Wellness Tips for Working from Home

Over the past year, millions of Americans have worked from home, stayed away from offices, and avoided the daily commutes that were once a staple of our pre-pandemic professional lives. These dramatic changes to our daily routines have also increased the need for physical therapy to address work-from-home-related habits and health issues.

To discuss some of these new health issues, and ways to combat them through PT-guided care, APTQI recently spoke with Kathy Prampin, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT, a facility manager for Athletico Physical Therapy in Chicago.

Kathy has seen patients develop various health problems while working from home over an extended period of time:

Along with poor ergonomic workstations, Kathy also describes how the lack of a daily commute has reduced the amount of daily physical activity patients are getting, further worsening these health problems:

So, looking forward into the months ahead, how can patients combat some of the health challenges they might experience while working from home?

Stay Active

A great way to cope with knee and back pain is to remain physically active, even if you’re stuck at home all day. This can be as simple as doing a few home-exercise regimens, going for a short walk, or taking a few minutes every hour to step away from the computer screen to stand up and stretch.

Find Your Home Office Sweet Spot

Another key way to support a healthy work-from-home environment is to ensure a sustainable ergonomic workstation. A good workstation should allow you to sit comfortably at a computer over an extended period of time while avoiding neck or back pain. You should avoid working from the couch, bed, or other spaces that will put the body in awkward physical positions over the course of several hours or days. For those with limited space, establishing a healthy workstation may require some creativity, including rearranging furniture and changing the layout of a certain room to accommodate work needs. 

Follow a Wellness Schedule

If you are experiencing pain of discomfort after working from home over a prolonged period of time, it may be worth developing a daily schedule that sets aside time for exercise routines, walks, or short breaks away from the computer screen. Doing so can add some structure and predictability to the work-from-home routine, while supporting physical health in the long-term.