- Most working online during Covid-19 are doing so without the best desk, chair, or other equipment that would prevent strain on the body
- Make sure to take breaks and stretch your hands and wrist, or you could be at risk of carpal tunnel
A year of online classes will have confirmed this for you: working at a desk all day is tough on the body.
The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating this problem because many people who are now mainly studying and working remotely do so under unsuitable conditions, according to orthopaedist Michel Lehnert.
“Hardly anyone has the optimal desk and chair at home with the perfect seat height, a good mouse
pad and a good keyboard,” says Lehnert, who is also the author of a book that focuses on the strain put on the hands if you don’t work in an ergonomic position.
Taking regular breaks is therefore important, as it gives the hands a rest from a constant typing position, the Germany-based expert recommends. Around five minutes of stretching your fingers and arms for every hour of desk work should be enough, he says.
Another helpful exercise is to switch the mouse to your other hand, although admittedly it might take some getting used to. This not only relieves your hand, but is also a great challenge for your mind, Lehnert says.
If you can afford it, switching between a more ergonomic mouse is also a great way to prevent yourself from holding an awkward posture.
Besides the classic mouse, there are also so-called trackball mice or vertical mice, for example, which put the hand into a kind of handshake position.
Lehnert also recommends putting a wrist rest in front of the keyboard, which relieves pressure on the wrist and prevents carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the median nerve of the hand is pinched, often causing tingling and numbness in the fingers.
When it comes to preventing and counteracting damage from desk work, there’s nothing better than exercise. Almost any sport is suitable for relieving the strain on the hands.
However, Lehnert is a fan of yoga in particular, because it not only puts the hands in a “strong stretching position,” but also opens up the entire upper body.