Working from residence appears to be like a bit completely different for our animal companions than it does for us people. Picture courtesy Bruno Cervera on Unsplash.

How are you faring? Right here in California, we’re nonetheless squarely in shelter-in-place mode, maybe settling into “normal-for-now.” Some folks, whose professions enable it and who didn’t already work remotely, are nonetheless acclimating to the expertise of working from residence full-time. How can we optimize our residence work environments?

I not too long ago had a dialogue with a pal of mine who’s a full-time author: let’s name him “Steve.” Steve not too long ago determined to have somebody construct him a brand new writing desk to specs, and was curious to get my tackle how to verify his new desk, and residential working setting extra typically, is supportive of wholesome posture.

What’s one of the best desk top?
Steve: My first concern is desk top. My laptop computer is a smallish one with a 13-inch show, so the display screen doesn’t lengthen very excessive up from a desk floor. My present desk feels low to me and is 29 inches tall. Apparently the trade customary is 29-30 inches. Is 29 inches too low or do I want a taller desk, particularly if I’m working with my comparatively low display screen top? If I’ve a smaller show, do I want a desk which compensates by being 31 or 32 inches tall?

Esther Gokhale (EG): so long as the display screen doesn’t induce your higher physique to curve ahead, it’s high quality to have your display screen decrease than your eye stage. Your eyes are completely able to trying right down to that diploma with out inflicting pressure. The important thing factor shouldn’t be a quantity, however slightly what is going on in your physique. Some folks use floor-sitting desks which can be solely 6 inches off the bottom completely properly as a result of they’ve good type whereas doing so. A custom-height desk as tall as 31 or 32 inches off the bottom isn’t crucial until it’s for consolation.


Flooring-sitting with a wedge lets me comfortably use my Bellicon trampoline as a low desk.

How excessive ought to my monitor be?
Steve: Is the display screen being 2 or 3 inches beneath eye stage an issue? With my present desk top, I’ve to look barely down at my show whereas writing. Ought to I be apprehensive about the potential for neck and again pressure if I’m trying down that a lot and for that lengthy?

EG: That sounds good, really. Assume hunter-gatherer: the road of imaginative and prescient would slant down since it’s important to be on the lookout for animal tracks, indicators of buried tubers, and watching the place you step. Our our bodies are completely able to this conduct as they’ve been doing it for a lot of millennia.

90-degree knees?
Steve: I’m interested in knee angle. I’ve heard that my knees ought to create a 90-degree angle whereas sitting. Is that this true?

EG: There’s no analysis I do know of that claims this. Folks like even numbers and simply make them up, even when they hardly ever exist within the complexity of nature and biology — parallel traces, 90-degree angles, and so forth. This jogs my memory for some cause of how rhino horns are alleged to be an aphrodisiac.

People are expert at sample recognition, which generally predisposes us to make conceptual leaps not grounded in actual fact once we see patterns that aren’t actually there (i.e. rhino horns being regarded as an aphrodisiac). A part of the cultural baggage of getting seemed so strongly to Historical Greece throughout the “Enlightenment” period of European historical past is a considerably reductive expectation for symmetry and geometry, not solely within the area of arithmetic, but in addition within the human physique. (Extra on that in one other weblog publish.) In any case, worrying about human knees at all times being at a 90-degree angle whereas seated shouldn’t be actually a priority of mine. In reality, externally rotating the legs is a extra constructive objective, and one amongst many different posture nuggets you’ll be able to be taught to attain in our online posture coaching courses.

It’s additionally value mentioning that, for seated desk work, the chair we painstakingly designed is each conducive to good posture and intensely sturdy. I’ve had mine for round 10 years and it’s nonetheless in nice restore.


Modifying my laptop computer top with books, coming in near the pc, and retaining my shoulders in a wholesome place assist make this seated desk association mild on the physique, in addition to sustainable. And with my decade-old Gokhale Pain-Free™ Chair, I can really stretchsit whereas I work.

Keyboard placement: what’s the precise distance?
Steve: How essential is it that I be capable to are available in near the keyboard?

EG: Very. Although your arms are actually able to reaching out to a extra distant keyboard, this takes extra muscular effort. If in case you have the selection, are available in tremendous shut — the sensation needs to be nearly such as you’re surrounded by your desk or as if you are in a cockpit. When the keyboard is additional away, this may simply play into outdated habits of curving the higher again ahead, craning the neck ahead, or displacing the shoulders ahead, all of which compromise the physique.

Standing desks: what’s one of the best strategy?
Steve: I wish to vogue a standing workspace out of my new seated desk. I determine I’ll in all probability get a further place-on-top equipment to make the desk work for standing in addition to sitting.

EG: I exploit a easy wood footstool on high of my therapeutic massage desk after I desire a standing desk — I simply place my laptop computer on the stool and work away.


This straightforward footstool on high of my therapeutic massage desk is my most well-liked standing desk setup.

Typically my Congolese drum will be helpful too, but it surely’s not likely steady sufficient. No matter you employ doesn’t need to be formal — only a good top.


My Congolese drum is another choice for a standing desk floor.

The house work house posts on the Twitter thread started by @julesforrest illustrate this properly.

No matter your inventive desk association, be sure you use wholesome posture whereas standing — tallstanding involves thoughts. Get inventive and experiment: altering your work location and/or place can inject a recent burst of vitality into your day. Give it a strive!