On video-conference calls across the country, workers are revealing their at-home office spaces while they cope with the coronavirus pandemic. While some are lucky enough to have an ideal desk set-up and comfortable seating — many are stuck crammed at the kitchen table or slouched on the couch.
The average workplace may set up each desk and chair to ensure its ergonomically correct, but the same considerations might not be in place, or even possible, in your home.
The longer you work in a space that isn’t advantageous to your body and posture, chronic pain could become an issue, said Darcie Jaremey, an ergonomist based in Prince Edward Island that specializes in helping offices transition into more comfortable workplaces.
“At first, you’re probably going to be feeling annoyed with aches and pains,” she said. “But if this is ignored for too long… it’s going to be exacerbated at home because things are just not set up for you to work optimally.”
Keeping a poor work-from-home environment could eventually lead to more severe pain that keeps you up at night, including burning and tingling sensations, said Jaremey.
“You’re going to find the range of motion is going to be reduced,” she said. “And if this is ignored even further… you’re more likely to develop something more chronic.”
The stress of the coronavirus outbreak layered with an office space that isn’t conducive to your well-being can cause pain to escalate — especially if you’re at the kitchen table, trying to attend to children at the same time, she explained.
Easy ways to fix your work from home space
It’s very possible to adjust your space without purchasing entirely new furniture, said Jaremey. However, if you have more severe pain issues already, including carpal tunnel or persistent lower back pain, special equipment may be necessary, she added.
“For the majority of us, there are simple things you can do and it’s shocking… you don’t need the fancy stuff,” she said. “You just need to make sure everything is in an optimal sitting posture.”
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