Everybody hurts: What working from home is doing to your body


Your kitchen table wasn’t crafted to torture you. And yet many of us who are working from home or in front of a screen all day is in pain and discomfort and looking to our couches and dining room tables with a sense of betrayal. However, it’s not all IKEA’s fault; the way we position ourselves can have a direct impact on our bodies.

And, months into a pandemic, part of the issue stems from treating our ad-hoc, at-home work stations as though we aren’t actually crouched there for hours upon hours, five days a week.

Rachel Mitchell is an ergonomist, consultant, and president of the Canadian College for the Certification of Canadian Ergonomists (CCCPE). She says despite being eight months into the pandemic, “everyone’s treating this like it’s temporary. I think people are not taking the time to stop and figure out what a workstation is supposed to look like, what kind of equipment you’re supposed to have.”

She recommends asking your employer if you can take home the pieces of your old work-life that are collecting dust in the office, whether it’s your chair, second monitor, or keyboard, and mouse. Apart from that, there are things you can do to prevent the aches and pains that can come from being in front of your laptop or phone all day.

We identified a few positions that we often find ourselves slipping into and asked Mitchell to walk us through what exactly we’re doing to our bodies — and how to feel better today and prevent sore necks and tight shoulders tomorrow.

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