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4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Work Posture

4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Work Posture

When you sit at a desk for hours on end every day, at the end of the week, you’re likely left with a sore back and posture that resembles the hunchback of Notre Dame. For most of us, work wreaks havoc on our posture. That’s because when we’re at the office, we’re prone to sitting for long periods of time, slouching frequently, and training our bodies to develop bad habits. Bad posture doesn’t just make you look bad either. It can lead to serious long-term health effects, like chronic pain in your back, shoulders, head, and jaw. The good news is, you can “unlearn” these bad posture habits. In this article, you’ll find out 4 ways to improve your work posture, so that you can increase your work productivity and get rid of some of those aches and pains after a long week.

Step 1: Fix your computer setup

Most of us unconsciously lean forward throughout the day while we work on our computers. This can be especially troublesome with laptops, because you’re often leaning forward and looking down, which puts strain on your neck. Fix your workstation setup, and you’ll improve your posture.

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Here’s how: start by making sure your computer screen is at eye level. This means the top of your monitor should be at or just below your line of vision. Your screen should be about an arm’s length away. Your keyboard and mouse should be in a position that allows you to keep your wrists straight. And if you spend a lot of time on the phone, ask your boss for a headset so you don’t have to strain your muscles cradling the phone between your ear and neck all day.

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Step 2: Fix your office chair setup

Once your computer is in place, it’s time to evaluate your chair setup. The back of your chair should be positioned upright and should naturally fit the curve of your lower back. Make sure the chair is at a height that allows you to plant both feet on the floor. If your chair is too high for you to do this, get a footrest. If you have trouble with slouching, try positioning a back support or small pillow or towel behind your lower back.

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Step 3: Stretch every day at work

One of the best ways to improve your work posture is to take 5-minute stretch breaks every 2-3 hours. At a minimum, stretch your back, shoulders, neck, and hips first thing in the morning and during your lunch break each day. Here’s an easy stretching routine you can do at work several times each day:

  1. Stretch your calves by placing your hands on your wall or desk and so you’re facing the ground with your legs extended out behind you.
  2. Hold a lunge position for your right and left leg for 15 seconds each.
  3. Squat down as low as you can while keeping your arms extended straight overhead. Hold for as long as possible.
  4. Stretch your hands and wrists by bending each of your hands back at the fingers.
  5. Stand straight up on one leg and extend the other leg up as far as possible (as close to parallel to the ground as you can get). Switch legs and repeat.
  6. Extend your arms straight overhead and push your chest out while keeping your arms straight to stretch your chest, shoulders and lower back.

Step 4: Take preventative measures at home

Improving your work posture starts at home. Strength training and stretching exercises help immensely, as do cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, and bicycling. Focus on multi-joint exercises that promote abdominal and core stability and strength, like planks, squats, lunges, crunches, and wall sits. Try this 7-minute workout several days a week to start building up your core, and watch your work posture begin to steadily improve!

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More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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