Most Common Injuries from Working at Home (and How to Avoid Them)

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Working from the comfort of your abode comes with many benefits. For starters, it’s probably one of the only workplaces where you can wear a nice top paired with hideous sweatpants, without anyone noticing your bottom half is completely unprofessional. A win, win in many people’s eyes.
It also allows a certain freedom, otherwise missing in offices, and can aid your overall work-life balance. From being able to throw a load of laundry in the washing machine to taking your meat out of the freezer in time for dinner, at-home working gives you the opportunity to get personal tasks done, with ease and much less panic. It can make it easier to focus on the job at hand too, thanks to fewer interruptions from colleagues and no arduous commute. But, as the story often goes, there is also a negative side to the very topical ‘work from home’ argument.
One of those negatives is the injuries one can endure, all from sitting in an uncomfortable chair and staring at an unlevel screen. While that statement may sound dramatic or out of place at first, it’s a real issue and one that many home-based workers face. Who would have thought that a job outside of manual labour could cause physical distress? Not us.
The potential injuries from working at home are something that you shouldn’t hesitate to educate yourself on, as many of the grievances are referred to as invisible or long-term strains. Sometimes, they are not immediately obvious but are rather annoying issues that surface down the road. Though, as long as you’re aware of the possible damages, you can make any necessary adjustments to your home office and lessen the overall risk.
Some examples of common work-from-home injuries:
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1. Back issues

Both an improper chair and poor posture will affect your back health, and there are a number of injuries that can surface from either, such as an unaligned spine and repeated lower back pain. And that’s only a couple of examples.

2. Headaches

While headaches can happen anywhere and anytime, improper lighting and staring at your computer screen for lengthy bouts will certainly generate eye strain, leading to an onset headache. So, if you’re the type who tends to focus more when at home and forget to open the window or switch on a light, be wary of the repercussions. You won’t be so productive if your head is pounding.

3. Blurry vision or dry eyes

Similar to the headaches mentioned above, you can also experience blurry vision and dry eyes after too much screen time. This regularly prompts brain fog and can, unfortunately, be a common and irritating occurrence when working from home.

4. Poor circulation

Poor circulation is a real danger to your health, and the symptoms range from cold fingers and toes to bulging veins and aching muscles. Unfortunately, a work from home lifestyle promotes this kind of injury. Somehow, that lunch break walk sneakily slips into couch and TV time when at home. So, best to get moving.

5. Arthritis

Arthritis can affect you for the long term and interrupt the many activities you enjoy outside of work, so you don’t want it to rear its ugly little head. Something as simple as the placement of your keyboard and the mouse pad can cause it, but really any repetitive joint movements are triggers.

6. Neck pain

Sitting at your desk for long hours or holding the phone up to your ear while curving your neck can certainly introduce neck pain into your life. That’s why your sitting or ‘phone chat’ posture is so important to be aware of. And as the joints in the body are connected, the misalignment of the spine is a common culprit of neck pain.
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How to safeguard your home office

Here are a few simple tips that will help you to avoid work from home injuries:
  • Invest in an ergonomic office chair
  • Check your computer screen is eye level and not too close or too far away
  • Get a padded mouse pad
  • Take breaks away from your desk, frequently
  • Place your keyboard in a supportive position
  • Set a reminder to check your posture (TimeIvy is a helpful app for this purpose)
  • Embrace exercise or some kind of physical activity
  • Switch the lights on or let the daylight in
  • Again… take a break, go for a walk or have a little stretch
No one wants to endure long-term injury or spend their weekends and evenings at the chiropractor or physiotherapist, that will certainly fill up your free time. So, being safe while working from home is essential and will further entice a happy at-home working environment. A place, where the hideous sweatpants thrive, and the back doesn’t ache.
Most companies will foot the bill towards safe and comfortable home office furniture, so make sure to ask your boss if this is something your work will cover. If you’re self-employed or work for a company that isn’t so generous, you can find excellent deals online, so don’t procrastinate or wait too long. Your body will thank you for it.

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