The first rule of WFH? Get your posture in check!
Love it or hate it, working from home has become the ‘new normal’ for many of us. Whether your dining table is doubling up as a desk, or you’re slumming it on the sofa, chances are your posture is taking a hit.
So, what can you do? First up, you’ll need to scrub up on how to sit properly. We’ve created a simple ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ checklist below.
• Support your lower back
• Put both feet on the floor (use a foot rest if you need to)
• Have your screen at eye level
• Keep your keyboard straight in front of you
• Keep your elbows in towards your ribs while typing (90-degree angle, please!)
• Place frequently used objects within easy reach
• Keep your computer mouse close
With a bit of practice, good posture will become second nature.
Try not to:
• Cross your legs
• Wrap your feet around your chair legs
• Hunch over
• Lift your shoulders up
• Poke your chin up
Support your lower back
If you don’t have access to a real desk chair at home, don’t panic. Although ergonomic chairs are your best bet, lodging a cushion or rolled-up towel behind your lower back is a great substitute. This will add a little bit of support and could help prevent back pain, like sciatica. Find out more about back pain over here.
Place both feet on the floor
Knees? Right angle. Feet? Flat on the floor.
Although it’s tempting to wrap your feet around your chair legs, or sit cross legged, try your best to avoid this. If your feet don’t quite reach the floor, grab yourself a foot rest – a box or stack of books will do the trick, too.
Place your screen at eye level
Although laptops are great for flexible working, they’re often the root of back, neck and shoulder niggles. Whether you grab a shoe box, a stack of books, or treat yourself to an actual stand, try to ensure your laptop screen is placed directly in front of you at eye level. A good guide is to place the laptop about an arm's length away.
Use a separate keyboard & mouse
We’re all guilty of hunching over our laptops every now and again, but doing it too often could cause serious discomfort. Once you’ve placed your screen at eye level, you’ll need to get your hands on a separate keyboard and mouse. Aim to leave a gap of about four to six inches at the front of your desk (AKA dining table), so you can rest your wrists in-between typing.
Get your downward dog on
Help ward off aches and pains by taking regular breaks (we’re talking a minute or two every 30 minutes). Whether you get your blood flowing with a couple of calf raises and shoulder shrugs, or you go full on yogi with a few Downward Dogs and Cat-Cows, regular movement is really key.
Put your best foot forward
One of the best things about WFH is the lack of commute, right? Wrong! Although there’s no more cramped bus rides (hallelujah), many of us would use our daily trip to and from the office to squeeze in those all-important steps.
To help keep your Fitbit nice and happy, you could try taking a fake commute (that’s where you take a short walk before and after your working day). Not only will it help ease any WFH-related niggles, but it’ll also help you slip in and out of ‘work mode’. If the fake commute isn’t for you, aim to take a 30-minute lunch walk instead. This should give you some headspace so you can return to your desk feeling refreshed.
If you find that you’re experiencing discomfort while you’re walking, you’re certainly not alone. Designed to relieve aches and pains in the back, legs and feet, and correct your posture and foot alignment, we’ve gathered our top orthotics picks below.
Heel & knee pain
Boots Regular Orthotic (Large)
Endorsed by leading podiatrists (AKA foot specialists), Boots’ Regular Orthotics can help relieve plantar fasciitis (pain on the bottom of your foot, particularly around your heel and arch) and achilles tendonitis (pain along the back of your leg, especially near your heel). Not to mention heel spur pain.
Designed to fit comfortably in any shoe (maybe not high heels…), they’re crafted with anti-bacterial fabric to help keep foot odour at bay. Bonus!
Lower back pain
Boots Lower Back Pain Insoles
Developed with leading podiatrists (those foot specialists we mentioned earlier), Boots’ Lower Back Pain Insoles help correct foot and leg alignment, as well as posture. Suitable for plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and heel spurs, they can help reduce pesky pain and pressure.
Like the Regular Orthotics, they’re made with anti-bacterial fabric. No stinky feet here!
Getting more help & advice
Back pain often gets better on its own, but it's a good idea to see a GP if the pain is severe, gets worse, doesn’t start to improve within a few weeks, or if you’re worried.