–Kakali Das |
It has been almost a year now since we have been working from home, and with the pandemic and the fact that work from home is now becoming normal, the question that needs to be asked is, “What kind of an impact is this doing to our bodies?”. Deloitte’s annual readiness report that came out a couple of days ago said, “Post the virus more than a third of employees will continue to work from home”. That may not be a good news because New World Economic Forum report has suggested that people have become less productive and more anxious because of working from home.
On being asked about the common recurring complaints that he has been receiving from people, and has it increased from the last couple of months because of work from home, DrSatish Mundada, a senior Orthopaedic Surgeon and a Pain Management Specialist, practising in Pune and Aurangabad said, “I had stopped going to the practice for 6 months, and when I resumed my practice thereafter I realised that while in the past days I used to have patients of every age, now in recent time I have been only receiving patients younger in age, especially in a place like Pune, which is considered as the 3rd largest IT hub in India. When I dived deep intothe details I found that the problems arose because of working from home. Because they are at home they are working in a very un-ergonomic atmosphere. Working in an extremely comfortable position and keeping the screen at a particular distance should be in an optimal manner. Any change in this particular position or posture would cause neck pain, upper backache, pain in the fingers, especially the thumb. The commonest problem I have been receiving from the younger crowd is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, i.e. pain in the wrist area.”
Tea-breaks and gossips in the workplace plays an important role in distressing ourselves from the stress that persists because of work, which is lacking when we work from home. Regarding the lighting system in the room, if a person is looking at a computer screen it should be illuminated properly. In order to take regular breaks from work, which is missing when one works from home, one has to follow the rule of 60-15 i.e. one should work for 60 minutes and relax for 15 minutes away from the screen. In case one has to work for more than 60 minutes relentlessly, closing of eyes for 30 secs and opening it thereafter would properly water the eyes and prevent it from straining.
“The kind of furniture we get at workplaces are completely different to that at home, thus one needs to buy ergonomic chair where it has a neck and back support. But if one doesn’t intend to buy it they are suggested to put a small sized pillow behind their back so that the space in between the back and the chair would be filled with the pillow. Similarly, the neck shouldn’t remain unsupported for hours”, he further said.
Summary – Ensure that you have an over-head light or optimal lighting in the room where you work. Refrain from looking at the screen for too long, Take regular breaks after at least 60 minutes of work. Also have a chair with a back and neck support; Do neck and back exercises regularly; multiple YouTube videos are available online that one can refer to and don’t refrain from seeking medical help if this strain doesn’t go away at all after the home remedies.