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5 things everyone WFH should know about their body

27 Mar 2023 • 8 min read


5 things everyone WFH should know about their joints, bones & muscles

Keeping moving is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness. Which is why at Holland & Barrett, we put all our experience and expertise into helping everyone have the strength and flexibility they need to move freely and without pain. The key to all of which is healthy joints, bones & muscles.

Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of office workers have shifted to home-based working for the majority of the week. And while this can offer great positives, like not having to commute and having a bit more flexibility, it might be having an impact on your body, potentially causing joint pain and stiffness. Here, we’ll highlight five different things you need to know about working from home and the different ways it can affect your body.

1. You might find yourself aching

First up, is the aching. While office days can be tiring, usually your set up is designed to keep any unwanted aches and pains at bay. Whereas at home, we don’t necessarily have the access or money to the same level of safety. So you might be achy even if you’re in your early twenties, it’s not just something that affects older folks!

Setting up your workstation

This is why it’s super important to assess your workstation, as this can have a huge impact on your posture. Great Britain’s regulator of workplace health and safety shared the following tips in their guide to working with display screen equipment:1

  • Forearms should be approximately horizontal and the user’s eyes should be the same height as the top of the screen 
  • Make sure there is enough space to for all documents or other equipment 
  • Make sure there is space under the desk to move your legs 
  • Avoid excess pressure from the edge of seats on the backs of legs and knees 
  • A footrest may be helpful, particularly for smaller users 
  • A space in front of the keyboard can help you rest your hands and wrists when not typing 
  • Try to keep your wrists straight when typing

2. You might experience back pain

Again, back pain is something that people of all ages can experience when working from home. This shift in environment can sometimes make it harder for people to get a healthy work-life balance, potentially leading to longer working hours and longer sat at your desk. In fact, recent UK statistics found that 40% of the participants reported increased musculoskeletal pain, like back ache, since working from home – so you’re not alone!2

3. Your pain might impact your mental health

Since our physical health is intertwined with our mental health, it comes as no surprise that discomfort like back ache can have a knock-on effect.3 And since a lot of UK-based office workers reported higher levels of musculoskeletal pain, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself to see if your aches and pains are having a wider impact.2 If you know you fall into this category, don’t worry. As a starting point, check out all the different kinds of resources for managing persistent pain and mental health.

4. You might be moving less

Without the commute and walking around the office during the day, a lot of people who work from home find that they’re moving a lot less in general. This is why it’s super important for home-based workers to get regular movement in throughout the day. Whether that’s doing some leg exercises during your lunch break, or taking a teams call while out on a walk – there are loads of little changes you can make to try and increase your physical activity.

Top tip: Since you don’t have to commute anymore, why not take yourself on a walk before opening your laptop in the morning and just after closing it in the evening? It’s a surefire way to get more steps in!

5. It’s important to de-stress at the end of the day

As we mentioned earlier, achieving a healthy work-life balance can be tricky when working from home – especially if you work in a room that should normally be for relaxation! Try to set yourself clear boundaries, like working no later than five o’clock for example. Also, if you opt to do a physical or virtual yoga session straight after work, this should help you to de-compress after a long day and move your body – win win!

The final say

There’s no shame in feeling creaky in your joints, no matter what age you are! Working from home is new to a lot of us, so we’re still figuring out how to make it work it in the best way for our bodies. Looking for more? We’ve got loads of guidance on looking after your joints, bones and muscles right here on the Health Hub.


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