Does the term workplace posture sound odd to you? Posture is posture, you may think. Why would it be any different in the workplace than it is elsewhere?
The simple answer is that stress can cause us to forget about good posture, and most of us experience more stress in the workplace than we do elsewhere. We also engage in activities in the workplace that we don’t necessarily do when we’re while we’re relaxing at home or away on holiday.
What is workplace posture?
Many of us spend much of our day in an office. So, maintaining good posture in the workplace ensures we have good posture for most of the day. Once you master workplace posture, you’ll also be able to carry yourself well everywhere else.
The way you sit all day has a direct effect on your body. If you sit incorrectly hour after hour, how can you expect to stand correctly at the end of the day? It’s easy to get into habits that are not anatomically healthy.
The first thing to do is take steps to be sure you have a proper environment for good posture. Let’s look at how your workstation is set up. Does it help you maintain healthy workplace posture, or is it hindering that goal?
Here is a checklist you can use as a guide
• Make sure your chair supports your lower back. Your feet should rest firmly on the ground slightly in front of you when you’re seated, so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle. You can also rest your feet on a footrest.
• Your computer monitor should be directly in front of you, an arm’s length away. Your eyes should be at the same level as the tool bar.
• Position your mouse close to you near the edge of the desk so you can maintain good posture while using it.
• Keep your keyboard centred directly in front of you near the edge of the desk.
Correct Workplace Posture
Now that your workstation is set up correctly, how do you know if you are sitting with correct workplace posture? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
• Are you sitting with your back straight, maintaining all three natural curves of your spine?
• Is your weight evenly distributed on both hips?
• Is your head and neck aligned over your shoulders?
• Are you sitting back in your chair? Is the back of the seat supporting your back?
If you answered no to any of these questions, there’s room to improve your workplace posture.
It’s also important to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Get up from your chair often. Take a walk, and stretch. Better still, take an exercise break. Consider getting some colleagues together for a lunchtime or after work Pilates class with me, which includes relaxation. If you get 6 or more of you together then the price for a 45 minute session will be £5 per person.
When it comes to exercise and posture, there’s no better option than Pilates. Pilates focuses on body awareness and teaches you how to move more efficiently. When you practice Pilates, you learn to the deep core muscles—abdominals, back, and pelvic floor—that support your posture. With better posture, your shoulders will relax, your neck and head will move more freely, and there will be less stress on your hips, legs, and feet.
Good posture is key to maintaining a healthy body, so make sure your workplace posture works for you, not against you!