How Sitting on The Floor Can Improve Your Health — Low Workspace, Desk Setup Guide
2020 is a year where many people have had to adjust to working from home, whether temporarily or permanently. For that reason, everyone’s looking at ways to improve their home office setup. There are tons of great resources out there on creating an aesthetic workspace that’s optimized for productivity.
But in this video we would like to talk about something a little different — creating a workspace at home with health in mind. For those who have watched some of our previous videos, one of the most striking oddities about our home is the fact that we sit on the floor at our work desk.
So, let’s start by taking a quick look at our setup, and answer what is perhaps the most commonly asked question on our channel. First, we have our floor desks, which are not floor desks by design.
They’re in fact, coffee tables from everyone’s favorite furniture store, but with their legs shortened to our desired height. The way we arrived at the height of 33cm is by simulating the most common postures that we’ll be sitting in, and measuring the distance from the floor to our elbows.
So the height that you may want for your floor desk will depend on how you intend to sit and the proportions of your body. Our floor chairs are from Muji, we have one in the large size and one in the small.
We first started sitting on the floor for reasons outlined in a previous video, and we’re definitely not alone in this. In fact, thousands of people around the world have adopted this sort of a lifestyle, and there’s a name for it as well: furniture-free living.
But it must be said that furniture-free living isn’t the most accurate name, as furniture-free isn’t about living without any furniture. Rather, it’s more about rethinking our conventional furniture, and creating an environment at home that promotes more physical movement.
This is an even more fitting topic in 2020. For some, the closest thing to a workout used to be the daily commute to and back from the office. Now that working from home has become the new norm, even that small window of unavoidable exercise is no more.
That makes going furniture-free a much more timely idea today. But it’s easy to dismiss furniture-free living as silly, a step backwards, or making yourself uncomfortable for no reason. Yet ultimately, a furniture-free lifestyle and ergonomic furniture design are in fact different sides of the same coin.
Both share the goal to keep our bodies in natural, comfortable positions. On one hand, ergonomic furniture is like a protective parent. Backrests, headrests, armrests. Every angle is calculated for, and there is support at all the right places.
The result is a piece of furniture that cradles your body, so comfortable that you wouldn’t even have realized that you’ve been sitting on it for hours without moving. On the other hand, furniture-free living is like that parent that prefers to use tough love, and whose philosophy is simply “Go support yourself”.
So it’s all a choice between relying on an external apparatus to help your body feel more comfortable, or trusting your body to do the work. So you’re interested in dipping your toes into the world of furniture-free living? As with any sort of lifestyle change, jumping into the deep end right away probably isn’t the wisest idea.
So here’s our quick guide on creating a workspace at home that’s optimized for health, one step at a time. For a start, there’s no need to give up your adjustable standing desk or your favorite ergonomic chair.
This first step is as simple as setting a recurring reminder to get up and move — and the rule applies, whether you’re sitting on the floor at home, or at your desk in the office. Ideally, set a timer for about 25-30 minutes of work time, after which take a short break; head to the washroom or pour yourself a fresh glass of water.
The true beauty of furniture-free living is in not being bound by your furniture. As someone who thinks better when I’m moving, most of the time, I’m more likely to be pacing around the house thinking of ideas, or typing emails or scripts on a makeshift standing desk or on the floor.
So look around for new ways to work apart from your usual chair and desk setup. Maybe you can switch out your chair for something else, like an exercise ball, or find a spot where you can work while standing.
If nothing else, there’s always the most furniture-free option of all: the floor. Working on the floor is actually quite a liberating experience. With the help of a few common objects around the house, you would have an endless number of postures to keep your body comfortable.
Some postures can feel somewhat uncomfortable for a start, especially if your body is particularly stiff. In that case, sitting on an elevated surface the height of a yoga block or two can make things much more pleasant.
Over time, you may find that your body gets stronger and more limber. Obviously, exploring new ways to work would be much easier if you work on, say, a laptop instead of a desktop. But for us, there’s really only a small handful of tasks that we have to do exclusively at our main workspace, such as video editing, illustrating or animating.
Speaking of animating, some of you have been asking us on social media about how we create our animations. Actually, we picked up the skill of animation with the help of the sponsor of this video, Skillshare, an online learning community for creatives.
More specifically, we learned the basics of animation through this particular class by Libby Vanderplueg called Animation for Illustration. This is just a beginner class, so it’s not gonna help us create any award-winning work just yet, but it was exactly what we needed at the time, to go from being absolutely clueless about the world of animation to creating basic moving illustrations right inside of Photoshop.
Skillshare costs less than $10 a month, and if you’re still on the fence, then make sure to be first 1000 to use the link in our description to get a free trial of Skillshare’s Premium membership.
There are thousands of classes on topics ranging from design and photography, to freelancing and productivity, so we hope you have a ton of fun. With great power comes great responsibility. While furniture-free living offers a great deal of freedom and flexibility, the responsibility then falls on us to listen keenly to our bodies.
Most of the floor sitting postures are not meant for the body to be in for extended periods of time. So it’s up to us, to constantly move and shift so as to reap the full benefits of going furniture-free.
And if you know that you won’t be able to help it, but be in a certain posture for a longer period of time, such as when you’re fixated on typing an essay or responding to endless emails, then the usual rules of ergonomics should still be observed.
Sitting on the floor should not, at any point, be a painful experience. The ideal workspace for health, if there was such a thing, would probably be a combination of ergonomic furniture and principles from furniture-free living; it doesn’t have to be one or the other, or all or nothing.
Thanks for watching, hopefully, you’ve found some helpful ideas that you can implement into creating your own healthy workspace at home.