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6 Tips to Improve Your Posture at Work

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It may not be back-breaking labor, but office work can take a toll on your body. Sitting for long periods has serious health consequences.

The good news is, most of them can be avoided or improved with better posture. Sitting upright can boost your energy levels, fight anxiety, and reduce back pain. Mental and physical wellness are valuable in and of themselves, but they can also benefit your job performance. 

Don’t wait to worry about your posture until something goes wrong. Chiropractors aren’t cheap. Get ahead of misalignment issues with these simple steps:

1. Exercise your core muscles. 

Regular exercise is a critical part of your daily routine. And if you want to improve your posture, core exercises are a must. 

When you hear “core,” you might think about your abs. But the core also covers your midsection and trunk, including your lower back and glutes. Those muscles are directly connected to your spine, so they affect your posture. 

Your core workout regimen might look something like:

  • Leg extensions: 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps
  • Sit-ups: 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps
  • Planks: 3 sets, each sustained for one minute 
  • Crunches: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Superman: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps 
  • Back extensions: 1-2 sets of 6-8 reps, each sustained for 15 seconds

If that workout routine looks like a lot, don’t sweat it: Start with a single set of each, and work your way up. 

2. Mind how you sit.

Your biggest obstacle to better posture? How you sit while you work.  

What’s good sitting posture? Practice it by:

  • Sitting on the edge of your seat. 
  • Putting your feet flat on the floor so that you can bend your legs at a 90-degree angle to the ground. 
  • Sitting up as tall as you can without arching your back. 
  • Broadening your chest and pulling your shoulders back. 

Hold that position for as long as you can. Even if it’s uncomfortable, resist the temptation to slouch or use your chair’s backrest. 

3. Adjust your work setup. 

Once sitting properly becomes second-nature, you can tweak your workspace to suit. An ergonomic desk setup will boost your productivity while reminding you to sit upright. 

First, invest in a good chair. Look for one that’s cushioned but not plush, and make sure its height can be adjusted so you can keep your feet firmly planted.

Once you settle on the right chair, think about your equipment:

  • Adjust your chair so that your computer monitor is eye-level. 
  • Keep your keyboard in a comfortable position so that you don’t have to completely extend or bend your elbows to type. 
  • Place your mouse, water bottle, and frequently used items within reach.
  • Situate your printer, fax machine, and infrequently used tools so that you have to get up to use them.

4. Stand up while working.

Who says you have to sit down while working? Standing encourages upright posture, burns more calories than sitting, reduces the risk of heart disease, and keeps you more alert at work.

Invest in a desk that lets you alternate between sitting and standing. You’ll eventually get tired of either position, and many of the health benefits of a standing desk stem from switching between the two.

5. Take breaks frequently.

When you start to feel sore or jittery, don’t soldier on; instead, get up and move around. Take a walk outside, stretch your back, or just go grab a coffee refill. 

Aside from improving your posture, breaks benefit your productivity in other ways. Getting some space from your work can heighten your focus, fight burnout, and refuel your creativity. When you come back, you might see a simple solution to that problem you couldn’t solve earlier.

Try the Pomodoro Method: Work for 25 minutes, do something else for 5 minutes, and then do it again. Taking smaller breaks more often keeps your blood moving and your mind fresh. 

6. Use gadgets as a last resort. 

Start with exercise, a better chair, and a standing desk. If those don’t work, consider a back brace or other posture-correcting gear.

Why shouldn’t you reach straight for medical devices? Because they can also cause harm. Get a doctor’s opinion before you put anything on your body, and avoid wearing it all the time. Otherwise, your back could become used to the extra support, resulting in weaker core muscles.

What’s more, posture-correcting equipment can be embarrassing. Although your co-workers should understand that you’re trying to improve your health, you don’t need the extra distraction. 

Worry first about your own posture, but don’t underestimate the value of better posture across your team. Instead of commanding your team to sit a certain way, however, be a model: Sit up straight, feel better, and share how you did it. Taking better care of yourself has a way of spreading to those around you. 

The Best Remote Work Setup To Keep You as Productive as Ever

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Just a few months ago, remote work was a luxury. But for many of us, it’s now a necessity that’ll take some getting used to. 

Not only do you have to adapt your workflow and make communication simpler for team members, but you also have to adjust your work environment to optimize productivity. That desk in a dark, dingey corner of your basement is far from an ideal workspace. 

What does an ideal remote workspace look like? To get more out of your day, upgrade your desk with:

1. Your office favorites

When you’re at the office, you have access to all the tools you need for the job. Highlighters, legal pads, your favorite pens — whatever helps you work faster and more efficiently. At home, you may not.

Splurge a little next time you’re at the office supply store. If you really want that top-of-the-line desk organizer, get it. Throw those cute paper clips that cost too much in the cart, too. Those small joys are worth it. 

Think, too, about your personal wellbeing. A water bottle at your desk keeps you hydrated. If you don’t have a coffee maker to keep you when the days get long, invest in one.   

Other than that, be selective about what you keep at your desk. When you take a broad essential, it opens the floodgates for a stream of inessential things. Before you know it not only does your desk get cluttered but also your mind. 

2. Lighting

You know how hard it is to work in a dim space. Adequate light reduces eye strain and fatigue.

Studies suggest access to natural light trumps a host of other office perks. It makes workers more energetic and can even improve mental health.

Keep lighting in mind as you perfect your home office setup. Instead of working in a space that is wholly reliant on artificial light, move your workspace to a room with a window.

If you don’t have that kind of natural light available, there are also lamps that simulate daylight. These are great for fighting seasonal affective disorder during times when you find yourself inside a lot. They are also useful if you need to work at night. Don’t let your circumstances keep you from getting the right amount of light. 

3. Plants and greenery

Another way to foster a productive work environment is to surround yourself with plants. Like natural lighting, greenery brings the great outdoors inside. 

Studies have shown that plants can give you a productivity boost of up to 15%. The reason is reduced stress levels: A little nature can help you move forward with ease and certainty. Caring for your plants can provide a sense of purpose.

Maybe now is the time to start the garden you’ve been wanting to grow in your home. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can always buy pre-grown plants. Either way, the added greenery will cheer you up whenever you look away from the screen. 

4. Sounds

Home noises can be distracting, but not all sounds are bad for productivity. Boosting your productivity is as easy as tuning into the right ones. 

Classical music can actually enhance brain function. It’s called the Mozart Effect, and it’s been known to help students perform better on tests and study better. The same kind of focus is great for powering through your more involved work tasks.

If you’re not a classical music fan, a great alternative is nature sounds. A relaxing waterfall or a chorus of birds make great background noise. And if you need a pick-me-up along the way, you take a break to listen to some of your favorite songs.

To enjoy your nature sounds or songs to their fullest, get some stereo speakers. Noise-cancelling headphones are an even better solution, but they can be pricey.

5. Art

You might assume that a focus-first workspace should be as bare as possible, but that’s not the case. Enriching your environment with art can actually increase your productivity. 

What art you choose isn’t necessarily important. What matters is that your selections inspire you and make you think. You don’t need to be an expert in art history to appreciate something that’s aesthetically pleasing to you. 

Experiment with different media. Choose some paintings for the walls. Add a small sculpture to your desk. Hang something with stained glass in your window. 

6. Aromatherapy

Your home workspace should look, sound, and feel like your own — but it should also smell appealing. Aromatherapy is a great way to give your home office that finishing touch.

Smell is an underappreciated sense. An essential oil diffuser can give you a whiff of lavender when you’re stressed. Try mint or eucalyptus for an energy boost. If you’re feeling short on fresh air, why not go for a soft forest scent?

Whether you’re working remotely by choice or doing so by necessity, you can always improve your space. Experiment: If a stationary set doesn’t bring you joy, find one that does. Make it your own, and you’ll see the difference in your mood, output, and more. 

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