The shift to remote work has revolutionized the way people work, with nearly half of British workers now engaging in either a hybrid or fully remote role, according to a recent study.
However, the convenience of working from home has led to makeshift workstations, such as dining tables, kitchen counters, or even sofa cushions, which may be taking a toll on people’s posture.
DFS, an online furniture retailer, has observed a staggering 179 percent surge in searches for “back pain causes” this year, highlighting the growing concern of postural issues among remote workers.
In response to this alarming trend, DFS has teamed up with Dr. Laura Knowles, a chiropractor and posture expert, who has shared essential tips to mitigate posture-related problems when working from home.
Dr. Knowles emphasizes the significance of laptop positioning, particularly for individuals who find themselves working on sofas. Maintaining the top of the device in line with the eyes is crucial, as studies have revealed that for every inch the head shifts forward in posture, the weight of the head on the neck increases by nearly 5kg. Therefore, looking down at a laptop or notebook while on the sofa can subject the upper back, shoulders, and neck to significant stress.
What can you do to reduce the chance of injury?
To address this issue, Dr. Knowles recommends using stacked pillows on the lap to bring the screen to eye level. Additionally, adding a cushion for neck support can alleviate the urge to strain the head downwards. For those who spend prolonged periods lounging on the sofa during meetings, it is vital to incorporate regular movement. Dr. Knowles suggests setting a reminder on your phone every 30 minutes to prompt stretching, walking, and reinvigorating blood circulation.
The collaboration between DFS and Dr. Laura Knowles underscores the growing recognition of the importance of ergonomics in remote work environments. While occasional deviations from ideal setups are unavoidable, it is crucial for individuals to prioritize their posture and take proactive steps to minimize the risk of long-term musculoskeletal problems associated with poor ergonomics.
As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, maintaining a healthy posture and implementing ergonomic solutions should be at the forefront of every remote worker’s mind. By adopting Dr. Knowles’ expert advice and being mindful of their physical well-being, individuals can navigate the challenges of remote work while safeguarding their long-term health and productivity.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.