Working from home bring about many questions that need answering. One of the more important is: Where do you actually work?
On the couch?
At your dining room table?
At the counter?
The answer matters because it’s important to emphasize good posture while working from home to prevent a tight neck, sore back, and aching wrists. And where you’re doing the work may be the problem.
Proper posture while seated should include your feet flat on the ground, directly underneath the knees. The legs form right angles with your butt on the chair and your knees coming out directly straight from your hips. You want to avoid having your legs hanging from a chair that’s too tall or sitting in a cramped style.
Moving up the body, focus on the spine being in the proper orientation. Often the spine rounds forward as you’re typing on your computer or working on something in front of you. Fix this by bringing the abs in toward the spine, lifting the chest and rolling back the shoulders. You want your shoulders to be arranged over your ribs, and your ribs to be arranged over your hips.
Next, bring back your head so that your chin is over your sternum or your breast bone — not extending forward over your body.
Finally, rest your arms on a desk or surface that provides a 90-degree angle so that your elbows can be bent at your sides and your forearms stretched out in front of you onto your computer or surface.
Ideally, you’d have your computer monitor at eye height and your elbows hugged in at the sides of your waist. However, if you’re working on a laptop computer, that is near impossible without an external keyboard. So, focus on the elbows hugging in at your sides with your forearms extended out to the keyboard, and look down to the computer screen with your eyes while keeping your spine in alignment and your chin back.
Problems and their solutions
Depending on where you’re sitting, you may find that it is introducing new problems into the equation. But problems often have solutions.
Problem: The chair is too high.
Solution: Put books, boxes, or an ottoman underneath your feet so that your legs make a 90-degree angle — your knees stack over your ankles and your knees come straight out from your hips.
Problem: Sagging on the couch.
Solution: Sit upright on the couch with pillows behind your back, or sit sideways on the couch with your back against the armrest and your legs straight out in front of you.
Problem: Lying in bed.
Solution: Prop yourself up with pillows behind you, pillows underneath your arms and pillows underneath your legs. You want to have your knees bent and your arms propped up so that the elbows are at the same height as the sides of your body.
Problem: Standing and hunched over a counter.
Solution: Prop your computer up onto boxes or magazines so that you can look at your computer at eye level instead of tilting your head down.
Breaks from work
Even if you are in perfect posture while working, standing up to take a break, stretch, and move your body is imperative. Getting up every 30 minutes is what’s recommended according to current research.
However, you choose to work, focus on stretching your body rather than tensing or rounding yourself into a ball. Stretching the neck, spine, and torso, and supporting the lower body with a stable foundation (90 degrees at the hips and knees), will help you create your perfect work-from-home posture.