Office Workers Advice: returning to work following the holidays
Have you started to experience discomfort in your neck, arms or back with returning to work following the holiday period?
Now is a great time to take a look at your work habits and address this discomfort before it becomes a bigger problem.
Our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods of time, hold our arms in one position for too long or complete repetitive tasks such as typing or mouse work for prolonged periods.
So what can you do to avoid this occurring:
- Task variation: where possible vary your tasks as often as you can as this can alter your work position e.g. vary between hand written work, typing, mouse work, phone calls and meetings where possible
- Regular rest breaks: Ensure that you take all standard rest breaks and don’t get into the habit of eating at your desk. Time away from your desk and computer work station gives your muscles time to recover from the work that they have been doing.
- Micropauses: it is recommended that at least once every hour (ideally every 15 minutes) for 5-10 seconds you should STOP what you are doing, DROP your arms down by your side and gently SHAKE them to relax your muscles and help restore normal circulation
- Postural variation: take any opportunity to get up from your desk such as walk to the printer to collect your own printing, or go next door to discuss matters with your colleague rather than phoning or emailing
- Stretches: completing neck, arm and back stretches prior to your day starting and regularly throughout the day helps to prevent or reduce any muscle tension that may cause discomfort. Refer to www.habitatwork.co.nz for a range of appropriate exercises.
It is also important to ensure that your workstation is set up to suit your individual needs. Even the slightest adjustment to your chair, screen height, or desk layout can make a difference to your posture and any discomfort. If you require any assistance don’t hesitate to contact the team at Accelerate Physiotherapy to discuss the situation or arrange for an onsite ergonomic workstation assessment with your Physiotherapist.