It’s time to DESKERCISE! RSI has always been a hot topic at the Chapter Friday office. As you might know, Yara’s been dealing with multiple repetitive strain injuries since 2014 to the point she couldn’t even hold a pen properly (you can read more about her journey here, here and here), and it looks like RSI’s spreading like a contagious decease: the whole team is struggling nowadays.
We know we’re not alone in this one. Anyone who uses a computer and phone regularly is at risk, so to speak. And a lot of people (yep, guilty) make excuses when it comes to working ergonomically in the office. We try to keep an eye on each other (‘use your extended keyboard!’). But are you taking care of yourself? We’re happy to share our tips that we learned along the way. And please, share your tips&experiences in the comment section below. Let’s help a girl out.
Print & stick
We asked the awesome Marie Bodié to illustrate some easy exercises that help you prevent injury and relax your body at the same time. All you have to do is print (preferably A3 for extra impact) and stick it on your wall. We hope this colorful poster will act as a gentle reminder that you shouldn’t stay cramped in the same position the whole day. Want more? We’ve got some more exercises for you over here.
Ready, set? Walk!
What we learned along the way: it’s important to take a walk every now and then and stretching your body (see above) after sitting still for longer periods of time. Our top tip: set a schedule to alert you every hour during your workday. Every time your alarm starts ringing, you take a walk for five minutes. Don’t like walking aimlessly? Take a walk to the coffee machine, to the bathroom or go and treat yourself to some fresh water. Try and take a longer walk preferably outside twice a day.
Working remotely is now easier than ever. And a lot of freelancers work from places like coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and libraries. However, most of these places aren’t built with workspace ergonomics in mind. Try and make it as ergonomic possible: invest in a good external keyboard, mouse and laptop stand. Keep your arms bent in an L-shape and your elbows by your sides, place your feet flat on the floor and try and support your back as much as possible. Also: laptop screens aren’t exactly ergonomic: a laptop stand (eye level, please) is crucial. If possible: try and claim the bar table, toss the stool and work from a standing position.
It’s not only our laptop that’s triggering RSI, it’s our iPhone, too. Try and minimalize usage when you’re not at work knowing that excessive use of Whatsapp and Instagram can cause serious wrist pain. Yara’s top tip: “when I have to write a long message in Whatsapp, I type it in web WhatsApp or I use the audio button to give my wrists some rest. I try and use my phone at night as little as possible.”
Illustration: Marie Bodié