Because of the pandemic, many of us are working from home these days. While that has been somewhat comforting, slumping into my sofa to work on the laptop has caused discomfort, to say the least. It’s not a huge complaint, especially considering the challenges that essential workers face every day, but it’s challenging.
Lack of back support, tilting my head forward and hunching my shoulders (sound familiar?) are signs I’m not using ergonomic seating. It’s time to bring in some supporting characters (decor-wise) to keep me well-positioned for a healthier work experience at home. These smartly designed furnishings might be just what we work-at-homers need to improve posture and increase comfort.
Good posture (and lots of coffee) is a helpful tool in being productive. A friend suggested sitting on a balance ball chair as a great way to exercise the core muscles and force good posture. I think the novelty would be short-lived in my house, plus, I don’t want my home looking like a gym. I’d rather invest in a quality designed chair that can function as a desk chair and double as an attractive side chair elsewhere. A few traits to look for (other than style): armrests at the same level as your keyboard; good back support; a tall enough back to lean the lower shoulders against.
My new chair crush is designer Sebastian Herkner’s Merwyn Task Chair. Its pocket-sprung seat and perfect proportions make it supportive, while its bucket-shaped back and arms and on-trend leather, fabric and aluminum keep it stylish.
If you sink into the same corner of your sofa to work, then you’ll probably be doing two things regularly: getting up to stretch or involuntarily napping. Using firm decorative pillows to prop up and push your body toward the seat’s edge will help create better posture. Ideally, your feet should touch the floor and your knees should be bent at 90 degrees. A tray table is a great helper; it offers a place for the laptop and water bottle, and forces you to sit upright. For upper body posture, use a low bolster pillow on your side to give the forearm a place to rest (elbow should be bent at 90 degrees).
On a pre-COVID visit to Ligne Roset in Montreal, I discovered a wonderful supporting character: the Prado Sofa designed by Christian Werner. Its non-slip back cushions can be moved around, allowing upright sitting at the edge (think posture-perfect work style) or remove them to relax back. The sofa’s base can be transformed into a guest bed, making it a multi-purpose small-space winner.
Sleep is important in order to be productive during the day. Here’s a pillow primer to give you a head start.
— Back sleepers need a pillow that supports the neck, head and shoulders. Look for one with a low profile to keep your spine aligned; adding a pillow under the knees is a great trick to keep pressure off the spine.
— Side sleepers (that’s me!) need a pillow that supports the head and neck to keep the body aligned. A thicker pillow (think the distance between your ear and tip of your shoulder) will keep everything supported. A firm pillow between the knees will keep your back in a neutral position.
— Stomach sleeping is the worst position for the spine and neck. A flat pillow (or no pillow at all) is best and another flat pillow under the stomach will take pressure off the back.
Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? You can contact Karl on Instagram at Karl Lohnes.
Karl has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years and is the Editor At Large at Style At Home.