Working from home: How to get your back into shape
At your desk, at the dining table or on the balcony – working from home* comes in many guises and is not always ideal for your back. A study conducted by the Forsa institute for the TÜV technical inspection association reveals that only one in two respondents have an ergonomic workplace set up at home. In addition, two out of three employees also state that they do not get enough exercise. This may lead to back pain or neck pain – but both are avoidable. With the necessary awareness and a few tricks, it’s perfectly possible to stay agile and keep your back in good shape while working from home.
Back pain is not specifically a side effect of working from home. Together with headache, back pain represents one of the most common health issues. This is also confirmed by the results of a study conducted by the Robert Koch Institute, in which 61.3 % of those taking part reported that they had suffered from back pain in the past year, while 45.7 % stated that they had experienced neck pain.
The right set-up is crucially important to keeping your back healthy when working from home – ideally with a height-adjustable desk and an ergonomic chair which helps you to stay agile. The second vital priority is movement and exercise. Our Top 4 tips show you how to stay agile:
On your marks, get set, go: Set up your workplace along ergonomic lines
A bad posture while working may result from incorrect positioning of the screen and keyboard at your workplace. Ensure that the top line on your screen is always on a level with your eyes. You should then only need to lower your head slightly when looking at the middle of the screen. Avoid placing your keyboard directly at the edge of your desk, so that you have sufficient space to rest your forearms and the balls of your thumbs on the desk in a relaxed manner. Position the keyboard around five to ten centimetres from the edge of the desk. Read more here about the right way to sit at the workplace.
Stretching the aches away: Set yourself a reminder.
However full your diary may be, make use of 5-minute slots to tend to your back’s needs. Stretching exercises, getting up for a few moments or going off to make a cup of coffee can help to give your back a short break, too. The best plan is to set yourself a “give your back a break” reminder several times throughout the day, so as to establish a routine and incorporate a healthy dose of movement and variety into your everyday work.
Get out into the fresh air: Use your lunch break for some exercise.
Use your lunch break not only for your lunch, but to get out into the fresh air, too. A relaxed walk to the baker’s or a brisk walk through the park will offer your back a beneficial change of posture.
Challenge accepted: Get together with a sparring partner.
Get into a sporting habit after work and do yourself and your back a favour. It doesn’t have to be yoga. Gentle endurance sport, such as cycling, jogging or swimming, will also exercise your back to good effect. To boost your motivation, meet up with your colleagues to drum up a bit of competition. This way, you can foster a team spirit while building up your muscles - a win-win situation!
*We use the term “working from home” to refer to all forms of work within you own four walls: mobile work, hybrid work, remote work and digital work – in short, all hybrid forms of work.