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Telecommuting and health: the benefits and how to take care of yourself

Douleurs cervicales, Mal de dos, Stress -

Telecommuting and health: the benefits and how to take care of yourself

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The health measures taken to fight against Covid19 have imposed teleworking on a large part of the population. This remote work has many advantages, such as saving time when traveling home / office, more flexible organization of the day, greater concentration, facilities in childcare, possibilities of going out during breaks, etc. But teleworking is not without constraints and it also generates perverse effects such as addiction to work and the constantly connected computer, intrusion into the family environment, professional isolation, physical and psychological fatigue and health disorders . Many people are ill-equipped to work at home and have to make do with a sofa or a nook in the kitchen, which inevitably affects their physical well-being.

Physical disorders related to teleworking

Surveys show that more than a quarter of people who work from home complain of headaches and visual disturbances. Is it because their workplace is poorly arranged Insufficient or blinding light Their screen too small or badly positioned Still, the impression of freedom of the first days of teleworking quickly follows a physical weariness and a feeling of uneasiness.

Man teleworking in his living room, tired on his sofa with headaches

But among the effects of teleworking on health, surveys show above all a increased Musculoskeletal Disorders. A lot of people complain about neck pain, and it's no wonder. Neck pain is very common in people who remain static in front of a screen for long hours. Usually this is due to a bad position and/or a poorly adjusted screen. Other people feel lower back pain, again because their sitting position is not correct and compacts the spine. Still others complain about wrist pain, this is called mouse syndrome. We do not know enough, but the wrists are under heavy strain in all computer work and when they are poorly positioned they get tired, with consequences that can go as far as tendonitis. Last but not least, many people who work from home complain aboute shoulder pain. This pain can come from a position that is not optimal or also from the stress generated by isolation and remote controls.

Basic tips for better teleworking

There are good practices that can largely prevent the physical problems associated with teleworking.

You should start, as far as possible, with to make a corner which is not dedicated to cooking or leisure, you have to try to isolate yourself from the noise.

It is necessary be well seated, ideally on an office chair with armrests to rest the arms and relax the shoulders. Otherwise, at the risk of tiring the neck and cervical vertebrae. The feet should be flat on the ground, the knees bent at 90 to be lower than the hips. Otherwise the lumbar vertebrae are put under unnecessary pressure.

It's necessary to choose a good office, wide enough (140cm at least) and deep enough (80cm) to allow you to set up your computer and things without being stuck in your work movements. The height of the chair in relation to the desk should be adjusted.

It is necessary adjust the height of your screen: If it is too high in relation to the gaze, you will quickly experience pain in the neck and shoulders. The top of the screen should be at eye level.

It is necessary correctly position the keyboard and mouse, otherwise you will feel fatigue in the wrists and shoulders. The keyboard must be stable and placed flat on the desk (avoid the tilted position which causes breakage of the wrists). Instead, use an external, wireless mouse, be sure to place it in line with your shoulder to keep your wrist straight and your hand relaxed and your arm relaxed. These precautions usually help prevent the onset of muscle pain in the wrists and shoulders.

Overworked woman teleworking in front of her computer with bad posture and neck and back pain

Relaxation and stretching: remedies for muscular disorders in teleworking

Despite all these precautions for adopt good postures, teleworking remains a sedentary way of working and, as such, it presents health risks. When you are at the office, you get up regularly from your chair to go see a colleague, go to a meeting, have a coffee at home, you stay seated without moving in a much more limited space.

It is therefore imperative to change position regularly. To limit the risk of muscle twitching, you should get up from your chair every hour to take a few steps and get yourself a glass of water, for example. Don't hesitate to stand up to participate in a teleconference or meeting.

It is necessary take breaks and take the time to go out at noon for a walk, possibly meeting other people to eat and relax in person.

But the secret to well-being is to stretch the muscles contracted by teleworking. When the pains appear, listen to your body and give it the relaxation it asks for.

You can lie down and lengthen your neck for 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour with the Cervi-Care cervical hammock. As you breathe in-out deeply in this relaxed position, you will regain the energy and well-being that you lack. You can place a Massager Cushion around the neck to release the pressure of hours spent at the computer. You can put on a back straightener to keep you straighter in front of the computer. You can place a ergonomic cushion in the lower back to relieve the lumbar vertebrae. Other health accessories are available from Cervi-Care, they can relieve you!

ergonomic blue back cushion to relieve lower back painErgonomic Back Cushion

You can also practice small exercises, such as rotating your head back and forth to relax the neck. Or move your head up and down and up and down. You can perform forward and backward shrugs to relax your entire upper back. You can extend the wrists and then flex them, several times in a row. And move the fingers with a few flexion extensions, which will relieve the entire forearm. Feel free to lift one foot, straighten your leg and make small circular movements with the ankle, from one side of the body to the other. If you feel the need, lie down for 10 minutes on an yoga mat, to create a vacuum by breathing deeply before resuming work.

Prevent telework from becoming hell

Teleworking became widespread during the Covid health crisis, but it is likely to continue well beyond and gradually become commonplace.

While it has many benefits, it also poses serious health risks. Surveys show an upsurge in Musculoskeletal Disorders, or MSDs, since the 2020 health crisis. Tendonitis, neck and lumbar pain, extreme fatigue threaten all those who work from home.

The International Labor Organization, the ILO, has also warned of increased work stress linked to teleworking: stress caused by the isolation of workers, but also by the use of unsuitable and faulty equipment.

Overworked and burnt-out teleworker in his living room

Employers and trade unions are called upon to tackle these problems head-on. But before concrete initiatives emerge, it is important that everyone take care of their health and pay attention to their well-being, to avoid the burnout of teleworking. It is therefore necessary to ensure the ergonomics of his workstation, but also to compensate for the sedentary lifestyle of his activity by breaks and stretching exercises using suitable accessories.

It is useful to develop a routine which keeps the body from becoming stiff. By planning a daily organization that includes breaks, moments of relaxation and time for walking or going out. And sticking to it !!

It is better to prevent the onset of muscle pain than to have it cured.

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