More than ever, chiropractors who offer corporate wellness services and address workspace ergonomics have taken interest in the health of the growing number of people working from home. COVID-19 has resulted in a sharp increase in employees who have been displaced from their offices. Many of them have been told they can expect to work from home permanently.
This growing trend has not been spurred by COVID-19 alone. According to a story published on realtor.com, data released by The Bureau of Labor Statistic in September 2019 and reviewing from 2017-2018, about 35.7 million people are working from home. This amounts to 24.8% of non-farm workers.
Below is a brief transcript from an interview with Dr. Michael Magwood, a family chiropractor who has been assessing the wellbeing of corporate clients for more than a decade. He was asked to offer health tips for people who are now “telecommuting” and creating workstations for themselves at home. Here are the top ten questions asked to find out how to do better than the man in the attached photo:
1. Tell us a bit about your work helping to keep people healthy in their work environment and everyday life.
We have developed a unique playbook using the full scope of chiropractic care. Our techniques are to clear interference to the mind and body that results from chemical, physical and emotional distress. Neurological based techniques and lifestyle behaviors are applied to reset and reverse the effects of stress that create sickness and disease.
- Sixty-six percent of employees are remote working now, but almost half of Americans work at home at least part of the week. What are some tips to help remote workers make their home workspace healthy?
One of the keys to working from home, or telecommuting, is to be alert to energy, movement and breathing. We must be focused enough to limit the amount of time that elapses without each of these three things in our consciousness. That is to behave in a way that continually feeds the soul for optimal living.
- Are there specific spaces inside home where people should look to set up their workspaces?
Choose an area that is peaceful, well lit and climate controlled, that limits distractions.
- What are your thoughts on working in bed or on the couch? Is that unhealthy?
The bed or couch are the worst choices if working on a computer, however if reading from books or simply listening to audio is required, these can be a nice short term change of environment.
- Are there any household items some workers can use to make their workspace more comfortable, such as books to lift up their monitors?
To benefit during sitting, a footrest is a valuable tool. A foam roller under the feet can substitute to maintain appropriate knee angles and unconsciously trigger core muscle contractions.
- Are there any items that someone could get that would help them create an ergonomic workspace? Any special chairs? Any special computers?
An adjustable apparatus to convert between a sitting and standing workstation is the most valuable tool for home. Depending on the complexity of what needs to be mounted, it can be easily disassembled and stored. Screens can easily be set up at the best heights and angles while keyboard height and proximity should be independently adjustable.
- How about those exercise balls? Do you recommend remote workers use them for a chair?
I am a fan of exercise balls as a variation on an office chair, however I have not seen success with people maintaining long term posture when used over many hours consecutively. To have a large enough or adequately inflated ball is very important.
- Are there any spaces or actions that may lower productivity or even harm a remote worker?
I believe the chair is the most important feature of a workstation. Fitting or adjusting the functions of the chair to the individual are more important than how elaborate or expensive the chair is.
- How important are breaks? When should a remote worker take them? Are they different from an office worker?
My rule is to significantly move the body minimally every fifteen minutes, even a ritual as simple as getting up from the chair to elongate and reach to the ceiling for a few seconds. Performing shoulder rolls or jumping jacks are other examples, but choose anything comfortable to break the pattern of absolute stillness.
- Any tips we haven’t discussed that you feel would benefit remote workers at home?
We teach the value of addressing stress levels and utilizing specific breathing techniques to physiologically mitigate the body’s systems with the healing power of calming.
New corporate wellness clients may contact the chiropractors at Pure Balance. Call them today in NYC at (212)661-5656 or in NJ at (973)773-8244 to speak to a friendly staff member, or visit them online for a full list of their services. You can also like them on Facebook for up to date information.