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4 Awkward Postures to Avoid at the Workplace

13 June 2023

Many workplaces require their employees to be physically involved in a wide range of tasks. Even for organizations that do not require physical labor from their employees, it is common for employees to perform a range of tasks that put their body in awkward position.

But what exactly is awkward posture?

It is any bodily position that deviates your physical position from the body's natural position. An awkward posture refers to positions when any part of your spine, arms and legs isn't making a right angle with other parts of your body. Overtime, if you don't give enough consideration to your posture, you are more likely to experience musculoskeletal ailments that can have negative implications on your quality of life.

Maintaining proper posture at work is therefore crucial as it helps make you feel good about yourself. Moreover, it boosts your energy levels, ease neck strain, and help avoid several health concerns including migraines, and head, neck, shoulder and back problems. By maintaining proper posture, you can also get support for any preexisting back problems that you may currently be experiencing.

In what follows, we look at X awkward postures that you may adopting at work without realizing its implications on your physical and mental health and why these postures must be avoided. But before we get into the actual postures, let's look at how employees end up with awkward postures at work.

How Employees Can Fall into the Trap of Awkward Postures?

In physically demanding industries, the regular labor that employees are required to do makes them fall into the trap of awkward postures. Regardless of how many efforts are made at an organizational or personal level to reduce the extent and frequency of injuries associated with awkward postures, it is common for employees involved in physical labor to experience awkward postures every now and then.

However, even the employees who are involved in a desk job get into the trap of awkward postures. By sitting in a hunched position with the head ahead of the neck, employees enhance the possibility of the neck, shoulder and back injuries. Similarly working in a uncomfortable position while seated at the desk can strain muscles, joints, and nerve endings. As a result, your body has to work harder and requires more force to accomplish simple tasks.

Moreover, your workstation's poor ergonomic design also forces your body into a range of unnatural awkward postures that can impair blood circulation, negatively affect the neurological system and result in an increased risk of musculoskeletal condition.

There are several types of awkward postures that you can be ending up with without realizing and that's why we share a list of them so you can know about them and avoid them as much as possible.

4 Common Awkward Postures You Should Avoid

To ensure that you safely accomplish your tasks at your job without actually causing any damage to your body, you should avoid the following four awkward postures at the workplace as far as possible.

These common awkward postures you should avoid at work include the following.

1. Leaning Forward

The human body's natural design is such that your legs and spine should be in line with your neck and shoulders when standing up right and you can notice the natural curvature of your spine. However, not many individuals take care of their posture while standing and end up leaning forward.

Leaning forward refers to a position where your upper body is stretched in a forward direction whereas your hips and legs do not move. In such a position, your upper body makes an angle with your lower body that places strain on your spine and neck. If not taken care of, this posture can lead to various musculoskeletal concerns and may even contribute to balance problems that could lead to a fall.

Leaning forward is not uncommon for individuals with a desk job. If your job requires you to work on a screen, your sitting posture should be such that your neck is line with your spine whereas your upper legs make a right angle with your torso. However, many individuals with a desk job also end up leaning forward while working, a posture known as forward head.

Persistently keeping your head in this position can strain you neck and shoulder muscles and can significantly increase your risk of developing a range of spinal conditions and headaches and migraines.

2. Twisting Your Backbone

The other common awkward posture at workplaces is twisting of the backbone. In case of physical labor, when an employee has to grab something that's placed at a certain height, it's common for them to twist their spine to lift the object.

It is also the case with desk bound employees as they twist and turn their spine to grab objects from the desk.

Sudden twisting of your backbone can increase your risk of spinal damage as the position places undue strain on your backbone that can cause significant damage to your spine.

One of the ways to avoid this posture especially in an office setting is to place all your workplace essentials in the primary work zone of your desk. However, if your workstation doesn't have enough space or you cannot accommodate everything within your arm's reach, it's best to invest in an ergonomic office chair that allows you to move around and fetch workplace essentials without twisting your backbone.

One of the most reliable ergonomic office chairs you can find on the market is the Ergonomic Chair Pro (OC14) by Flexispot. It is an ergonomically designed office chair that combines functionality with style. The refined structure of the seat and ultimate back support allows its users to maintain a comfortable, upright posture. The chair features various adjustability options and allow you to adjust the seat and the neck rest. Moreover, it has smooth casters that allow for seamless movement of the chair.

The Ergonomic Chair Pro (OC14) serves as one of the best ways for desk bound employees to avoid twisting their backbone and getting in an awkward posture that can be damaging for their health and well-being.

3. Working with Arms Persistently Over the Head

One of the common awkward postures that can be found at different types of workplaces include working with your arms raised over your head. Many jobs such as repainting a roof, construction carpentering, and other types of jobs that require installation on an elevated surface require employees to maintain this awkward posture for a long time. Being in this posture for a long time causes significant pressure on the spine, shoulders, neck and the arms.

It is critical for employers to figure out appropriate ways to get such jobs done without needing to reach over your head so employees can maintain their posture and avoid the risk of developing neck and lumbar health concerns.

4. Squatting and Kneeling

Many individuals regardless of the nature of their job believe that squatting isn't an awkward posture as long as they do so appropriately. The reality however, is slightly different. Every time you stoop down and then rise back again, your back, knees and leg muscles experience a lot of stress unless you are trying out this position under professional supervision of a physical trainer.

Squatting and kneeling is a common awkward posture in physically demanding industries where employees are required to handle load and lift heavy objects off the ground.

Employers can focus on training their employees on learning and implementing appropriate lifting techniques. Moreover, they can also invest in appropriate equipment that allows employees to rely more on technology to lift heavier objectives that require employees to get into awkward postures. As a result, there would be much lower overall risk and a more conducive working environment for the employees.

Summing Up

Getting into awkward postures may seem natural but it can have detrimental implications of your health and well-being. It's therefore critical to avoid getting into awkward postures. To do so, employees need to be mindful of how their activities can impact their spinal health. By being more aware of the consequences of their actions, employees can learn to avoid getting into awkward postures.

Moreover, employers should ensure that they provide adequate training to the employees about maintaining posture as well as provide with appropriate office equipment like an ergonomic office chair that helps employees maintain proper posture and avoid physical overuse injuries from getting into awkward postures.

To find out more about ergonomic products and how they can help your organization, get in touch with us today!