Does your body feel different when WFH vs at the Office?

Leada_M
Guide
Guide

Hey Athletawell family!

 

As a local in the Bay Area, I have a lot of friends that work in tech. I understand most companies were working from home for the last year... but now things may have shifted back to the office for some. As a PT I see tons of people with pain they associate with being at the desk. 

 

So my questions for you are:

 

Do you notice a difference in your posture, pain, tension, knots etc when you are WFH versus when you go into the office? Which is better? Which is worse? Why do you think that is?

 

I love hearing in your words and your thoughts because sometimes all I discuss this with are other physical therapists! 😂

 

-Dr. Leada 

 

 

11 REPLIES 11

Nkpascale
Member

Before my company subsidized a great stand up desk, large monitor, chair and all the ergo fixings, I was have a lot of neck pain at home and spent a lot of time working in bed. Actually - most of the time working from bed in PJs (thanks goodness we're a non-video zoom company!).

 

However, I rarely leave my desk (or previously couch/bed). I think that's one of the biggest differences. I used to walk to get lunch and now I just power through all day long. But the neck pain is much better with my new set up!

This is soo huge! It's amazing how much a different set up can make. I'm starting to hear the natural walking around the office has been quite different for people. It's all tooo easy to stay in one place at home!

DebbieJ
Member

I WISH my company had supplied us with standing desks for WFH.  Posture and ergonomics are NOT as good at home desk...after 13 months WFH, my shoulder left levator scapulae has been in much pain....and I have been going to physical therapy for this.  PT treatment has been strengthening all shoulder muscles, biceps, triceps - I have been going for a couple months - still not pain free.  Any advice or specific additional exercises anyone can give would be appreciated!  PS tendency to sit for longer periods and keep plugging away is what the WFH has brought us.

@DebbieJ I have heard this story sooo many times! I'm sorry to hear. I have some easy desk set up home-hacks I can share.. stay tuned! The biggest tip I can tell makes a difference: 

 

1) Get the top of your screen with 5 degrees eye-level with you. That way you can cover everything with your eyes and not look down. 

2) Invest in a separate keyboard if needed!

3) Use arm support in a way that offers your shoulders to stay relaxed while elbows bent  around 90-100 degrees. 

 

I'll be hosting an Ask Me Anything on this topic soon! Do you think a video for tips on this would be helpful?

Hi, Leada.  Appreciate all your input on this!  Yes, I think a video would be helpful on this topic..."Ergonomics 101 in WFH Environment".  Please clarify your comments above - "with 5 degrees eye-level".  Not sure what you mean about 5 degrees.  What is that measurement of?  Thanks again!  🙂  Looking forward to your "Ask Me Anything"  presentation.    DebbieJ

Thanks @DebbieJ! Yes so if you were to look at the very top border of your monitor, it would be within 5 degrees of height of your eyes. This image shows it as "15 degrees" which is fine too, I just err on the side of smaller because it will mean less lookin down at the screen. Thanks for your feedback! I have lots on this topic - stay tuned!

 

 

 

DebMarPir
Member

I am doing some freelance work - not a lot but am going to be adding more - after being unemployed awhile. I did work here at my desk about 2.5 years. My problem now is that at 54 I need an eye exam. I have readers and find myself leaning toward the screen, bad posture, and fighting "dowager's hump." I am a total "nerdette" and love all gadgets, the internet, etc. So while I think my seat is the right height and my desk is eye level, I am wondering if I should place my iMac screen even higher, so I look up and not directly across and slump. I don't have a tray for typing, this is a real standard, wooden desk, so my hands are not at the best position. I tend to fight mouse tendonitis and so switch to a stylus now and again. I have a lot of papers everywhere when I like minimalism, but I don't see how that is possible if I don't want to miss things that are next in line to be done.

You sound like you like your work with all you deal with @DebMarPir ! I definitely admire that. For monitor height, I would recommend lining the top of the screen more or less eye level with you. You want to be able to look at all you need with moving your eyes. Tilting the head up can cause tension at the base of the skull and that's own problems. Raising the chair so that your elbows can meet your keyboard at our desk would be helpful - but I'm short so I know the feet can dangle. A simple hack for that is placing two yoga blocks underneath as foot rest! You certainly want to make it easy on your body & on yourself 🙂

nbo
Member

hi, WFH is definitely worse for the body, because you don't have the diversity of moving away from your desk for an extended period of time, and the pandemic hours were nearly double what they were in the office. If you're sitting at a desk mostly typing and looking at your phone, your shoulders, neck and arms overpower and pull forward/downward, leading to severe pain. We didn't have ergonomic offerings at my company, so I searched out an ergonomics consultant who came to my home to consult on my work set up and explain what was wrong. This was very helpful. I also went to physical therapy and got shots in my arm, while learning strengthening exercises and purchasing braces, wrist bar, foam roller and ice wraps I could do/use at home.

I definitely agree with all of this. I'm so glad you reached out to the ergo specialist early on! It's interesting to know what people turned to in order to help with all the desk changes. 

DebMarPir
Member

Good idea! Unfortunately, I live in a tiny town half an hour from a Walmart. My last job was also a nonprofit, so they didn't pay for anything, I even used my own phone for calls and they paid half, and my own computer, etc. Not doing that again! At the end they did away with my position and I worked so many extra hours for folks who didn't appreciate it. Now I hope to get better - hoping Athleta can help. I know I am supposed to get up reguarly from the computer, for instance, and never recall to do this more than once or twice a day if at a full-time job. So freelance may help me a lot more. 🙂