51% of home office workers are aware that their workspace is not correctly set up to support their posture.
This year, many people found themselves working at home (WFH) unexpectedly. Not everyone has the luxury of having a home office. Many people have had to create makeshift office environments whether this is using a kitchen table or simply sitting on your bed.
Many of us have been working from home for a number of months now. Enjoying those extra 10 minutes in bed, familiarising ourselves with zoom and nailing the pyjama bottom look. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has changed the way we work for the foreseeable.
Countless medical professionals have warned of the potential damage working from home can cause with incorrect ergonomics. Many people are finding themselves hunched on their bed all day or perched on an uncomfortable chair. In an office environment, extensive measures are taken to ensure a duty of care for each employee’s physical and mental health. This, in many cases, is not extended to the remote working environment.
Simply type ‘wfh posture’ into Twitter and you are met with an onslaught of people who, after a number of months, are feeling the negative impacts of WFH. This is as a result of numerous factors from solely using a laptop, using the bed as an office or just the smaller space one has to work in. So what’s the solution to helping with WFH posture?
Here are our top WFH posture tips:
1. Avoid the sofa (or couch American friends!)
As tempting as it is to plonk yourself down on the familiar sofa, it has been argued to be the worst place to work for extended periods of time.
How do you feel when you sit on your sofa? Relaxed? Slumped? This is why! Your sofa actually encourages you to slump, round your shoulders and put your head forward. We are creatures of habit, you can’t help but relax and slump. This can ultimately lead to poor posture, particularly rounded shoulders. Rounded shoulders are one of the main culprits when it comes to poor posture.
If you can, try and organise an office chair in your home through your work. Alternatively, try a different seat that doesn’t encourage the forward head position. Avoiding sitting on the sofa all day could prove massively beneficial for your physical health.
2. Get a keyboard and a mouse.
Remember those? It may be months since you were last acquainted with a keyboard and mouse but it’s really important you become reunited.
Did you know that laptops have notoriously damaging effects on posture?
Using a laptop requires the hunched position which promotes poor posture. Imagine how you would sit typing at a keyboard, then imagine how you would sit typing on a laptop. You can visualise the difference, right?
If you haven’t already, it is definitely worth investing in a keyboard and a mouse to connect to your laptop. This will allow you to be more mindful of your posture and avoid being in the hunched position all day.
3. Move around
WFH, for many people, has led to higher levels of inactivity. Did you used to commute to work? You may not have considered it as ‘activity’ but even just the walk into the office, running down some stairs to catch the train or if you were lucky enough to walk to work – it all adds activity and movement to your day! With this necessity gone, it’s more important than ever to make a conscious effort to move.
Ensure you get up and move every 30 minutes.
If you can pop out for a walk; do it! It’s great to escape the pressures of work and to get some fresh air. If not, simply standing up and stretching for 30 seconds can be massively beneficial. A great way of ensuring you are moving frequently is to set yourself a reminder; you can do this with a phone reminder or if you’re feeling more retro, stick a post-it note on your workstation that says ‘MOVE’. Just get moving!
4. Focus on how you are sitting
This may sound strange, but it’s very important to engage with how you are sitting. How do you sit? When you are next working, jot down some of the things you notice. Maybe you lean forward on your elbow, or cross your legs. This may feel very natural, you probably don’t notice that you do this. If you have noticed pain in your lower back or neck, it could be as a result of the way you are sitting.
There is a proper way of sitting at a desk chair. They don’t teach you this in school! Ensure your hips are towards the back of the chair and that your feet are flat on the ground. If possible, make sure the chair is high enough so that your knees are lower (or the same height) as your hips. If you can, ensure the back is fully supported by reclining the chair slightly.
This may feel strange at first but the more you focus on sitting correctly it will become natural. Underneath that post-it note you have already, try writing ‘SIT’. This can act as a reminder to sit correctly.
5. Make posture your priority
We all have a lot to think about at the moment. But while you are working it’s really important to keep your posture in your mind. Making an active effort to engage with your posture is the best way to combat the potential damaging effects of WFH.
Try some of our rounded shoulders exercises. Go for a walk. Do some exercise. All of these things can help with poor posture.
If you want to go one step further to making an active effort to improve your posture, investing in a PostureKey is a no-brainer. Integrating 15 minutes lying on the PostureKey into your WFH routine is incredibly beneficial for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Lying on PostureKey allows your body to relax and realign after a day of prolonged sitting and inactivity. Remote working lifestyle is ever-changing dependent on the individual. PostureKey can offer a constant reminder and remedy for posture-related problems that occur as a result of WFH.
Including all of these tips into your WFH routine could really make all the difference to your physical and mental health. Recognising the huge shift from your previous working routine to now and then adapting to make it better allows you to use the WFH lifestyle to the fullest. Avoiding work-related injury and prioritising posture is necessary as we continue to adopt a remote working culture globally.
Do you have any WFH tips or tricks? We would love to hear them!