Working-from-home posture savers and muscle soothers
Protect your back and ensure good posture while working from home with our guide to the supports, products and tips that stop you slumping
Kit out your laptop
It's one thing balancing a laptop on your knee to watch Netflix, but this set-up will soon get painful if you're sitting in front of the screen for hours and hours every day. The NHS states that to maintain good posture while working at a laptop you should:
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse so the laptop can be put on a stand and the screen opened at eye level
- Use your laptop on a stable base where there is support for your arms, and not on your lap
- Take regular breaks. If you're moving, there's a lot less stress on your muscles and joints
- Sit properly with lower back support, and ensure other desk equipment is within reach
- Get into good habits before the aching starts. Neck, shoulder and back problems gradually build up over time
1. Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, £60 – click here to buy. 2. Futon Company laptop table, available in various colours, £27 – click here to buy. 3. Microsoft Arc Bluetooth mouse, £59.55 – click here to buy.
Self-care to soothe sore backs
From magnesium-rich bath soaks to muscle-easing CBD balm, indulge in some self-care to target aching muscles at the end of a long day's work. Infused with arnica or enriched with potent warming powers, these are the magic potions that help the CW team unwind.
1. Roques Oneil Therapie Comfort Warming Rub, £24 – click here to buy. 2. Indie Lee I-Recover mind and body gel, £45 – click here to buy. 3. Be You CBD Muscle Balm, £29.99 – click here to buy. 4. Goop Phys. Ed. Recovery Bath Soak, £30 – click here to buy.
Quick fixes and good habits
One of the benefits of working from home is that it's totally acceptable to pause for a 15-minute yoga session. Taking regular breaks and stretching out your muscles is the best way to counteract the physical impact of an imperfect workstation. There's a wealth of short yoga and stretching videos available for free online – click here for Culture Whisper's guide to the best.
If you're limited by space and budget, there are still some simple solutions that will provide short-term help, from lumbar-support pillows that fit any old chair to inflatable posture cushions and shoulder support tape.
1. IBack Pain Help Inflatable Posture Support cushion, £24.99 – click here to buy. 2. PTiger K Physiotherapy tape, £8.81 – click here to buy. 3. John Lewis lumbar support pillow, £20 – click here to buy.
Desks to fit in small spaces
Those of us without enough space for a designated home office have to make do and compromise while working from home. But that doesn't mean you're limited to slumping on the sofa. A wall-mounted desk fits into small spaces and folds away almost flat, allowing you to close off the office at the end of the day.
Made.com Esme Wall Desk in Ash, £149 – click here to buy.
Switch between sitting and standing
The craze for standing desks was propagated by claims that remaining upright reduces obesity, cuts the risk of heart disease, regulates blood sugar and burns more calories. While these promises are based on rather scant evidence, it's the ergonomic benefits that are most useful for working from home. NHS guidelines show that switching between sitting and standing reduces the strain on your neck and engages your hamstrings and core to ease pressure on the lower back.
The cheap and cheerful Ikea Knotten standing desk is designed for small spaces, so those without the luxury of a home office can convert a corner of any room into a workstation. It has enough storage to keep your notes, chargers, glasses, laptop and other office detritus neatly in one place. And, if working from home is a temporary or occasional situation, it doubles up well as a side table for keys, sports bags and post.
Ikea Knotten Standing Desk in White Birch, £115 – click here to buy.
Supportive but stylish chairs
A chair doesn't need to be big and corporate-looking to provide the right posture for working at a computer. Look for something that is height-adjustable and ergonomically designed to support the lower back.
1. Graham & Green Oslo natural armchair, £220 – click here to buy. 2. Made.com Flynn office chair, £149 – click here to buy. 3. The Conran Shop Beetle swivel chair, £1,050 – click here to buy. 4. Made.com Margot office chair, from £159 – click here to buy.