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Quick Fixes to Make Working From Home Hurt Less. Part 1.

Until a few weeks ago, we thought we knew everything about working from home because many of us have been doing it for years — but this is entirely different and it’s not by choice.

We can’t go to a coffee shop for a change of scenery and we’re collaborating online almost constantly, trying to figure out the right pace. For a lot of us, living on video all day is mentally and physically exhausting.

Steelcase, has researchers who’ve spent years learning how people do their best work — not only can they explain why we’re so tired, but they can give us ideas about what to do about it. So, they invited a panel of experts to join them on an webinar named: Making Distance Work: How to keep your body, mind and emotions healthy when you’re suddenly remote.

We have divided this webinar into three parts for you and in this first part we will talk about the postures of the body when you work.


Our Bodies

Suggestions from Kevin Butler,
Steelcase Certified Professional Ergonomist


Be intentional about movement and set a goal

Sitting is a reality and it’s okay. Sedentary, stationary and unsupported postures are what can really wreak havoc on our physical wellbeing. We know we should get up and move more, but that’s easier said than done.

The fix: Use your calendar to remind you to move and walk. Think about what activities you can do (either work or home) that allow you to move. Find the meeting where you don’t have to be on video and make it a walking meeting. Also, set movement goals for yourself. Everyone talks about 10,000 steps, but Kevin says 7,000-13,000 is a great goal and about 5,000 of those should increase your heart rate a bit more. A brisk walking pace should do the trick.

Simple fixes will add to your comfort at home

Your comfort at home is all about what postures and what equipment you have available. There’s plenty you can do with what you have. Kevin offered the example of sitting down at the kitchen table. You’re on a hard chair and likely hunched over to reach your laptop with your shoulders near your ears. Instead, you want your elbows closer to resting height, more support for your back, and your feet flat on the floor.

The fix: Add a few cushions to your chair to raise yourself up and get your shoulders in a better position. Grab a sweatshirt or small pillow and put it behind your lower back to bolster your lumbar. Put your laptop up on a box or a book so that it’s near eye level. If you haven’t already, you really need to invest in an external keyboard or mouse to separate the screen from the keys. Now, you’re in better shape — but you still don’t want to sit there for hours and hours.

“ Your next posture is your best posture.”

Maximize transitions. “Your next posture is your best posture.”

Our habits aren’t the best whether we’re at work or at home. But, at least at work you’re often forced to move from meeting room to meeting room. Even the walk to the bathroom takes longer at work. So, we have to be especially thoughtful about adopting good habits at home.

The fix: Kevin talked about the power of maximizing transitions — that time when you shift from seated to standing and then seated again. Take extra steps, do some squats, walk in circles, find a way to extend those moments at home. He says this concept is easy to understand, but hard to adopt. So, give yourself a mantra that you can repeatedly recite in your head. He suggests: “Move more, move often,” “Sitting is the opposite of moving,” and “Your next posture is your best posture.”

*Conclusions from Steelcase webinar “Making Distance Work: How to keep your body, mind and emotions healthy when you’re suddenly remote.


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