A growing number of individuals prefer to work from home, and a survey has revealed that 65 percent of people want to be full-time remote employees. Moreover, almost 30 percent of workers say that they are willing to take a pay cut if they’ll be allowed to keep working remotely. It’s no surprise that so many employees prefer this type of work arrangement: it enables you to save money on transportation costs, have more focused time, and become more productive.
However, too much time spent sitting at work can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing. The effects may not be so obvious during the first few months, but you may begin to notice a few things happening to your body over time. Here’s how remote working can affect your physical health, and what you can do to keep your body healthy as you work from home.
Tech neck, which is muscle pain and stress in the neck and back, has become a common condition experienced by remote workers and those who spend a lot of time on their digital devices. You’ll know that you have it if you experience a stiff neck, headaches, and neck spasms throughout the day.
Another common symptom of tech neck is being unable to look up after looking down at your computer or device after a long time. Though it’s not classified as a medical condition, health experts say that it should be addressed because in severe cases, it may cause discs in the neck to bulge or rupture.
Once you get a ruptured disc, you may experience pain or numbness in the arm, which may require surgical treatment.
To prevent tech neck, try bringing your laptop closer to you so you don’t have to hyperextend your neck to look at your screen. You can also do seated exercises to correct head and spine alignment. One exercise that can help to relieve neck muscle stress is called chin tucking.
Simply look straight ahead, and place one finger on your chin. Push your head and chin straight back without moving your finger, and hold the position for at least five seconds before repeating the process.
Sitting in a hunched position can increase the mobility of the jaw due to the increased pull of muscles in the neck. After a while, you may notice some pain or dislocation in your jaw, which leads to a condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction, or TMJ. To help prevent this, support your lower back with a small pillow to decrease stress on the spine, and use an ergonomic chair for working.
Remember to sit with your chair reclining 25 degrees to prevent slouching. Once you’re sitting correctly, your jaw will automatically relax, and you’ll feel that your tongue is gently resting on the roof of your mouth and your teeth aren’t clenched, but are slightly apart.
Too much time spent with poor posture in front of a computer can result in having rounded shoulders and a hyperextended neck. Studies have shown that it may also cause postural hunchback, which is why it’s so important to practice proper posture and do some exercises to reduce muscle discomfort while remote working.
Consider using a standing desk or a height-adjustable desk so you can stand more and reduce muscle stress while working. You can also do neck rolls, shoulder rolls and shoulder stretches to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders, as well as upper body twists to improve flexibility.
Working from home has its benefits, but too much sitting can have an adverse effect on your well-being. Remember to maintain good posture, do exercises, and use ergonomic furniture so you can stay healthy and pain-free while remote working.