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Posture! Posture! Posture! Are You Sitting Comfortably?

A lot of clients who visit complain of neck and shoulder issues. A good majority of these clients are working for prolonged periods on computers/laptops, and often working at home. A few people have mentioned to me recently that they work from home on their laptops whilst sat on a sofa.

Your body is screaming at you because of your prolonged incorrect posture. Please do some internet searches on Ergonomic Desk Set Up or workstation assessments – there will be heaps of images that show how you should have your desk area set up to support your posture – but, when working from home, space doesn’t always allow for a proper desk and office chair.

During lockdown and my temporary business closure of 18 months, I did a remote administration job, which often meant about 7 hours a day on a laptop at my kitchen table. Very quickly I was experiencing neck and shoulder pain.

In the absence of a desk and office chair for this temporary role and working at my kitchen table, in order to support my posture I invested in additional items to help support my posture;

  • Bolster/posture correcting cushions to adapt my kitchen chair, to raise my seating height and provide lumbar support to my spine

  • An ergonomic keyboard wirelessly connected to my laptop, to reduce RSI in my wrists from the small cramped laptop keyboard that instantly made me hunch over.

  • An ergonomic mouse, which allows your wrist to be at a more natural position than the standard mouse or laptop mousepad.

  • An additional/separate height adjustable screen, so I wasn’t looking down at the laptop screen all the time. When seated correctly, the top of your screen should be roughly in line with your eyes, so you’re not tilting your head down to read the screen.

  • You might also wish to consider a headset if you're on the phone a lot too to avoid holding the phone with your shoulder (I did that for years in a previous customer service role)

All of these items were reasonably priced from Amazon, if you’re self-employed. If you are employed, ask your employer if they can provide any items to support you working from home, or if it’s something you can purchase and claim back. If you’re office based, ask for a work station assessment to be carried out so adjustments can be made for and with you in order to support you.

I’m not medically trained, I speak from experience of not looking after my posture when I was younger. 30 years being sat at a desk, years of high heels throwing me out of alignment and 2 lots of surgery for prolapsed discs – because I didn’t look after my posture when I was younger.

Although we’re advised not to spend too long sat in the same position and to move regularly, I know that this is not always possible, depending on your job – maybe get up to get a glass of water or a cuppa more often and do some stretches while you’re making your drink.

There is some useful information on the Health & Safety Executive’s website, with a short video tutorial of workstation set up for display screen use:

If you are employed, speak to your employer for support if needed. If you are self-employed then you need to carry out your workspace assessment yourself. Either way ensures you’re looking after yourself and your body.

Take care of yourself, much love, Laura

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