Posture & Productivity: Can the Way We Sit (and How Long) at Work Affect What We’re Able to Accomplish?!
It’s no doubt that business owners and employees alike are feeling pretty “maxed out” today. Between work demands, family demands, and well… LIFE demands, it can feel like we are always chasing a goal post or finish line that’s constantly moving.
Since time is obviously at a premium and it often feels like we must be continually accomplishing MORE in LESS time, learning how to be more productive and maximizing productivity are vital skills for every business owner (or employee!) to learn. Yet, could it be that one simple change – that we can make in a day – can dramatically improve productivity? Many experts say, “Yes!”
Bad posture is not only bad for health, it reduces our productivity. The good news, however, is that the opposite is true as well—improve your posture and watch output get better fast!
Many people are simply in the habit of spending too much time at their desks. And they’re doing so not just for getting work done, but also spending lunch and breaks there (power surfing the Internet or even paying bills, etc.) as well. All this sitting puts a strain on the body and posture – and health – suffer as a result, even if posture wasn’t poor before.
So, how does posture impact productivity?
- Posture may make depression worse and depression makes it harder to be productive.
While sitting up straight won’t cure depression necessarily, the opposite – slumping – could make it more severe. And one study did show that simply sitting up straight did assist with reducing the severity of depression symptoms that sometimes make it hard to be productive.
Specifically, the study found: “The results: “Asking individuals with mild to moderate depression to sit upright reduced their fatigue and increased their enthusiasm over a short time period, compared to individuals who sat in their usual posture. In addition, participants sitting upright spoke more words in total during the stressful speech task, but reduced how much they used first-person singular pronouns (such as “me” and “I”). This suggests that they had more energy, had less negative mood, and were less self-focused”— changes consistent with easing of depressive symptoms,” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201701/good-posture-may-ease-symptoms-depression)
- Posture affects your body’s efficiency and that affects productivity.
When the body is in proper alignment, it simply performs all “strenuous” tasks more efficiently. Similar to the results found in the study mentioned above, many medical professionals contend that standing up straight with your spine in alignment, improves mood, breathing, and blood flow in the body.
All of these things have also been found to correlate with productivity. Thus, it stands to reason that improving posture and thus, alignment, the resulting physiological improvements will help to improve productivity also.
- Assertiveness is diminished with bad posture and this could cause you to take on too much, resulting in lower productivity across all your responsibilities.
When we have poor posture, it also frequently impacts the way others view us and our confidence or command over our internal and external environment. For similar reasons, poor posture has been correlated with a lack of assertiveness. Many times, it is a lack of assertiveness that causes us to take on more than we know we reasonably should be doing.
When people are “overworked,” productivity, ironically, decreases. Of course, it often feels like if we do more, we will accomplish more. Yet, research has found that just isn’t true. With productivity, there is a point of diminishing returns where overwork (and consequently, stress and frustration) yields worse — and even “less” — results than only tackling the amount of work we can reasonably do well.
- Poor posture diminishes confidence.
Akin to the above point, poor posture can not only reflect a lack of confidence, it can contribute to diminished confidence. Confidence is a critical component of productivity. When we aren’t confident, we will not ever accomplish all that we could if the opposite was true.
- Bad posture can cause lingering health problems that cause you to miss work and thus, reduce the results you’re able to achieve (your “productivity”).
Bad posture can cause or exacerbate back problems, cause or exacerbate headaches, cause or exacerbate vision problems and due to poor alignment negatively impacting oxygen intake and blood flow, it can possibly negatively impact blood pressure. Thus, it’s easy to understand how all of those things could cause you to miss more time at work due to illness, injury, and even doctor appointments—all of which are going to mean productivity will suffer.
There are a ton of strategies, articles, and apps out there that claim to help you with productivity. Unfortunately, many of them disregard – or just forget – the importance of posture. With the above information, however, you are now armed to make positive improvements to your posture and thus, hopefully, improve your productivity as well!