Is hybrid working a pain in the neck?
Posture specialist HEALTH SHAK want to help returning office workers get back to their postural best
As workers return to offices in their droves, West-London based posture specialist and chiropractor HEALTH SHAK is expecting a surge in patients seeking bespoke help for neck and back pain, caused by working between home and in offices where many will now be sitting in a variety of non-customised seats ‘hot-desking’.
HEALTH SHAK Co-Founder David Harvey, DC MChiro explains; ‘Lockdown happened so suddenly that many people weren’t ready or properly equipped to work from home. In the office, many had some kind of occupational health assessment at their workstation, to ensure that desks, chair, screen and keyboard were all positioned properly, to optimise posture. Many had their own ergonomic office chair specifically to tackle problems they had. However, studies reveal these important pieces of furniture were not transferred from the office into employees’ homes. As workers return to offices and shared workspaces, hot desking at different workstations is likely to mean that these old office best practices may be a casualty of post-lockdown work life.’
HEALTH SHAK’S top four tips for optimum posture while working:
Make sure the top of your knees are slightly lower than the mid-point of your hips: If you sit with your knees higher than your hips, you will be creating a posterior (backwards) tilt of your pelvis. This will cause you to slump and slouch, forcing your body into a position it doesn’t want to be in. To lower your knees below your hips, you may need to raise the height of your chair, or sit on a taller chair.
Check that your pelvis is in a slight anterior (forwards) tilt: When you create a slight anterior (forwards) tilt of your pelvis while sitting, you allow your lower back to maintain its normal curve and your body will maintain an upright position with less effort.
To do this, you will need to lift the back of your seat – the part you are actually sitting on, not the backrest – relative to the front. This can be done in a few different ways:
• Use a seat wedge
• Fold a towel to create a wedge shape
• Some chairs may have an adjustable seat pad, which you can tilt forwards
Make sure the top of your screen is at or slightly below eye level: Even if your pelvis is in the perfect position, you will end up slouching if you’re looking down at a screen which is too low. To get your screen to be the right height, you may need to:
• Put your laptop/monitor on a stand or box
• Get yourself a monitor and keyboard if you are predominantly using a laptop
Get up and move often: As perfect as a sitting position may be, there is no substitute for movement. Try to get up every hour or so to move, stretch or walk around. This will aid blood flow around your body and will help refresh your brain to stay sharp and focused while you work.
An initial three-part consultation with HEALTH SHAK costs £120, comprising one Zoom consultation followed by two in-person sessions. Visit the website for more details.