Is working from home beginning to affect your posture? Slouching is a common problem whether you're working from a desk, with your knees up on the sofa, or in a makeshift office in the dining room. Needless to say, an incorrect posture is bad news for your spine long term and is best fixing sooner rather than later. Try making the following simple tweaks to your sitting arrangements to maintain good posture.
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1. Correct posture: make sure you know what it feels like
The first step of knowing how to improve your posture is to figure out what good posture feels like. In order to do that, sit up very straight, lengthening your spine, lifting your neck and head, until you feel your entire spine in a straight line.
This will feel unnatural – and it is, so start relaxing slightly, until your back sinks comfortably and fully into the back of your chair. That is your correct posture: your shoulders should be relaxed and not riding up; your head should be upright and in line with your spine, neither leaning forward nor bending down.
2. Choose the right chair
Often the easiest way to correct your posture while working is by swapping your chair. Getting an adjustable height chair is the easiest way to make sure you can correct your posture, as it will allow you to complete all the other steps. Alternatively, you might want to swap your desk – a common problem is a desk that's too high or too low for working, so pay attention to the desk height when buying a new one.
3. Make sure you are eye level with your computer
Which brings us to one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good posture. When you're sat at your desk, your computer screen should be an arm's length away from you, and level with your eyes. Anything different will cause you to either drop your chin, slouch, or bend your neck in an uncomfortable way. If your current desk isn't allowing for this because it's too low, you might be able to improve the positioning of your laptop with a laptop stand (opens in new tab). If you're working from your desktop, though, you'll need to change the desk itself.
4. Make sure your wrists aren't tilted
This is the main reason why propping up your laptop with books isn't a good idea: your wrists should always be in a neutral position, and your elbows just off your desk. If propping up your laptop is making you bend your wrists, you will be raising your shoulders unnecessarily and potentially getting RSI. Wrist pads are a good short-term solution, but longer term, get a laptop stand or new furniture.
5. Keep your feet on the floor
To maintain a good posture, your feet should be planted firmly on the floor, allowing your hips and lower back to sink into your chair. If you keep crossing your legs, it could be a sign of a poorly design chair without adequate lumbar support. Try a lumbar cushion as the first solution, but consider replacing the chair, too.