When working from home, there are a few things to keep in mind. The temptation to work on your laptop while sitting on the couch with your feet up exposes you to several risks that aren’t present in a traditional office situation. The couch is an inviting and enticing alternative when you work from home. However, working in this manner for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for months, or for most workers impacted by the pandemic, a year or more, may cause you to question if it is necessary to work in your couch.
Here are a few reasons why you might reconsider and give your couch a break:
Prolonged Work in a Couch Posters Posture Damage
Many experts agree that the sofa is the worst place to work especially if it is for long hours. The set-up of a sofa encourages one to slouch and if you position yourself on it and work for hours, you will be incurring back and nape pain. When you sit on a couch your head pushes forward while your body slumps. Staying this way for hours causes so much strain on your muscles. Ameet Bhakta, a postural alignment specialist shared that even though the sofa feels like the most comfortable place to work on at first, it will cause you so much strain in the long run. Long-term work on the couch will damage your posture and cause health issues.
Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries and disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system of the human body. Muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs are all affected. When a worker is exposed to MSD risk factors, such as working with incorrect body posture, and sitting for lengthy periods of time on a couch, fatigue develops. A musculoskeletal imbalance develops when tiredness outruns the body’s healing system.
Sitting on a Couch for Hours Disrupts Oxygen Supply to the Brain
When you work on the couch, your body is in a slumped position. You may claim that you are aware of your posture, but as you become immersed in your task, you become oblivious to the fact that you begin to slump and force your head forward, putting strain on your muscles and disrupting proper oxygen inhalation to your lungs and, eventually, your brain. It turns out that the deeper you go, the higher the pressure on your lungs. Furthermore, reclining lowers the amount of oxygen delivered to your body and brain. As a result, you may find that after hours of sitting on a couch, your nape, head, and back hurt, and you may even feel disoriented. If these symptoms sound familiar, it signifies that the brain and body’s oxygen supply is irregular.
The Couch Poses Several Distractions
It may be tempting to watch TV or play a game “only for a few minutes” while working if your couch is in the same living room as your television, video game consoles, movies, or other electronic goods. Furthermore, if you live with family or roommates, the room with the sofa is likely to be a high-traffic area, increasing the chances that someone may approach you and divert your focus away from your job. If you have trouble concentrating on your work, the sofa is not the right option.
It Encourages the Wrong Form of Relaxation
We all lead sedentary lives currently. Because of technology advancements and the changing nature of work, 31% of people are physically inactive. Many people have turned to anything from yoga to jogging to get centered and relieve stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many people find it difficult to remember to move while working from home with gyms closed and almost nowhere to walk or commute. Working from your sofa is convenient. In fact, you’ll be so relaxed that you’ll forget to stretch your legs, drink some water, and stroll around the house to keep your blood circulating. You may even find yourself waking up from an unplanned 3-hour slumber with impending tasks and even more stress than before – no one wants that right now. Then chances are the couch leads you to a wrong form of relaxation hence again the couch is not a good choice for long hours of work.
There are some who can devote an area at home for solely work purposes. They might even consider if they should have a couch in their home office set-up to brighten up the mood, but the majority of those who made an immediate exodus from the workplaces do not have such luxury. Leaving them with the option of working on a couch. If this is the case, the following will be of help.
Move from Time to Time
This one is self-evident; your body, like you, requires rest. Staying in one position, even if it is the correct one, is unhealthy and can injure you. Set an alarm to remind you to switch positions or to get up and move. To strengthen your back and core muscles, take a walk around the home or try some exercises. Do you have an UPRIGHT GO or GO2? It could serve as a reminder. Take it as a sign to get up and move whenever you feel it vibrating frequently.
Drink Plenty of Water
Hydrate yourself as much as possible. Our nerves are surrounded by fascia, which is connective tissue. When you don’t move enough or are dehydrated, it tightens, giving you that rigid feeling. Keep an eco-friendly water bottle near your sofa and try to use it as much as possible. Water will act as a natural reminder to get up and walk around every hour or two.
Keep Your Feet Firmly Planted on the Ground
Try sitting on the couch’s edge with your feet on the floor. This position will improve your core and lower back muscles while also making you feel taller and more productive. Maintaining this position for an extended period will be difficult, especially if your couch is deep. Lean back to change positions but try to always keep your feet at 90 degrees on the ground.
Invest in a Good Lighting
After all the consideration you’ve put into your couch, don’t overlook anything that could be critical to your productivity. Also, because living room lighting is frequently geared for entertaining rather than working, consider investing in some decent lighting. Not only do your eyes deserve some TLC, but when we can’t see our screens comfortably, we squint and weaken our posture, which can lead to back or neck problems. Leave the mood lighting for the evenings and invest in a nice lamp that will simplify your day.
Make Your Couch a Success
Whether you will agree or not, it pays to invest in some top accessories for a home office. Two items that may be handy are a lumbar cushion to support your back and a laptop tray or end table desk to ensure that your laptop does not fry a throw pillow and that you may sit upright working on it instead of twisting your back.