the space you have at home, on the move or in the community.
3. The type of work you need to do and the demands of the job.

Top tips for healthier ways to work at home

1. How you do your work

  • Learn to touch type to avoid frequent neck movement
  • Learn short cut keys so that you reduce mouse work
  • Take your hand off the mouse when not in use and rest on the side or in your lap
  • Keep your keyboard close to the edge of your desk so you don’t lean into your computer
  • Call instead of texting or emailing
  • Try to hold the mobile device in one hand and type with the other hand
  • Avoid holding your thumb up in the air when reading or searching on your mobile device
  • S-t-r-e-t-c-h your neck, forearm muscles, hands and fingers!

2. Your set-up

  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse when using a lap top so you can raise your screen
  • Try different shaped mice that might suit your hand size/shape better
  • Set up your different emails on your phone so you can differentiate between personal and work
  • The set-up of your space depends on what you are trying to achieve in your work – how much time is needed on each piece of equipment, thinking, reading, talking/meetings, etc
  • Keep your space tidy and try to keep it separate from the family ‘home life’

3. Demands of your job

  • Schedule in your day a walk with the dog, a friend or go for a short jog 2-3 times a week
  • Communicate with the family about deadlines and time demands
  • Put a sign up on the door ‘At Work’ and remove it when you’re finished for the day so children understand not to disturb you, when necessary
  • Have a back-up place to work if maintenance on the house is needed
  • Margot is an Occupational Therapist & Ergonomist, and her company supplying ergonomic solutions for the office is based in London. Get in touch with her if you would like to find out more about healthy working, what equipment might suit you or how to set up your garden as an office!

    Or leave a comment below if you would like to ask Margot a question about healthier ways to work at home or share a personal experience.

Posted in: Health

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