Posture in the Workplace

Sitting down is part of nearly everyone’s workplace today, whether at a desk or in a car. Unfortunately for many of us, sitting incorrectly is causing stress and pain in our bodies. By improving the way you sit, whether at a desk or in a car, your workday can be improved and your body will thank you. Sitting correctly involves not only your ability to align your body, but is also dependent on the workspace you create for yourself. Adjusting your seat or rearranging your desk may be the key to your comfort in the workplace and car. Your sitting posture may be the key to being pain-free and to start enjoying more activities in your life.

Sharon Starika movement educator Posture in the Workplace


In the diagram below there are two images. The image on the left shows sitting with pelvic support and the image on the right shows sitting without pelvic support. Your pelvis is the base of your skeleton and the main source of structural support and the key to successful sitting. In the image on the left, see how the pelvis aligns with the spine. Highlighted in orange, close to the chair, is the area we call your “sit bones” and that is the area you should be sitting on. Looking at the right image, you can see the pelvis is curled under and there is no support.

Your pelvis is able to support your body’s weight easily and efficiently, but if your back is rounded when you sit, your body’s weight is placed behind your center, collapsing your spine. Once sitting correctly on your sit bones, your weight is distributed evenly and your back can relax and is flexible to tilt, bend and turn with ease.

Sharon Starika movement educator Posture in the Workplace


In the video below, you will see different ways you might be sitting in your office. You will notice that there is a large space between my pelvis and buttocks from the back of the chair. My pelvis is curled and does not support my spine. Then you will see how I scoot my pelvis into the back of the chair and pull myself closer to the desk. Now I have complete support from the backrest and I can reach from my trunk and pelvis because I am sitting on my sit bones and am no longer rounded. I am easily able to turn and reach, which is important in a work environment.


Buy an ergonomic chair that has adjustable seat height, tilt, and armrests. There are very important and must be adjustable.  Make sure you position your seat high enough so your legs and knees are parallel to your hips or slightly lower. You never want your knees higher than your hips.

Once sitting, make sure you are sitting on your sit bones and your feet are on the floor. Try not to cross the ankles or place your feet on the base of the chair.  It is better to sit with your legs spread apart than crossed, even spreading the legs to the outer edge of the chair will give your pelvis and spine more support.

If your chair has armrests, adjust them to be low enough so your forearm is parallel to the armrest and your shoulders remain relaxed. If the armrests are too high, it will push the shoulders up and create tension. Ideally, armrests should only be used when you are pausing to type or reading.

When you use the mouse or keypad, allow your wrist to be relaxed and use your whole arm to move the mouse rather than just your hand and wrist. Refrain from only using your wrist while keeping your arm quiet. This will lead to strain and possibly carpel tunnel syndrome.

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"


The height of your desk or work surface should be adjusted to match your sitting. First adjust your seat to the correct height and then adjust your desk or work surface to be at a height where your arms can comfortably write, type, or rest on the surface.

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"


Position your computer screen directly in front of you, allowing 14-25 inches between your eyes and the screen depending on your visual acuity. The height of the keyboard should permit your arms to slope downward slightly; this will prevent carpel tunnel as well as wrist and elbow injuries. Documents are best placed either in front of you on your work surface or on an adjustable vertical stand next to your monitor.

Take breaks and exercise or rest your hands and fingers if you feel any strain or fatigue. You can do circles with your hands, clench your fists, or spread your fingers apart to give them a rest. Again, proper posture will give your more energy and help you be more productive in your workplace.

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"


We spend a lot of time driving and sitting in the car. Whether to and from work, or just as a part of your job, how you sit in your car is as critical as how you sit at your desk. Once you are sitting in your car, lean forward to scoot your sit bones all the way back into the back of the seat.  The image below shows a lower back support, so if you feel you need one you can add that in. if you don’t feel you need that additional support, be sure learn forward and scoot your sit bones all the way back. You want to allow your back to touch the back of the seat and be angled slightly backward. You don’t want the back of the seat to be too upright pushing your body forward.

Once your pelvis is in position, then you can adjust your car seat either moving it forward or backward for the appropriate distance to reach the petal. Make sure your knees are slightly bent so you are not over reaching with your right foot/leg and pulling the right side of your pelvis forward. Also make sure the seat is level if possible and avoid leaning your elbows on anything in the car.  Often if you have developed a leaning habit at work you continue the habit in your car. Any kind of leaning can create tension in your neck and shoulders.

Have a relaxed grip on the steering wheel; avoid clenching or gripping the wheel. Gripping the steering wheel will create tension all the way up the arms.

Take frequent breaks if your going on a road trip or do any kind of distance driving. Sitting for too long in the car will make it more difficult to maintain proper posture and you will likely return to old habits of slouching or leaning.

Sharon Starika movement educator "Posture in the Workplace"