The first sip of coffee, and you’re ready to start your workday! You check your emails, have some meetings, and without even realizing it’s already 6 p.m. Your back and neck hurt, and you’re experiencing a low headache. You probably think it’s normal, especially after a long day. But probably all these symptoms are consequences of having a bad sitting posture.
Of course, if you look online for those symptoms, Dr. Google probably scares you by saying you have a weird alien disease.
Having a bad sitting posture has turned into a reality for many, considering that most people started working from home because of the pandemic. The change was so sudden that people had to juggle to find a quiet spot in the house and create a decent home office.
Now that many companies allow employees to continue working remotely, finding out the best ways to fix posture while working from home is essential.
5 Signs of Bad Sitting Posture
Have you ever really wondered what happens when you sit in a bad posture for a prolonged amount of time? Most of us are on autopilot mode and think that sitting for 8 hours a day is normal. However, when this is a usual practice for many years, the consequences can be pretty bad. Among the effects of bad sitting posture, you’ll find:
Forward Head Carriage
This is one of the most common signs of having bad posture. According to Healthline, forward head posture (FHP) is when your head is positioned with your ears in front of your body’s vertical midline. When you have a neutral head posture, your ears line up with your shoulders and midline.
Consequences of FHP: Neck pain, unbalanced gait, stiffness.
Slumped shoulders occur when you’re sitting for extended periods leaning forward and staring at a computer screen. In other words, likely all remote workers have experience sitting this way.
The first sign of slumped shoulders is that your shoulders are not sitting backward. Also, keep in mind how much your chest sticks out. If your shoulders are leaned forward, it depresses your chest. This causes the muscles in your chest to tighten as well as your neck.
Consequences of slumped shoulders: Breathing issues and chronic pain.
Most of us spent more than 8 hours a day on our computers, and that doesn’t include our cellphones, tv and other types of screens. We tend to think headaches are because of the constant light from the screen, but they are also signs of bad sitting posture.
How are headaches related to bad posture? Because depending on the way you sit down, it puts more or less stress on your neck and spine. Headaches are a consequence of the tension of holding our head.
Having a bad sitting posture while working from home can affect our digestion system. Slouched posture after eating a meal can trigger heartburn caused by acid reflux. It pressures the abdomen, which eventually can slow down the transit process in the intestines. You might not notice a difference during the first months of bad sitting while working from home, but you could start suffering from poor digestion with time.
Can’t Sleep? Check Out Your Sitting Posture
The reason you are not sleeping might be strongly related to the way you sit while working. Bad sleeping is probably one of the worst feelings ever. You feel as if a train hit you and the worst part is that you still need to work and do all your daily tasks.
Not getting enough sleep leads to productivity decrease, more stress, and eventually to serious health problems. According to physicians at Collins Chiropractic, bad posture plays an important part in sleeping problems. Experts noticed that poor sitting posture could lead to problems such as insomnia, apnea, and overall bad sleep.
How Do You Fix Bad Sitting Posture? Easy Hacks for Remote Workers
By now, you are probably aware of your bad sitting posture. Maybe your roommate told you to straighten your back, or you just feel your neck is killing you. Now the question is: are you doing something about it?
The challenge of fixing bad sitting posture while working from home is that we tend to forget eventually that we are trying to fix it. We say to ourselves ‘’I need to sit up straight’’ but then after 30 minutes, our back is more bent than The Exorcist.
If you’re an experienced remote worker or a newbie, here are 5 easy hacks that will make your fix your bad sitting posture:
1. Use Pillows
Having an ergonomic chair is a great method to improve your posture. But let’s face it, not everyone has the budget to invest in them. However, not because of this you need to give up on ways to improve your posture. A lumbar support pillow can drastically help you improve your sitting posture, and the best part of all is that they are not so expensive.
Adding a lumbar support pillow to your chair will help you provide support to your back and overall maintain a good posture throughout your workday.
2. Take Breaks!
Be honest: how many times do you take breaks or stretch out through your workday? There are many jokes about remote workers taking naps or being on their phones, but the reality is that most of us spend hours and hours working – in a terribly bad posture.
Taking breaks to water your plants, play with your pets, make yourself a coffee or something to eat, read some pages of that book you haven’t finished will help you avoid sitting down for a prolonged time and blowing off some work-related stress. If it’s difficult for you to make time for breaks, use an app.
These are some great apps (for free) to encourage breaks:
- Stand Up! The Work Break Timer
- Big Stretch Reminder
3. Have a Designated Working Space – That’s Not Your Bed
Working from bed is the biggest temptation of all remote workers, especially on cold days. But it’s a double-edged sword because while you might be really comfortable, you will likely fall asleep. Our brain automatically associates bed with sleeping or relaxation. According to Healthline and Annie Miller, psychotherapist and behavioral sleep medicine therapist:
“When we use our bed for other activities, like working, reading, watching TV, etc., we create an association with wakefulness. We want the bed to be a cue for sleep, and working in bed weakens this association,” says Miller.
Plus, working from bed also makes you sit on an uneven surface for several hours that will likely curve your back. If you don’t have a working space, create one and try to work there every day. It could be a small desk and a chair, or even working on your kitchen table it’s better than on your bed.
4. Practice, Practice, and Practice
The best hack to fight against bad sitting posture is straightening your back. It sounds simple and even common sense, but we forget about this with so many things to do at work and meetings.
Improving your posture is changing a habit, and like all habits, it takes time to develop—a lot of practice and repetition. Try sighting straight, making sure your screen is at your eye level. To avoid forgetting, you could even set up alarms throughout the day that help you remind you to sit up correctly.
5. Invest in Ergonomic Gear
With the growth of remote workers, companies have also worked hard on producing ergonomic gear. From keyboards to ergonomic chairs, there are many accessories that can change the way you work.
We can’t ignore the fact that buying ergonomic home office gear can be expensive but consider it an investment. A good ergonomic chair will help you adjust your back and neck almost automatically. A stand-up desk will help you change positions throughout the day, or a laptop stand will make your screen rise to your eye level. Consider what things you have and which ones you could buy to improve your working from home experience.
Working Comfortably at Home
There are many easy hacks you can implement to improve your bad sitting posture while working from home – Whether it’s using a pillow to sit down or taking more breaks. Now that remote work is the new norm; it’s crucial to prioritize health! Taking care of the way you sit will consequently help you improve even the way you sleep.