How should I sit at my desk?

September 6, 2016   //   No Comments

If you’ve got to sit at work, or if you simply want to, how exactly should you be sitting?  If you work with computers, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Go through the following checklist, and see where you’re letting yourself down.

  • Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor. This is easier with desktop PCs, but a struggle with laptops where the keyboard and screen are fixed close together.
  • Your shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high and hunched up. You should feel like you’re not lifting your shoulders.
  • Your lower arms should be parallel to the floor. They should rest on a support, rather than being held up.
  • You shouldn’t be reaching too far for your keyboard and mouse. You should be able to control them easily with arms bent at the elbow.
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor. Just putting your toes on the floor isn’t enough!
  • Your upper back should be straight. Your lower back has a natural curve that should be supported by your chair.
  • You shouldn’t slouch in your chair. Your hips should be as close to the back of the chair as possible.
  • Your upper legs should be at a 90° angle from your body. If you’re short, this may mean that you need a footrest. If you’re particularly tall, you’ll need a higher chair (and may also require a higher desk).
  • You should be sitting up straight and your screen should be a full arm’s length away from you.
  • You shouldn’t be leaning to one side. It can be tempting to rest on one arm, but this causes your spine to curve.

Poor posture can affect almost every part of your body. It’s common to get pains in the elbow or wrist joints as a result of not sitting properly.  Poor posture can lead to repetitive strain injury (RSI). Hunched shoulders might cause neck pain and even headaches.  It’s recommended that you change position at least every 30 minutes.  Instead of trying to find multiple good positions to sit in, take the opportunity to have a quick walk every 30 minutes. Stand up and go to get a drink, take a toilet break or just walk up and down the corridor, then sit back in your ‘good posture’ position. You should also consider walking or standing meetings, and aim to take your lunch break away from your desk, incorporating a brisk walk. You will find that the more you move the better you concentrate.

Read more on this subject at the Government’s FitforWork website.