By Sarah Oliver, Osteopath

Have you recently started working from home due to coronavirus? You might have started to notice stiffness and discomfort across your neck, shoulders and upper back. This is probably down to spending long periods at a poorly set up work station.

There are two things you need to do to improve the situation. Firstly, take frequent breaks to get up and move around. Secondly, improve your desk set up using the following easy steps.

  1. Place your laptop on a table. Your dining table or a desk are ideal. Don’t work in bed, on your settee or on a low coffee table. That’s ok for brief periods but will prove very uncomfortable after a while.
  2. Use a mouse. Wired or Bluetooth, it doesn’t matter. This will help keep your ‘mouse arm’ in a more relaxed position compared with using the trackpad.
  3. Use a peripheral keyboard. Again, it can be wired or wireless. As long as it works it doesn’t matter.
  4. Raise your laptop up on a box or stack of books. I’ve used an archive box full of old receipts. Look around and see what you can find at home. Ideally your screen should be eye level, but any extra height would be helpful.
  5. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy your new, comfortable desk. Well done!
  6. Bonus tips:
    Try to push your chair under your desk so your tummy is close to the desk’s edge.

    Keep your mouse & keyboard within easy reach; your elbows should remain bent and close to your sides.

    It’s ok to fidget, shuffle around and lean back in your chair as it is very hard work to maintain one position for a long time.

    Lastly – try to get up from your desk roughly every hour.