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Working from home: how to set up your workspace

5 min read  |   16 April, 2020   By Rachael Down

Modern white desk and orange chair set up for working from home

As working from home looks set to stay for the long haul, we're focusing on how to set up your desk and workstation for optimum health and wellbeing.

From equipment essentials to alignment advice, we thought we'd share our best ways to set up your desk while working from home. 

Here's our run down of the essential working from home:

Equipment for working at home

Let's set the scene. Quite literally.

You need a tablet/ desktop/ laptop/ and or monitor, plus a phone and wifi connection. Find a table/desk and a chair where you can rest your elbows at a 90 angle by the keyboard.

According to DSE guidance and our in-office demo with Posture People last year, it's best to position the top of the computer screen in line with your eyes. Our office hero, Jacqui ordered us laptop and monitor stands to help with this.

For those looking for more creative, DIY working-from-home solutions, you can try books, Yellow Pages, wooden blocks or even magazines. (Or click on the link above.)

posture people wfh desk

If you don't have a dedicated space or desk, don't worry. According to Posture People's director and founder, Jo Blood any table will do:

Your kitchen table is the perfect place to start but be aware that they're typically around 3cm higher than your average office desk and your kitchen chair is 3cm lower.  

Make up for this by using cushions to add height to your chair and support your lumbar 

But what if you don't have a swanky office ergonomic chair? Further options include:

  • Stand up desk. The same alignment cues apply here. elbows at 90 and weight evenly distributed, spine straight and screen in line with the eyebrows. Inspired to dabble in stand desk DIY? Here's what not to do from Posture People. 
  • Working from a sofa. It's not ideal but needs must. So protect your back. Check out Posture People's suggestions for sofa-working best practice, here
  • Gym balls. Yes, you read that right. Whether you're a gym-ball veteran or new to the unconventional joys of bouncy seated-support, it's certainly one way to stay on the ball at work. From anti-burst technology to SitFit cushions, Posture People sets the story straight with this helpful blog.

Working from home COVID-19 help


Looking for more working from home advice, best ways and top tips? Great. Head to our COVID-19 help page for SMEs. Together, we'll work through this.

Sit up nicely

Humans, ergonomically speaking aren't designed for sedentary lifestyles, especially long-periods of the day spent inside and sat down in front of a screen. 

That's why it's good to understand which positions can protect your body, help digestion and improve circulation as well as the ones to avoid at all costs. 

  • The body likes symmetry, balance and harmony. So alignment is key.
  • Sit up straight at your desk with your weight evenly over your seat bones. 
  • Balance roots at the bottom, so let's begin at our feet. 
  • Sit on the chair and look to your toes. Ground yourself to either the floor by lowering your chair, or adding a footrest. 
  • Where are your knees? If there's more than an index fingers' worth of space between the front of the chair and the back of your knees, you need an adjustment. 

Back cushions or rests are advised here and like the other equipment, is available for home delivery. Jacqui bought ours at Amazon.co.uk.

posture people wfh desk 2

Stretch from your desk

It's priceless advice. Swivel that seat away from the screen and out of your working from home office.

It took me 5,000 miles, a solo trip to India and a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification to understand just how important it is for your mind and wellbeing to keep moving and breathe consciously.

Here's some tips I picked up along the way that could help you stay healthy and aligned while working from home. 

Taking the time to pause in between tasks and stretch frequently throughout the day increases productivity as well as supports employee health and wellbeing. 

To re-energise and focus, let's start with the neck

Stress, anxiety and suppressed tension collect at the neck and the tops of the shoulders.

  • Inhale, lift your shoulders up to your ears then exhale as you roll them back and release. 
  • Look to the top of your screen or webcam, inhale, stretch your right ear right shoulder, exhale back to the centre.
  • Repeat on the other side and remember to take it slow. 

Lady stretching at her desk-min

Seated twists for digestion

To help digestion, support the spine and balance energy levels throughout the day, always start your twist on the right side of your body. This helps to massage your intestines and push waste through the colon.

  • Remain seated in the chair with your feet flat on the floor/footrest.
  • Straighten your spine and roll your shoulders back so your torso is upright. 
  • Inhale, lift both arms above the head, really stretching through the fingertips. Without moving the position of your arms or shoulders, twist to the right and release your arms in front as you exhale. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 

Protect your eyes

Consider the lighting and check your screen brightness settings. If you suffer from headaches, eye strain and blurred vision, check out screen dimming extensions and add-ons for your desktop. We like f.lux, which automatically adjusts screen brightness to the time of day. 

Eye stretches. Yes, your eyes are muscles so need a good stretch as much as the rest of them. Start by looking up, down, side to side and then diagonally direct your focus to each corner of the room.  

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