FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Social distancing has forced many people to work from home, but not everyone is equipped with a home office. Many have to compromise with a couch or dinner table.
Couches are not built at a 90-degree angle and sitting on them for too long while working can cause some muscle strains.
“Hopefully we had a nice ergonomically designed chair and work station at our office and now we’ve had to make this makeshift office at home,” said Dr. Jennifer Moore, Founding Dean of the School for Occupational Therapy at Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.
Working from home does have its benefits though.
“I can kinda get up, walk around and get a cup of coffee,” said teacher Marie McHaffie.
But it can also cause some unusual aches and pains.
"Like a little crick in my neck, so when it starts hurting I try to walk around and stretch maybe do some yoga,” McHaffie said.
Dr. Moore says it doesn't take a state of the art home office to keep your back and knees at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the ground.
“It could be put a pillow in that chair, it could be roll up a towel and put it at the lower part of your back so you have support,” Dr. Moore said.
McHaffie says with students at home she has to change the way she instructs the class.
“Because we're working in Google classroom I’m sitting a lot at the kitchen table,” McHaffie said.
She says walking the dogs every day has become her go-to for getting up and staying active.
"I noticed that the days I stay inside all day I feel worse,” McHaffie said.
Dr. Moore admits that with this sudden change in work and lifestyle, finding the right fit can be difficult.
“It’s taken me about four or five times of rearranging my home office so that I’m comfortable and productive,” Dr. Moore said.
She says it is important to take breaks every 30 minutes and staying static takes more of a toll on your body than being active.