July 13, 2020

A Healthy Back and Home Working Arrangement

With the trend of home-working set to continue for the foreseeable future, it is important to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. We suggest, where possible, a separate office or area for work. Ideally this would be away from the main living area. This will help avoid irritations and interruptions – helping you stay focussed on work – and keeping the appropriate boundaries between work and home-life.

Looking After Your Back Whilst Working

It’s important to look after your back whilst working. Most back pain comes from the working parts of your back, so the muscles, ligaments and discs –and often times when we experience back pain this is because the back is not moving and working as it should. Your back might be ‘out of condition’ and it needs some care and attention.

Rest or Become More Active?

If you have a back problem, it may be that you need to lie down to get some back rest, but this should not be more than a day or two, as prolonged resting will actually make things worse. Regular physical activity will help keep your back supple and will help you feel good about yourself. How about getting away from the screen and going for a short walk at lunchtime. Most types of movement will help reduce pain. Just the fact of moving around releases natural chemicals and nutrients that are important to keep your back in good condition.

Correct Seating for Taller People

Those that are particularly tall may experience back pain because the workstation arrangement is not meeting their needs. You will likely need a chair with a seat-slide, to provide more seat depth to ensure that your legs have sufficient support. But the chair might not be the cause of your back pain. If you are especially tall and you are using a desk the same height as everyone else, if you have upper back or shoulder pain, this maybe because the desk is too low for you and so there is tendency to lean or move forward in order to try and compensate for the wrong desk height.

You probably need to raise the desk a little… One or two inches may be enough. We mentioned earlier the need to be active for good back health so simple things such as making that phone call whilst standing or walking around will and getting up and stretching on a regular basis will also help towards good back health.

Height Adjustable Desk

Investing in a height adjustable desk would be a great way of taking care of your back. You then have the option of standing and working for periods of time and being seated at other times. The desk can be adjusted to the correct seated height for anyone that is particularly tall or short.

Correct Desk Arrangement for Shorter People

Like tall people, shorter people can suffer from back pain when their workstation arrangement is not right. You may need a chair that has overall has smaller proportions, such as a seat with less depth. Using a correctly angled foot stool may also help. Without the correct arrangement there will be a tendency to lean forwards and then that will likely cause upper back discomfort. The below image shows someone using a footstool to provide extra support.

Screen Positioning

Give consideration to the position of the screen. This may seem a trivia point but if overlooked this can cause neck and upper back problems. To avoid twisting or turning of the neck and shoulders, the best position of the screen is directly in front of you. Try and avoid having it off-set from centre.

Your screen should be about arms-length away (around 500-700mm) and when you are sat in an upright position with your head level, the top of your screen should be about level with your line-of-sight. If you screen is too low or too high – for any length of time – this is where you’ll begin to get neck ache. Give consideration to the screen size. If the screen is too small there will be a tendency to lean forward and this can lead to upper-back and shoulder pain.

Monitor Arms

Having a monitor arm is a great way of lifting clutter off the desk, enabling the screen to be easily adjusted to the user’s needs. Virtually all flat screens will attach to a monitor arm through the VESA plate that is supplied. For a secure attachment to the desk there is the option of clamping the screen to the back of the desk; otherwise a clamp through one of the cable management port holes. Whiteleys does a range of single or dual screen monitor arms.


There is a lot to consider when purchasing the right office furniture for a workstation arrangement that supports good health. Even something seemingly straight forward as a chair purchase, there are many options and it’s important to make the righty selection for your needs.

Why not get in contact to discuss your requirements. We are here to help and would be glad to help with advice and information. Where needed, Whiteleys provides full space planning and design services and one of our friendly team will work you to get the right solution. We are available on 0208 313 3344 or email [email protected].

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