Since our grandmothers aren’t with us at work to tell us to sit up straight, I’ll take up the slack.
Really, you should sit up straight. Slouching and other bad postural patterns make you hurt and sap your productivity.
Here’s a head-to-toe checklist for good desk posture. This list assumes that you have an adjustable office chair.
- Plant your feet firmly on the floor slightly in front of you. If they don’t reach the floor easily, get a foot rest.
- Place your lower leg perpendicular to the floor.
- Place your upper leg/thigh parallel to the floor, at a 90-degree angle to your lower leg.
- Lean back just a bit with your torso so it is at slightly more than 90-degree angle to your thighs. You’re leaning back just the tiniest bit.
- Support your low back with your chair back and/or a lumbar roll or a rolled-up towel.
- Lift up your breast bone (sternum). This is the opposite of slouching.
- Raise the back of your head toward the ceiling (my tai chi teachers used to tell me to picture a thread lifting my head up).
- Let your arms hang freely at your sides.
- Hold your forearms at a 90-degree angle to your upper arm for typing, writing, and other desk work.
- Keep your wrists loose and straight (neither flexed nor extended).
A Few Desk-Posture Don’ts
- Don’t cradle the phone between your head and shoulder. Get a headset instead or use a speakerphone.
- Don’t reach. Keep your keyboard and mouse as close to you as possible. Keep frequently used items nearby.
- Don’t just sit there. Get up and move (walk, stretch, bunny hop) every 20 minutes or so.