By Mightor Hernandez, Director, PVP
Growing up, we were always taught the value of good posture.“Stand up straight” and “do not slouch” were familiar catchphrases of our parents. As Mayo Clinic pointed out,
“Good posture supports good health. Proper body alignment can help prevent excess strain on your joints, muscles, and spine — alleviating pain and reducing the likelihood of injury. As a bonus, correct posture can boost your productivity and mood, as well as help you use your muscles more efficiently.”
Good posture may be challenging to maintain in an office environment, where most work is typically sedentary. The global coronavirus pandemic suddenly forced us to work from home [WFH], which has exposed several challenges among employees.
Not everyone’s homes have studies or offices. If you have limited space in your home for a proper workstation, more often than not, you are forced to work on your dining table, sofa, or bed. While this arrangement may be convenient, it disregards ergonomics, and often leads to pain, reducing productivity.
In an article by Mark Murphy on Forbes Magazine, companies often expect their employees stuck on their computers the whole day. This bodies-in-their-seats mentality does not necessarily translate to productivity. Freelancers who respect the need to disconnect in order to produce great work.
While the body and mind are distinct, physical health and mental health should not be treated separately, says UK’s Mental Health Foundation. With the pandemic shutting down operations of fitness centers, poor physical health can harmfully affect our mental health, and vice-versa.
Locally, our Labor Department has seen the need to tackle safety and health measures for workers spending prolonged sitting at work. Through Department Order 184 [Series of 2017], appropriate control measures were prescribed in order to prevent risks of musculoskeletal disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity, among others.
Here are some tips that can help you manage your work from home setup.
1. Take regular five-minute breaks every two hours from sitting down. Stand up, walk around, stretch your body. Devote time for exercise.
2. Ensure proper lighting so that you will not strain your eyes. Take your eyes off the computer screen from time to time.
3. Talk to someone. Disconnecting from work is a good excuse to reconnecting with family and friends.
Until a vaccine to combat the coronavirus is found, WFH has become the new normal. While we try to live through this crisis, it is important to be mindful of any physical and mental pain that WFH may bring. In the end, we are in always in charge of how we will make WFH work.
*On June 23-25, PVP will be conducting an Online Seminar-Workshop on Designing and Developing Mental Health Programs in the Workplace. To register, kindly visit: https://www.pvpi.co/designing-and-developing-mentalheal