Working from the dining room table on a wooden dining chair? Sat for long periods of time at a low desk that you have to hunch over? Even if you’ve been working from home for a long period of time, there’s a possibility that your existing office set up isn’t hugely beneficial to your posture and overall wellbeing. For many, supportive office chairs, ergonomic keyboards, foot supports and screens at an appropriate height are a luxury and not a priority – it’s the billable hours that are most important, right? I’m afraid not.  Long periods of time sat in an uncomfortable and unsupported position can result in long term pain and discomfort, which in turn can hamper your productivity.

Don’t worry though, there are simple things that you can do to make your office a healthy and happy space:

Invest in a supportive office chair that provides adequate support for your lower back – this is an absolute must! Yes, a stool or dining chair may be convenient (and cheap), but if you work from home long-term, a good quality, supportive office chair is an important investment.  The Evening Standard recently wrote an article on affordable, quality office chairs - you can find it here if you’d like to learn more: https://www.standard.co.uk/shopping/esbest/home-garden/best-ergonomic-office-chairs-home-a4469786.html 

Raise your screen to eye level – looking down (or up!) at your computer screen can cause neck and back discomfort.  If you can invest in a large screen for your computer, I would strongly recommend it to ensure that both your eyes and neck aren’t overly strained by looking down at a small laptop.  Alternatively, why not raise your screen up on a box or specialist stand? If you’ve got a laptop, you can purchase separate keyboards that you can keep at desk level to help ensure that you aren’t over stretching your arms by raising your machine!

Don’t over reach for your keyboard, mouse, phone, etc. – keep everything close and in front of you! Twisting and over-reaching for long periods of time can cause pain and discomfort. Keep your keyboard in front of you and your mouse close to tackle this.

Try anti-glare glasses – if you are on your computer, or looking at screens for long periods of time throughout the day, why not consider some anti-glare and blue-light blocking glasses (or lenses, if you are already a glasses wearer)? This can help reduce eye strain and help to tackle the negative impact of blue-light on your brain, which can interfere with sleep[1] and have an impact on your mental wellbeing.

Take regular breaks – 5 minutes break in every hour is an absolute must if you have a sedentary job.  Yes, if you’re in the flow of work, it may feel like an unwelcome distraction, but it’s really important when it comes to your physical and mental wellbeing.  In addition to this, make sure that you take a lunch break, and if you can, go for a short walk too. It’s essential to keep moving throughout the day to reduce the negative impact that long periods of sitting down can have on the body.

I recently purchased a sit/stand desk and I can't tell you how much difference it's made - not only to my back but also my energy levels. 

The NHS website has some further useful tips – you can find them here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly/

If you’ve got a few minutes to spare today, why not take a look at your desk set up and see what can be done to help make it a healthier and happier space for you.

 


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