Research reveals toiling from kitchen and dining room tables and couches is taking a serious physical toll.
Research reveals toiling from kitchen and dining room tables and couches is taking a serious physical toll.

Working from home can be a pain in the neck

Stay-at-home workers toiling from kitchen and dining room tables and couches are exposing themselves to potential neck, shoulder and back niggles.

New research reveals only two in five Australians working from home because of COVID-19 have a dedicated office or study, prompting many to improvise.

Two-thirds are working without a proper desk chair, and one-quarter are not using a desk, according to an Empirica Research survey for Officeworks.

The survey questioned 1000 Australians based at home during the pandemic.

Most were working mainly out of the kitchen or living area, a spare room, or their bedroom.

Jordan Lees, director of the Ergonomic Physio, said it was important for people to take regular short breaks.

Brittany Pullen has been working from home at her dining table. Picture: Rob Leeson
Brittany Pullen has been working from home at her dining table. Picture: Rob Leeson

"If you know you can sit with the same posture for an hour before you feel uncomfortable, get up and move after 45 minutes, even just to get a drink of water, to prevent little niggles developing into pain or discomfort," Mr Lees said.

A common problem for those using laptops was looking down at the screen and straining the neck and shoulders.

This could be avoided by using a separate keyboard and mouse, and propping the laptop on books or a stand so your eye line was in the top third of the screen.

Working at benches or tables that were too high could lead to shrugging of the shoulders or leaning forward, increasing strain on the shoulders, neck and back.

"To ease the stress, sit on a cushion and use books as a footrest," he said.

Brittany Pullen, from Mentone, has been working from her dining table using a laptop, monitors and separate keyboard and mouse, rather than her usual standing desk.

"I've definitely noticed having a bit more neck and shoulder pain. I'm doing some exercise classes during my lunch break and go outside to stretch my legs," she said.

The survey, conducted late last month, found two in five people were enjoying working from home more than they had expected.

karen.collier@news.com.au

Originally published as How working from home can be a pain in the neck



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