Working from home rose to popularity once the pandemic shuttered offices around the world. Now three years later, many people are still working out of their living rooms and kitchens.
New data from McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey reveals 58% of Americans have the option of working from at least once a week. More than a third (35%) of respondents can do so five days a week.
If you’re now working from home for most (if not all) of your week, it’s time to rethink your setup. An improvised workspace at the kitchen table or living room couch worked when you weren’t sure if it would be permanent. Now that it is, a bad workspace can lead to serious injuries.
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How Can You Injure Yourself While Working from Home?
In the grand scheme of workplace injuries, most people picture labor jobs that involve heavy machinery. But even your cushy at-home office job can be a safety risk.
But unlike many onsite workplace accidents, your work-from-home (WFH) injuries don’t happen in an instant; they’re mostly caused by repetitive strain that accumulates over time.
Roughly three years is more than enough time to cause plenty of aches and pains. Two of the most common ones are repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and pinched nerves.
1. Pinched Nerves
Sitting out of alignment for eight hours a day can cause pinched nerves. No part of your body is safe—you can pinch a nerve in your neck, spine, legs, and arms.
You’ve probably heard other people complaining about sciatica, one of the most common pinched nerves. It causes shooting pains from your lower back down to your foot.
2. Repetitive Strain Injuries
RSIs at home are usually caused by typing and using a mouse for long periods of time. Overuse can lead to Bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Tendonitis.
Treating These Injuries Can Be Expensive
Bursitis and sciatica aren’t conditions you can easily ignore. Depending on their severity, they can interfere with your ability to work and your overall quality of life.
Unfortunately, treatment for RSIs and pinched nerves is often expensive. It involves costly doctor’s visits, physiotherapy, painkillers, and even x-rays.
If you’re lucky, you have an emergency fund for these expenses, or your employer offers medical insurance to cover these costs. But what if your out-of-pocket expenses are higher than you expect?
In an emergency, you might consider an online loan. You can research these loans by phone whenever you get the chance. You can also apply for personal loans over the phone at any time, as most online financial institutions provide these applications on their mobile and desktop site 24/7.
What You Can Do to Avoid Injuries
Knowing you can apply for online loans by phone gives you financial peace of mind. But it doesn’t matter how you pay for PT or anti-inflammatory drugs. If you injure yourself seriously enough, you’ll be paying money either way.
With this in mind, adjust your at-home office to reduce the risk of hurting yourself during your 9–5.
- Support Your Lumbar: The lumbar spine usually doesn’t get enough support. Consider adding a lumbar cushion or upgrading to a chair to preserve the natural “S” curve of your spine.
- Remember the 90° Rule: Your upper legs should be 90° to your shins, and your forearms should be 90° to your upper arms. This keeps your ankles, hips, wrists, and shoulders in better alignment. You may have to adjust your chair and desk to achieve these angles.
These little tweaks can protect you, whether you WFH a couple days a week or every day.