With the recent earthquakes in North Canterbury and subsequent building closures that have affected both the lower North and upper South Island, many people are working in alternative locations at present. The following information is to support and equip those working from home or in different buildings to set up their temporary workstation in order to minimise the risk of developing pain or discomfort.

Our Occupational Health team also thought it was a timely reminder for all of us to think about our own health while working remotely. So we have included tips on setting up your workstation and for forming healthy workplace habits (our brochures can be downloaded below):


Working from home?

If you are working from home these principles still apply, however, you may have some extra challenges in achieving a good working posture. Below are some suggestions on how you can improvise with what you have at home so you can look after yourself during this time of transition.

  • When working at your desk / table try to choose a supportive chair so that your back will be in a supported yet upright position. Experiment with cushions under your seat or behind your back if you need to sit higher or have increased back support.
  • Avoid working in slouched positions on your couch with your neck bent forward for prolonged periods of time – you will soon feel why this isn’t a good idea.
  • If possible, raise your laptop so the top of your screen is in line with your eye level. You can do this by using some books – such as old phone books or those lovely gourmet recipe books you keep meaning to use. You will then need to use a separate keyboard and mouse so that your neck, shoulders and hands can be as relaxed as possible while working.
  • If you work between paper and computer a lot, make an improvised copy holder using a clipboard or solid book with a clip on the top of it or rubber band around it to hold your pages in place. Place this between your separate keyboard and computer screen.

Improvisation is okay – movement is the key!

  • Movement is key when maintaining prolonged postures and particularly if your set-up isn’t ideal. Stand and stretch up tall, roll your shoulders and turn your neck, go for a walk and get some fresh air. Consider standing at the kitchen bench for short periods (with laptop raised if necessary) to provide a different posture. It is also great for stress relief. Refer to our brochure Tips for office stretches for some suggested stretches.
  • If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, ensure you report this immediately to your manager.

We hope these tips are helpful and assist you with looking after yourself while working remotely.