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Jack: Coming up on this week's episode of Search With Candour, I'll be talking with Jo Blood, director over at Posture People, all about how to work from home and in the office more comfortably and effectively. I'll also be touching on the latest update for the Content Assistant AI from SISTRIX. Welcome to episode 72 of season two of the Search With Candour podcast. I'm your host, Jack Chambers-Ward, and this week I'll be diving into something a little bit different. No real SEO or Digital marketing talk, as such, this week, but I think it's still an important topic for us to talk about. I'm going to be joined by Jo Blood from Posture People to talk about how we work from home and how we should be working from home, and in the office as well, more comfortably and more effectively, and how we should be best utilizing our setups to make sure we're not doing some long-term permanent damage on our bodies essentially.
Before I get to that, of course, I'd like to say a huge thank you to SISTRIX who support the show. And you can go to sistrix.com/swc if you want to check out some of their fantastic free tools and get a free trial of their paid service as well.
You can try out their hreflang validator, you can try out their Google update radar, and of course check your site's visibility in index as well. Something I will talk about, which is actually a paid feature of SISTRIX that has been recently updated into its second version, is the SISTRIX Content Assistant AI. And this is something I was talking with Mark about not too long ago funnily enough, we've been talking about trying to streamline our content briefs here at Candour and understand where we can start automating some of those processes and making sure we're giving the best value to our clients and all that stuff. The version two of the Content Assistant AI has just been pushed late last week at time of recording. So, you are listening to this on Monday, that was a couple of weeks ago.
The briefing process is shorter. There's an easier template system to work with as well, and it actually starts building in things like tone of voice and things like that as well, incorporating GPT3 and bringing that across and using that as part of the system. There is a really interesting thing, I think, what SISTRIX are doing to really expand into the content side of things. It's something they've been testing out for a while now. And I've tested it a few times myself. And this is not me because I'm sponsored by SISTRIX or anything like that, I think this is a massive improvement on the first edition. I found the first edition okay. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the automated content briefing systems. I prefer to do it manually. But I found with recent progression in AI and the recent implementation of that... Because it is a tool, it's not the be all and end all and I think that's the key here.
AI is not the solution to the problem, it is part of the integration and the tool set that you can use. The way SISTRIXs have integrated it, the way you can really understand the length of the piece itself, what things are ranking, so understanding the length of content from competitors that are ranking for similar keywords and in similar topics. It'll give you a rough idea of a score of how to lay out the outline as well, give you a general structure. Competitor analysis stuff there as well, so the number of keywords from a selection that you are seeing in that content from the competitor. The total number of headings in that piece as well. You can toggle on and off for tracking different keywords as well. It's a really, really robust little system and I highly recommend if you are looking to streamline your content process, especially your content briefing, which is something I talked about the importance of with Sylvia and Minnie from the Witty Content writers a few weeks ago.
I will link to that. I recommend you go and check up that episode. But content briefs are an important part of the process, important part of creating content for your clients, for your shareholders, whoever you're working for and reporting to. The SISTRIX Content Assistant AI, I think, has come on leaps and bounds and is now a really, really useful tool to help streamline that process and really speed things up. There'll be a link in the show notes to the SISTRIX post all about how this stuff works, so you can dive into that in a bit more detail. Like I said, you can go and check out some of the free tools as well as checking out the paid service as well. And this is included as part of a SISTRIX subscriptions. So I highly recommend, if you're already subscribed to SISTRIX, go and check out the Content Assistant AI. And if you're not, it's worth checking out and giving a try as well.
And my guest this week is the one and only Jo Blood. She is a brightonSEO speaker. She is a founder and director at Posture People. Welcome to the show, Jo.
Jo: Thank you very much for having me on, Jack.
Jack: It's a pleasure to have you on. And before we get into the topic, I think it's a very interesting topic, it's something I don't think many podcasts have touched on before with SEO, which I think is going to be very interesting.
Jo: I was going to say, probably not in SEO.
Jack: This'll be an exclusive for Search With Candour, that's how I like to think about it. Let's talk about how we met because it is an interesting connection. I attended your talk at brightonSEO. So, first of all, off to a good start, I had already seen you speak and thought your topic was interesting. But it was actually your co-speaker, in the same track, Myriam that connected us, right?
Jo: Yes, it was. So the lovely Miriam, she was a whirlwind of activity. So it's probably a strange one, particularly for your audience, but I don't talk about SEO, I don't talk about marketing. So my background is ergonomics and I live in Brighton, so I was very aware of brightonSEO. I'd gone along as a participant a couple of times and I pitched to Kelvin, who runs brightonSEO, and said, "Look, everybody coming is sitting on chairs. They're probably working at home and they're working badly. You need to have me talking to everybody." So I went on and talked all about how people should be working at home and how you should be set up and common mistakes you can make. And Myriam was the next talk after me. And she just came up afterwards, and you obviously know Myriam, and she's just so warm and so lovely and so enthusiastic. She was like, "Right! More people have to hear what you've got to say! And I'm going to put you in touch with Jack who does podcasts!" And that's how we ended up here, actually.
Jack: If you swap the names around, that is almost exactly the conversation I had with Myriam 15 minutes later.
Jack: I was like, "Ah, that was a great talk." And she was like, "You need to speak to Jo! You need to have Jo on the podcast! She's amazing! More people need to know this stuff!"
Jo: I know.
Jack: And, like you said, she is just a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm and absolutely love Myriam. Shout out to Myriam if you are listening, and if you're not, go and follow Myriam on LinkedIn and Twitter. She's fantastic. But, like I said, I attended your talk at brightonSEO, but one thing I'm curious about is you said you got a background in ergonomics and you've attended brightonSEO a couple of times. How did you come around to founding Posture people as a company?
Jo: Well, actually my husband set up the company initially. He worked for an ergonomics company in London. So he would go in and essentially what we do on a day-to-day basis is we look at how people are sitting, then we tell them what they're doing wrong and then we supply them with the products to actually help them sit better or stand better or work better. And so he was doing this for a company up in London. We moved to Brighton, oh gosh, it's about 23 years ago now we moved.
Jo: So we're not actually locals yet, but we've been there. And our children-
Jack: 20 years makes you local, right? I think that counts.
Jo: No, I think you have to be born in Brighton. And so he set up a company, he set an offshoot of the company up in Brighton. And then, after two or three years, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy out the original partners. So I joined him at that stage. And it coincided with having our first child as well. I think somebody had removed a few brain cells because I thought buying a business and having my first baby was a good idea at the time.
Jack: That sounds like a good combination. Yeah.
Jack: Completely stress-free, easy combination.
Jo: It's not something I'd really recommend if I'm honest. But it was great and I had the opportunity to start working there part-time. And I'll freely admit that I genuinely thought I'd work there for six months, help him set a few things up, we then hate each other, wouldn't be able to work with each other and then I would go back to a marketing job. And, well, 18 years later I am still there. And we now divide the roles, that he does the sales stuff with our sales team and I look after the operations side of the business and the marketing.
Jack: Amazing. So I guess the marketing thing was, as you said, being based in Brighton, the little crossover there with brightonSEO.
Jo: Yeah. So I turn up every now and again, go, "I really don't understand anything anyone's talking about," and go away again. That's about it really. And then now luckily I've got Myriam who I send questions to and say, "Oh, what does this mean?" And she comes back and lets me know what I'm talking about.
Jack: Myriam is a very good connection to have to be able to just ping questions off to. I know I bounce ideas off of Myriam all the time, just send her a quick text and be like, "Is this stupid? Am I being crazy? Does this make sense?"
Jack: So coming around to your brightonSEO talk, we're going to take the time to expand on that a little bit because, of course, talks are restrictive with their time, you have to really whip through the topics and stuff like that.
Jack: My plan for this episode, for those of you who haven't seen the talk, who haven't caught it on a replay or weren't there live, is to expand upon the topics of how to work from home, and in the office as well, more comfortably and more effectively. And I think, hopefully, my plan for this is to go through the similar topics you had. I had questions obviously in Brighton and wanting to ask those questions. So this will give us time, and hopefully the listeners will be thinking similar lines along myself as well, coming in from somebody who knows absolutely nothing about ergonomics but does know about SEO, I'm coming from the other side of it.
Jo: Let's go for it.
Jack: I'm ready to learn, Jo. And like you said, I think this is such a prevalent thing, especially in digital industries, like SEO and digital marketing and stuff. More and more people are working from home or working from other places, like coffee shops and wherever else, places, like you said, that aren't ergonomically designed, you're not sat on a proper chair with a proper desk and all that kind of stuff. I guess, let's start with a broader question of should you basically replicate your office at home or should they be different environments to work from, do you think?
Jo: I think they're always going to be different environments and there are going to be certain things that you can't replicate. So sometimes it depends on how much space you've got at home, what you've actually got available at home as well. And also, probably importantly, how often do you actually work at home? And so if you are working five days a week at home, really you need a really good setup that is as good as one that you would find in the office because otherwise you are going to risk damaging your body basically. You're not going to be as productive as you want to be. And you might get away with it initially. So the first couple of months or so you're like, "Oh yeah, I can sit on the sofa, I can do whatever I want." But the reality is you are facing probably, at some stage, quite large bills with a chiropractor and osteopath just fixing some of your postural issues. There's been some really interesting statistics that have come out recently to say that actually people having long-term illnesses has risen quite dramatically since the pandemic. And part of that is they're putting down to people working badly at home because there's been a rise in back pain and neck pain. And for years those statistics have been going down. It's like, we'd got the job not done, but effectively we were getting much, much better at making sure people reduce the risks when they were working. Whereas now we're seeing a rise again. And the only thing that can be down to is that people haven't got such a good setup at home as they have in the office. So sorry, that was a very, very long-winded way of saying really you do need a good setup at home if you're working. If you are literally working one day a month, then the chances are you don't need to go to the expense of putting something into home. But two, three more days at home? Make sure you've got a good setup because you'll be saving yourself money in the long run.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's a huge thing for me and my wife now, she's transitioned into a role that she can do hybrid and things like that. But we have one office that is set up for working from home, so we cannot do it at the same time. If she's working from home, I have to come into the office. I'm more of an office worker myself. I find the environment more productive for me, all that stuff. But now I also recently moved further out of the city, so it's more of a track to come in and all that stuff. So we're trying to balance that, "Okay, if you are working home on Tuesday, then I'll work home on Wednesday and then I'll work..." And like you said, trying to understand how much do we invest in a new desk, a new chair, a monitor, a laptop stand, all the different bits and pieces.
We'll be diving into this list, we'll be covering a lot of this stuff in detail. But we suddenly realised that, "Oh, I've got a couple of bits from when I used to work from home in my previous agency role. But I don't think that's enough." We probably need to upgrade, we need to get a new chair, we need to do this, we need to do that if we're both working from home. And essentially it's going to be, between the two of us, three, four, maybe even five days a week that chair is going to be occupied.
Jack: It's worth the investment, you're totally right. And as a person who has neck pain, back pain and hip pain, and I'm currently in a physio program to help a lot of these things, doing a lot of stretches and stuff. And, as I just told you just before we started, Jo, just got a standing desk, which is nice as well.
Jack: We'll dive into that in a bit as well, because I know that's a very hot topic. I think this is going to be a really interesting conversation for me as I'm just dipping my toes into trying new things and doing new setups and all that stuff. And I think a lot of people are in a similar place as well. Like you said, we'll have the absolute basics from throughout the pandemic, but actually getting something that is functional for your body, not just for actually looking at the screen, is going to benefit people in the long run.
Jo: Yeah, I think the temptation is, as well, when you're working from home, you don't necessarily want a big ugly office desk stuck in the corner.
Jack: That's definitely the combination I have with my wife. Yeah, definitely.
Jo: And we would definitely have this conversation a little bit with one of the points further on, but you want something that looks good, but it's got to be functional as well. So I'm really sorry. I'm hoping it's not too noisy. The guy next door has just started drilling.
Jack: Not at all. I can't hear it. I'm not seeing anything on the audio level, so I think we're all good. So let's start off with something I have thought about a lot. I am quite a tall person. I'm six foot two.
Jo: Sorry, I think I just lost you for a moment there.
Jack: I'm back. I'll start again. So something we're going to kick off with is a topic I've thought about a lot. As a tall person myself, I'm about six-two-ish, sitting at the right height was the first point you brought in your brightonSEO talk, and I think this is something I think you can very easily get wrong. Am I right in saying that? And that's just me just guessing.
Jo: There's a lot of people that do this. And I could have spent 20 minutes just talking about this.
Jack: There you go. That's why you're on the podcast, Jo. Maybe not 20 minutes per topic, but...
Jo: Okay, all right. But, yes, sitting at the right height, if you get this right, everything else can fit into place around it. So let's use your scenario at six foot two. The first thing you have to do is actually work out if you are sitting at the right height. So, in order to do that, you have to relax your shoulders and you have to form a right angle at your elbow. And so your elbow and your forearm should be in line with the desk. Now, what a lot of people do, particularly shorter people, is they tend to lower their chair so that their feet are firmly on the floor and then their elbows will be a long way below the desk. And so what happens is they then shrug their shoulders up a bit so that it feels comfortable when you're typing. And when you've got your arms resting on the desk, that doesn't feel too awkward and you can sustain it.
But over the long term, all of the muscles in your shoulders are bunching up into the wrong place. So at the end of the day, you'll suddenly walk away from the desk, your shoulders will drop down to where they are and they'll ache a bit more. So again, one or two days, that's not a problem, but you start rolling that up into five days a week and then a month and then years, and then permanently you've got your shoulders in slightly the wrong position most of the day. So just to recap, to find the right height, you drop your shoulders and form the right angle and your elbows and your forearms should be in line with the desk.
Jack: Hopefully, listeners, while you're listening to this, I assume you're doing it.
Jack: Because I'm doing it while I'm listening here.
Jo: And I'm doing it now. And the only slight difference is, Jack, when you are taller. So about six foot is when there can be slight issues with you sitting at a normal height desk.
Jack: Oh, good.
Jo: So then what you do, so you get yourself sitting at the right height at the desk that you are at, so your elbows are lining up and your forearms are lining up. But then what you need to do is think about where your legs are underneath the desk. And when your feet are flat on the floor, if your knees are above your hips, that means that your chairs not quite high enough. So what you'd need to do is bring the chair up a little bit. So ideally you are looking for your knees to be slightly below your hips and that puts the pelvis into a better angle. Now, where you're taller, if you do that, so you're sitting at the right height for your height, what you might then find is your elbows are higher than the desk level. So then you can end up dropping down. And again, that's putting more pressure onto your lower back. So the way to solve it, if you're taller, is you need to take your desk up slightly higher. So you've talked about getting a standing desk, so I don't know if it's like a height adjustable one, so you just set it.
Jack: It's literally like a crank...
Jo: A crank one.
Jo: So you'd really, when you're sitting, you want to crank it slightly higher than a normal desk.
Jack: I did exactly that about an hour ago.
Jack: I was like, "Oh, my desk is slightly higher than the one next to me." I was like, "Oh, that's weird. This feels more..."
Jo: It feels more comfortable, doesn't it?
Jo: So if you are a shorter person and you've found when you're sitting at the right height and your shoulders are relaxed, arms at a right angle, and so your elbows and forearms are lining up. But then as a shorter person, if you've found you've done that and your feet don't quite touch the floor, that's when you need a foot rest. And it doesn't need to be a big dramatic foot rest, just a block of paper, some books, anything like that would do really. It is just really to raise the floor up just slightly.
Jack: Right. So we're going to talk about types of chairs now. You talked about adjusting chairs and matching with foot rest and stuff. A couple of things, I guess. I guess let's start with sticking with the work from home thing. Should you be working on a kitchen chair? When you think of the typical office chair, you think of the adjustable back rest, you think of the up and down movement. You mentioned quite a lot of adjusting and movement there, right?
Jack: A typical dining room chair is just either one block or two blocks that are not movable. There's no wheels, there's no twisty bits or spinny bits or any of the adjustable bits. I'm guessing, again, as a person who knows very little about ergonomics, that's not a good thing. You need to have that adjustability. Am I right in thinking that?
Jo: Yeah. I was just thinking it's a shame that this isn't videoed because then you'd be able to see my face being pulled and it's like, "Ooh, no, that's not great." I'm very well aware that some people don't have the space for a big shiny office chair. And again, some people's budgets won't stretch to office chairs. But one of the problems with sitting on a kitchen chair is there's no height adjustment. And we've just talked about how important it is to sit at the right height. And if you're on a chair where you can't adjust the height at all, you are automatically unlikely to be able to achieve the right sitting height. And again, quite often a kitchen chair is often lower than a standard office chair and a kitchen table tends to be higher than a normal office desk. So you've got a bigger gap. So if you're working on a kitchen table and a kitchen chair, you are automatically almost struggling to get to the right height. Now, you can work around it by using cushions to get you up to the right heights. And so you can put a couple of cushions underneath your bottom, one in your back to give you a little bit more support and you can manage through like that. And again, it comes back to how frequently are you working from home? Once in a blue moon? I would say manage like that, manage with cushions. You know the principles of sitting at the right height, you can apply them to a kitchen chair. But working five days a week? Then please, please get yourself proper office chair.
Jack: So is there a definitive best chair? Again, my lack of knowledge here is speaking volumes. Is there a sub-genre type of chair that is like, "If you're going to go for something and you've got the budget, go for this one as a catchall, best option."?
Jo: I would always say there's a couple of things to look for. Look for chairs that have got the greatest level of adjustability and spend as much money as you can. And I know that's difficult because, effectively, I sell office chairs, so I'm always going to tell you to spend more.
Jack: In sales mode there, Jo.
Jo: Let me just justify it for one moment. So I think you have to think of it as how often you're going to sit in the chair as well. So I always apply it to my clothes that I wear. If I'm going to wear an item of clothing and it's going to last me, I don't mind spending a little bit more on it because effectively I know that I've got that item of clothing for the next 10 years and it's something I'll wear over and over again. So almost the price of wear reduces down. And I think you can apply the same logic to office chairs as well.
Jack: My wife and I were having the same conversation about buying a mattress. You think of the whole, do you spend a third of your life lying down? All that kind of stuff, having the same knock on effect of if it ruins your back and your neck, that's going to be problems of the future, all that stuff. And we thought, "Well, this is our budget. Should we just max out the budget?" And, "Oh, this one's on offer and this one's cheaper." It's like, "Eh, yeah, but maybe we could get this one and this will make the big difference." That investment can make a big difference.
Jo: I think if you look for something with the greatest adjustability, particularly if there's two of you sharing, you want to make sure that it's got things like a seat slide or a seat depth adjuster so you can move it back for the shorter person and move the seat forward for the taller person.
Jack: Yeah, my wife's not six foot two, I'll tell you that much for free.
Jo: You've got to have something that works between the two of you, but it's also warranty length as well. So chairs tend to have less warranty. So you can pick something up on Amazon for 50, 60 quid, but I think it's got less than a year's warranty or no warranty at all. And I can almost guarantee you that if you are spending your 50, 60 quid on that chair, that chair, it's had the minimum amount of money spent on it and so therefore it's not going to last you very long. The foam is going to sag, so within a couple of months you'll feel like you're sitting on the wooden boards of the chair and there'll be very little back support because it'll just be too soft and too squidgy or the mesh will just completely loosen so you'll get no back support. So all of our chairs have got a five-year warranty, and some of them have got 10-year warranties as well. And it's partly, as a business, I don't want to be going out repairing chairs every five minutes. So it makes sense from a business point of view to work with suppliers which I know their product's going to be really reliable. But also, over time as well, we've done it where we sold cheaper chairs and we've just had so many complaints about them that I'm not prepared to put cheaper chairs into offices now or to individuals because I don't believe they're providing the support they should do. So you can almost look at the price of the chair and how long the warranty is and then you could divide it into that and then it gives you a price per day. So our most expensive chair is about 1,400 pounds, I think.
Jo: It has got a 10-year warranty, it's got a lot of adjustments. Ideal for people that are shorter and taller, just saying. But anyway, it's 1,400 pounds, but the 10-year, I've got a YouTube video, but I think it works out to about 46 people per day or something. I'll have to try the maths. I should have done the maths before I came on here. I meant to look it up. Someone will put in the comments and go, "Your maths are way off, by the way." So there's a good YouTube video, go and look that up. I've got all of the maths in there.
Jack: I will link that in the shownotes for you, listeners. So you don't have to go and search. It'll be nice and accessible for you.
Jo: Thank you. I'm not known for my maths ability, by the way.
Jack: We'll leave the maths to you on YouTube. Don't worry.
Jack: I guess another topic, sticking with chairs for a while, is these get higher backed gaming chair things. I watch a lot of online content and watch a lot of YouTube and Twitch and all that stuff. I know a lot of other people do as well, and you see the big logos and colorful things. And they look very supportive. They're very big, and they say, "They're built for gaming, long sessions," or, "Streaming," or whatever it is, that kind of thing. Would that be appropriate to work in? Is gaming and streaming a different thing to working or is it all everything's a human body and it's all the same thing and the same principles apply?
Jo: They are slightly different because if you imagine the posture when you are working is a bit more upright and you tend to be interacting with the keyboard, so you are a bit more upright and you're forward. Whereas gaming actually, you tend to be relaxed back, you tend to be leaning back. Or you are watching YouTube or streaming, you tend to be in a more reclined lax position, which a lot of the gaming chairs are. So the gaming chairs tend to be set at a slightly more relaxed angle. So when you are working, you end up leaning forward and you tend to stretch more with your arms, which puts more strain through your upper back. So I've obviously not sat in a lot of the gaming chairs, but a lot of the ones that you see online are always set in those reclined positions. So if you were going to go for one of those, I would just double check, see whether there's a video that shows you the range of motion that the chair will go through so that it's got a more upright position as well as a more relaxed one as well.
Jack: Moving on from chairs to the sofa, or bed in some cases. In worst case scenarios, if you are hungover or whatever it is, is there a way to correctly, safely and effectively work from a sofa or a bed? Or really, is it just worst case scenario, worse than any chair essentially?
Jo: Yeah, worst case scenario, worst chair, any times. The lovely thing about brightonSEO is I reached out to all the presenters and I said, show me pictures of how people are working. And so we went through loads of examples and I had a lot of people for this category, which made me cry every time I saw the pictures basically.
Jack: I remember you highlighted Bibi the Link Builder and her in a onesie all in her sofa and stuff.
Jack: Bibi is incredible, but that was hilarious.
Jo: She worked from the sofa. So let me explain why it is so bad. So sofas are, by nature, lower so that people are comfy, close to the floor. They tend to be quite deep in the seat as well so people can relax back into them. Now, part of the problem of that is unless you're really tall... And again, you still have a problem if you're tall. But anyway, I'll go into that next. If you're not really tall, what tends to happen is you don't reach the back of the sofa. So you sit and you've got a gap of say 10 centimeters and then you start relaxing back into the sofa and what it does is it puts your spine into this incredible C shape, but your spine should not be in a C shape, it should be in an S shape. So you should have a curve in your lower back, but effectively your curve should be forward, not backwards.
And so, sitting in a sofa, you slump. So I was trying to think of a good analogy, but it's like a cap where it's slumped and curved, whereas actually, what you want to do is be a little bit more upright and effectively that's what you're trying to do in a chair is to provide a little bit of support in your lumber area so that doesn't collapse. So sitting on the sofa, there is no good position really to be able to assume. You can sometimes offset it a little bit by putting a cushion in your lower back to give you a little bit more support. But again, if you are working at home really, really, really infrequently and you haven't got anything else, then fine. Or if you're working at home but you're, say, listening to a fantastic YouTube by Jack or if you're doing something else, then it's fine to sit on the sofa for very short periods of time, relax, but then get up. And if you're actually working properly, sit at a proper desk.
Jack: Fair enough. So it's below kitchen chair in terms of-
Jack: Worst case scenario, sofa or bed, then kitchen chair, ideally office chair.
Jo: Yes. If we are ranking them, the bed is worse because there's just no real back support and you tend to be lying down even more in a chair in a bed. So the bed is the worst. If you're working in a bed, never do it, don't do it, go to an office somewhere. If you're working on a sofa, it's fine for very short periods of time, meetings, et cetera, but no more than that. Kitchen chair, you can get away with it infrequently, but I wouldn't recommend it long term. Working at home permanently or 1, 2, 3 days a week, get a proper setup.
Jack: Nice. We have ranked the ways to work at home.
Jack: So we've got our equipment sorted, we've got a nice chair. How are we going to sit on it, I think is the next question, the actual sitting position. We mentioned some height adjustments and things.
Jack: You mentioned a foot rest earlier, which I think is something very interesting as well we want to touch on. Something that came to mind, for me, and something I find myself doing I think is... Again, this is all me assuming everything I do is a bad habit because I'm in various aches and pains over the years. I'm only 32, but I feel like my body is 62 sometimes. I have a bad habit of crossing my feet under the desk or under my chair and things like that. Again, being quite tall sometimes if I put my feet flat on the ground then my knees are too high or whatever, that kind of thing. Is that a bad thing? Should your feet always try to be flat on the floor as much as possible? I also heard the, in a hairdresser's chair, don't cross your legs because you get a wonky haircut.
Jack: Don't know if that's true, if it misaligned your spine and all that stuff.
Jo: Yes, because if you think about it, in the same way, at the hairdresser, if you cross your legs you could end up with a fringe that's slightly on one side. The reason for that is if you cross your legs or put your legs into one position, your pelvis goes out of line. And so if your pelvis is out of line, your spine isn't running where it should do. And again, you get away with it until you don't get away with it, until it hurts, until everything aches. Part of the problem with being tall is you've probably been sitting at standard height desks all of your life. And so therefore probably some of the chairs that you sit on don't even come up high enough for you because if you are sitting going to cheap office chair it won't come up high enough. So therefore you've got the double whammy of a desk that's a bit low and a chair that won't come up high enough. And so therefore your knees go above your hips. That doesn't feel comfortable so you end up crossing your legs behind you because that is then making your pelvis feel a bit more comfortable because your knees are below your hips. But you've done it artificially by dropping one of your hips down to accommodate it. Another thing that can happen, more commonly with men, but it can happen as well, is if you keep things in your back pocket, so things like your wallet and stuff like that.
Jack: I remember you asking me this when we first chatted before the podcast. I have never understood that.
Jack: I feel it's an older generational thing.
Jack: Not any of my friends, but I know my dad used to do it, my dad's friends used to do it, uncles have done it, all that stuff. Like you said, a older generation male trait seems. But having a big wallet full of change and cards and things-
Jo: I know, and they're sitting on it.
Jack: ... I can't imagine. I know I leaned away from the microphone. I can't imagine that being comfortable. How would that possibly be a good idea? I tend to keep my back pockets as clear as possible.
Jo: But you know, this is completely off the topic of ergonomics, I hadn't realised because my husband always despairs because I'm always saying, "Oh, can you just put this in your pocket?" Or, "That in your pocket?" And he's like, "Why don't you use your pockets on your trousers?" And then I got a pair of men's jeans, I don't know why, I think they were secondhand Levi's or something. Men's pockets are so much bigger than women's pocket.
Jack: Yeah. I had this conversation with my wife. Actually, I bumped into somebody at the office, actually one of our team members here at Candour, and we were comparing pockets and having a conversation like, "I have finally bought a pair of trousers that are aimed at females." And then it's like, "Oh my god! These actually have pockets you can fit a smartphone in," because smartphones are so big and all that stuff.
Jack: Like you said, it's very much a shift towards, "Oh, you'll carry a purse or a clutch bag, whatever it is, or a handbag, whereas men can just cram everything." I've got keys, wallet, headphones, phone all in...
Jo: I can get four fingers in my pocket and that's it.
Jo: There you go. Complete aside. I forgot what we were talking about now.
Jack: Well, we touched on it a little bit, let's talk about foot rests because there's something, again, as a tall person, I have never even thought about using. I know a couple of my colleagues here at Candour do use footrest and say they're brilliant, think they're really, really good. Is there a correct way of doing it? You mentioned the home way of doing it with a box or just a ream of paper or whatever it is. Or should you get one of those proper, from a better phrase, I know I'm using this phrase wrong, but ergonomic ones, angled ones with the grips and all... You know the ones I mean.
Jack: Coming back to the chair discussion, does that make a huge difference whether it's just a pile of books or 100 pound official branded foot rest?
Jo: I'll be honest, in terms of foot rests, you don't really need to spend very much money except for a lot of the very cheap foot rests, and I'm talking the 15, 20 pound ones, tend to be too big. So you'll see these ones and they'll be lying around every office where they've got a X contraption on the side and you can lift them up to different heights. And invariably, unless you are really tiny, they are going to be too tall for the vast majority of people. It comes back to sitting at the right height. So once you've got your shoulders relaxed and your elbows forming that right angle and you're sitting at the right height and you've adjusted your chair so that your shoulders are in the right place, if at that point your feet don't reach the floor, that's when you need a foot rest. You don't need a foot rest in any other circumstance at all. The chances are you'll only ever need a foot rest if you're short, to be completely honest. Or if you're tall and you're sitting at a counter height or something, then you would need a foot rest. But standard desks, I would say, and it's difficult to say because people have got different size bodies and leg ratios, but it's people around under five foot five. Sorry, I don't know the centimeters of that. But effectively it's the shorter people. Sitting at the right height and your feet don't reach the floor, then you need a foot rest.
Jack: It's 165 centimeters, by the way, listeners.
Jo: Yes, thank you.
Jack: Our metric system listeners, 165.
Jo: It's ridiculous. I was brought up in centimeters and everything else, but things when it comes to heights, I still think in inches.
Jack: This is a whole other conversation, but the whole British system of measurements is chaos.
Jo: Just bizarre isn't it?
Jack: We're using grams and then stone and then centimeters and then inches. It's chaos.
Jo: Bizarre. I'm not that old, listeners, I promise you. I still do everything else in centimeters. So foot rests. What you want is ideally a big flat surface to put your feet on. Some of the very small, cheap foot rests are quite narrow and small and therefore it feels like you can't move your feet around, which is going to be uncomfortable, so invariably you don't use the foot rest. So something of a bigger block. So, ideally, if you think about a ream of paper still wrapped up, that tends to be the most perfect height for most people in terms of foot rests. So that it's about five centimeters thick and that's ideally what you are looking for. If you're much, much shorter than that, you might need something where you need more height adjustability, or if you're sitting at a higher desk. Funny enough, things like kitchen tables are 76 centimeters high, whereas a standard office desk is 73 centimeters high. So if you're working at a kitchen table, you might actually need to use a foot rest, even if you've never used one before in your life. But the chances are, if you're sitting at a standard office desk and you're not particularly sure, you won't need a foot rest.
Jack: Good to know. I'm glad I'm not missing out on a foot rest.
Jo: No. The only time you might need one, if you break a leg and you need to elevate your foot, but apart from that...
Jack: Yeah, maybe. So we're sitting at the right height, we've got a chair, we are not working on our bed or our sofa, we've got our sitting position sorted. Let's think about what's actually on the desk and what we're looking at and what we're working with. And it's something, again, I touched on and something I've used for many years before really knowing it was a beneficial thing is laptop stands.
Jo: Yes. It's a big topic. And I will confess right now, my laptop is flat on the desk at the moment. But I'm look looking at you, Jo, I'm focusing on this screen here. That's my primary screen.
Jack: That's fine.
Jo: That's allowed.
Jo: But everywhere else, all across the office, at home, like that, I make sure I have a laptop that is... The general rule, the rule of thumb, again, you kind of hear these little sayings over the years and stuff and I never know if they're actually true, so I want to verify them with you. Somebody who actually knows what they're talking about is it should roughly be the same height as your monitor, so the middles of them should be about the same height. Is that a general rough rule for the height of a laptop stand? It is a general rough rule. One of the problems with laptops obviously is the screen is smaller than monitors. So what I tend to say is if people have got a monitor and a laptop is use your screen, your monitor, as the main one and then just have the laptop off to the side and you can use it as a reference to be able to drag documents in, glance at your emails occasionally. But in reality, do most of your work on the main screen, which is in front of you. Ideally that laptop would be at the same height as your monitor. But if you've got a massive monitor and a tiny laptop, that's never going to happen. So just try and have it up so that there's not as much strain on your neck.
Jack: So you're not craning down as well as across.
Jo: No. If though you're using your laptop and that's your only monitor that you've got and that's what you are using as your screen, then have it up on a laptop stand and, ideally, the top of the laptop should be in line with your eyebrows.
Jack: That that's the general rule I've always heard for screens in general. And I was experimenting it with the stand and the adjustable desk earlier today, trying to work out should I be here or here and move the screen up here while I'm moving my chair this way?
Jo: One of the really weird things, and it doesn't happen with everybody, again, it's to do with the length of your body, but when you're standing, you'll probably find your screen needs to be slightly higher so that it's in line with your eye eyebrows. And then when you sit down, you'll need to move your screen down slightly.
Jo: It doesn't happen with everybody, but quite a few people, for some reason, you do need to just adjust it down. And there's one other exception, and it might not apply to many people listening because it tends to affect people, late 40s onwards, but if you wear varifocals... So varifocals, the type of glasses where you've got several different panes within one glass, so you've got a long distance, you've got a monitor one, and then you've got a reading one at the bottom. Now, if you wear varifocals, you'll probably find that you need the screen, the monitor, to be down slightly lower. So that rule about keeping it in line with your eyebrows might not work. You're going to have to do it so that you can focus fully through the glasses.
Jack: So is there a particular type of laptop stand you'd recommend? I know there's the solid, plasticy, metal ones that sit at one thing. Again, should it be adjustable? Are we sticking with the adjustability of it all? I've seen the ones where it's almost vertical, the screen almost is made vertical and then the keyboard is beneath it.
Jack: Is there any particular version we should be aiming for in terms of what's best for us and our eyes and our necks and things like that? Or is it all just as long as you can elevate it's better than not.
Jo: As long as you can elevate it's better than not. The only slight thing to consider, it's a little bit like the chairs, you get what you pay for. So if you go very cheap on the laptop stand, think about how expensive your laptop is and how much you would cry if it collapses when your laptop is on it because some of the really cheap ones are a bit flimsy. So, again, have a think about it. The other thing to think about is how much you want to move around with your laptop. So if you are, for example, a digital nomad and you are going around a lot, and I've spoken actually because Miriam works on this in terms of a digital nomad lifestyle, but effectively, if you are moving quite frequently, you've got to be able to have something you take with you and therefore you want something that's lightweight, you want something that's portable. But if you're only using your laptop at home and then when you take it into the office you're plugging into a docking station and using monitors, actually you want a fairly firm, robust laptop stand where you can take the height up. Whereas these very lightweight, portable ones, they don't tend to go up as high, but you can always shove a couple of books underneath them to actually raise the height up.
Jack: Interesting. So I think adjustability almost seems to be the keyword, to use an SEO phrase.
Jack: We just touched on screen height there as well. The general rule of thumb of eyebrow height. I guess we're going through the steps here in the order that you were sorting them out as well. So once you've got your chair at the right height, then adjust your screen to the eyebrow height.
Jo: Yeah. There's no point in doing the monitor first and then going, "Oh, I'm seeing at the wrong height."
Jack: And then sliding your chair around trying to work out what's going on.
Jo: Exactly. As I say, do the first thing, get your chair height and then things start to fall into place from there. So, because I'm aware there's a lot of information we're giving to people here, I've got a "how to set up your workstation in 60 seconds", which just goes through as a reminder, which might be a good link for some of your listeners if they want to look at it a bit more.
Jack: That will also be in the show notes. Go to searchwithcandour.co.uk, listeners. You'll get all the links in the show notes there nice and easily. You can go and watch Jo on video as well as listening to us on the podcast as well. So anything we mentioned, just assume it'll be in the show notes, listeners, and it'll be there for you.
Jack: I'll do my due diligence. So we've got the screen at the right height, and let's think about angles. You mentioned laptop off to the side.
Jack: I guess, how much? And I think the example you used was the fantastic Patrick Stox from Ahrefs. Good ol’ Patrick. Shout out to Patrick, he's fantastic. And he had this massive wide monitor as one option. I know a lot of gamers do that. I know a lot of people who are working on a lot of projects that have a lot of high-tech... Geographic designers and stuff like that as well. Is there a difference in having multiple monitors at that angle and having a V-shape, for a better phrase, a book shape? Or should you have one wider monitor, is that beneficial? Or is it just the fact that you are spinning and twisting at all is what matters?
Jo: A lot of it is think about how much you're spending on one position. So if you have just one monitor but it's offset on your desk because, I don't know, you've got a window that you like to look out of or something like that. Then imagine the fact that you'll be spending most of the day with your neck slightly twisted and then wondering why, at the end of the day, your neck hurts quite a bit. And then, again, thinking how much that builds up. So really, what you want to do is have one screen that's directly in front of you. And so effectively it's there and you can be looking at it and you can just say, "Right, okay, this is what I'm going to look at. There's the least amount of strain going through my neck." Whereas if you've got something off to one side and you're twisting the whole time, it can be bad. So you can have the situation where you've got a couple of screens. Say you are in a role where you're having to refer to something a lot, then effectively, think about how much you use that screen. So if you're using one screen 70% of the time, have one straight in front of you and have one to reference and then pull stuff into the main screen. Whereas if you are really using both screens very equally, then what you can do is actually set them up so the line of the two screens is directly in front of you so you're very evenly moving your head between each screen. But my preference is always to have one main screen in front of you and then to drag windows into it as you're working on them.
Jack: That's one of the few times I'm already doing the right thing. So that's nice.
Jack: I always have the main monitor and then the laptop off to the side. And like said, having Slack or emails or secondary stuff in that little screen, and then your main primary task in there. Exactly how I come from doing it now, except my laptop is below me. We don't have a stand here in the studio, but I've got you, Jo, on the big screen, the camera right in front of me there at eye level as well, and then my laptop's here with the show notes and stuff and I'm gathering links and taking notes as we go.
Jack: Next up we'll talk about glasses, which is something you and I have in common, Jo-
Jack: ... wearing glasses. You mentioned varifocals and things like that. I guess, whether you're shortsighted or long-sighted, how much does that affect where you need to set up your screens? And things like viewing angles, I hear that a lot in tech reviews and things like that, how much of that matters to fellow glasses wearers like us?
Jo: I think a lot of it comes down to what type of glasses they are. So some people will wear glasses just for the monitor. The main one that affects it is the varifocals because the screen height needs to be lower. Whereas most of the rest of the time the glasses are set and the optician should have set, effectively, and balance the glasses so that you should have your screen about an arm's length away from you. So, basically, when you're sitting at the right high, you want to sit nice and close to the desk and then what you want to do is just stretch your arms out in front of you and you should be able to touch your screen. Now, Jack's just done this. You won't be able to see this, but Jack's just done this and he couldn't touch the screen. So his screen must be a little bit too far away.
Jack: My screen is there. It's a little too far away.
Jo: Yeah, that's too far. If you're having to stretch that much, it's too far.
Jack: The camera is behind the screen so it's further away. So, promise it looks worse than it is. Listeners, I promise. But yes, this one is too far away. I agree. This is a proper stretcher to try and get to the screen there.
Jo: And what happens is what you want to do is check yourself a couple of times during the day. And so if when you are concentrating you find yourself leaning into the screen, just because when people concentrate they tend to focus, they want to move into the screen, if you find yourself leaning into the screen, the chances are that your screen is too far away from you. So, really, what you want to do is move it closer so it feels like it's almost pinning you back, it almost feels like it's too close and so you're sitting back into the chair, and that'll give you more support. One of the problems is when you're sitting, if you constantly lean forward, i.e. lean into the screen, then your lower back is having to work a hell of a lot harder than it should do because effectively your head's really quite heavy. And so as you move your head further forward, your lower back having to counterbalance that weight coming forward.
And so I think I read somewhere that, effectively, once it's about six or seven centimeters further forward than it should be, it's like the equivalent of having a six-year-old child around your neck. So that's not good if you're working all day in that position. Whereas if you just sit back and pull your head back, I always say think about having your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips, because that helps just to keep a good posture when you are working. But what it also means is that your lower back is suddenly a bit more relaxed and it's not having to counterbalance and work harder than it should do.
Jack: Okay. We've got screen angle, we've got screen height, we've got chair height, we're most of the way there. Something you've touched on a couple of times, the actual desk itself.
Jack: And you mentioned a height. There was a 76 and 73 centimeter difference there. That doesn't sound like much to me. Again, not knowing, three centimeters doesn't seem like that much.
Jack: So, essentially the thickness of the top of the desk, I guess, how much does that affect where we're sitting, adjusting the chair along with it and all that kind of thing?
Jo: So if you think about a standard office desk. So a standard office desk has got about a two centimeter, two and a half centimeter top to it. So you can adjust the height of your chair to whatever it needs to be so that you are sitting at the right height for your elbows. Now, if you think about a desk, and they tend to be at home, but if you think about the desk at home where you've gone out, you've looked at the kind of nice pretty places, like John Lewis and Maid, and, "Oh, they've got a very pretty desk there and it's got a drawer underneath the top. And that would be great because I can put all my work stuff in it and then it won't look like an office at home." But the trouble is then that can be about a top that's about 10 centimeters thick. And so then if we then try and sit at the right height, so your shoulders are relaxed and your elbow's at the right angle, then you've got to try and adjust your chair up because you're sitting a bit low and then all of a sudden you find your legs pressing into the underside at the desk and, "Oh, that's really uncomfortable." So I drop my chair again. So then my elbows are below the desktop and then I'm back to shrugging. So it tends to be, it's not that I've got anything against how they look, it's more about the fact that, not everybody, but the vast majority of people can't adjust so that they can sit at the right height if they've got a desk with a particularly thick top underneath it because it's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for their legs. And if there's pressure on the top of your legs, you can almost guarantee at some point that your legs will go a bit numb, so you'll drop the chair.
Jack: Yeah, our desk at home has a drawer underneath and I definitely noticed the tops of my thighs and my knees bumping into it sometimes, and then adjusting from there. You're suddenly conscious of it, if that makes sense. Most of the time, like you said, standard office, two and a half centimeters, you don't think about it. But as soon as it's there you're like, "Oh yeah, that is weird. That does frustrate."
Jo: Yeah, it's really irritating. And I think it's one thing that a lot of people, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic is they made use of anything really. And so there were pretty side tables and things with these drawers. Or another classic I see a loss is somebody's got a family heirloom where they've got those Victorian desks. And they're beautiful because they've got the green leather I.n
Jack: Like the Euro thing.
Jo: Yeah. But those were designed for when people wrote letters for very short periods of time. They weren't designed to have a computer on.
Jack: That makes sense. So we've got our desk, we've got our chair, we're hopefully all the right height and things like that. Something we've not really touched on is actually moving our body as well. And I know there's a lot of trends around different things of under-desk little cycling things and under-desk treadmills and all that kind of stuff. Should we be aiming for something like that where you are actively doing something or is it more a case of doing a little bit regularly and just making sure you are getting up and moving fairly regularly rather than I'm on a treadmill for eight hours? And I guess unless that's your goal to improve your walking speed or whatever, but is there a big difference there? I've always seen the under-desk treadmill thing is a bit trendy, but I know some people, I know fellow SEOs who are fantastic at their jobs, who seem to be very productive, swear by it and say, "Yeah, this is making a huge difference to me and my productivity."
Jo: Yeah, I've got to admit, I think they're a bit fatty, if I'm honest.
Jack: I'm glad you're agree with me.
Jo: I'm a huge advocate for standing desks. So we've all got standing desks in the office. And particularly, if you're the type of person that gets really stuck into work and finds it very difficult to move away from the desk at all, the fact to be able to do toggle working, as I call it, so that you stand for a short period a time and you sit for a period of time and you can swap between the two, that is a great way of resetting the body. Now, imagine we are trying to do something like this and we're both on standing desk with a treadmill and we're walking apart from the fact that we'd probably run out of puff at some stage, but-
Jack: I'm not very fit, Jo. I would run out of puff pretty quickly.
Jo: Yeah, I'm putting myself in that category as well. But effectively, I think you are very limited to the activities you can do with a treadmill. So I'm not 100% sure that you could be that productive in trying to write something, for example. And it'd be really interesting to know, if anyone wants to comment, as to they say, "Oh no, I can write loads or do stuff." I think, the odd people I've spoken to, they've said, "Yeah, it's useful if you're in a meeting or something," because effectively, you can keep moving while you're participating in the meeting, and it has to be quite a low speed as well. And so-
Jack: You don't want to be jogging along, just going to-
Jo: No, exactly. I think my argument-
Jack: Trying to record a podcast, you're like, "Welcome to the... Podcast. My name's Jack, I'm the host. Oh, God."
Jo: Yeah. I remember having a meeting once with somebody, a video meeting, where they were insisting on walking. And in the end I just had to say, "Look, I'm sorry, we're going to have to stop this because you're making me feel seasick," because this guy was bouncing all over the place while we were trying to talk, and I was just like, "No, this is not a way I want to conduct a meeting." I think you can put movement in without the expense of a treadmill desk. By all means, invest in the standing desk, I would 100% say they are worth every single penny. But if you can't afford one or if you've got a standing desk and you're not quite sure, the right way to use it, effectively you want to think about chunks of time. So work up because if you stand all day, it's almost as bad as sitting all day. So you want to have it-
Jo: The key here is movement. So if you've only got a desk, then set a kitchen timer on the other side of the room, set it to go off every 40 minutes so you have to get up and you have to turn it off because it's annoying. Whereas if you put a timer on your phone or something, it's too easy to turn it off without actually doing the actions. You've got to have something on the other side of the room so it forces you to get up. But you can do it with little micro breaks. I would much rather encourage everybody to actually go outside, have a walk, it'll be much better for your mental health than actually sitting trying to combine walking and a desk. Sorry, it's really noisy drilling now.
Jack: I heard it that time.
Jo: It's always the way when we do this. I am actually in a self enclosed studio, but it's the company next door.
Jack: Of course. I think that's really interesting because I think that's something people don't often talk about is get a standing desk, problem solved. There's not much of a discussion following that of... The fact that you said that, a little light went off in my head of spend some time sat down, spend some time standing up, spend some time sat down, spend some time sat up. And I spent all mornings stood up because I've just got my brand new desk I want to try it out. I'm now sat down recording this. I think I'm probably going to go back to a bit of sitting for a bit after this. I'll finish about five o'clock, so we've got about two hours or so. Maybe for the last hour I'll treat myself to a bit of standing.
Jack: This is all completely new to me from standing desk perspective, so trying to understand where to balance that. And something I know I've started incorporating into my workday that ties into having those little breaks is the Pomodoro Technique. Are you familiar with this, Jo?
Jo: So that could be brilliant. So you effectively sit for 40 minutes, and then maybe... Because I think the Pomodoro is you break for 10, 15 minutes or something, don't you?
Jack: The traditional one is 25 and five. A lot of people I know do 50 and... 50 and 10 is what I do. So I found I settled into that. If you want to know more about the Pomodoro Technique, I actually have a podcast recommendation for you. Go out and listen to, I think it's the season four episode one of the SEO Mindset podcast with Sarah and Tazmin. They did a fantastic episode about how to beat procrastination using Pomodoro, and it's something I've been using for quite a few months now and really helping. So I will, again-
Jo: I'm definitely listening to that.
Jack: ... leave a link for that in the shownotes as well, listeners. So go and go and check that out as well.
Jo: Actually, just back to the standing, it's as important to stand at the right height as it is to sit at the right height.
Jack: Oh yeah, that's an interesting point.
Jo: You can use exactly the same technique, so relax your shoulders, form a right angle at your elbow and your elbow and your forearm should be in line with the desk when you're standing. So the best bit about having a height adjustable electric or crank handle desk is the fact that actually, make sure that it's working for you sitting and standing. Sometimes with crank handle desks, and it'll be a good one to look at, is sometimes crank handles don't actually come up quite high enough as they should do when you're standing.
Jack: I'm at about the maximum height. I tested this earlier and I went to absolute maximum and I was like, "That's a little bit too high." If I was six or five, or six foot six.
Jo: And I bet you spend hours cranking it up, as well, didn't you?
Jack: Yeah. My colleague Luke, who's our senior search analyst here, he was like, "That's an exercise in and of it's... That's movement, you're getting up and doing the crank thing." And I was talking to John about that, that's part of it, get moving because-
Jo: No, say to John he needs an electric one next time.
Jack: Well, Mark, our SEO director does have an electric one. But despite him just earning 40, happy birthday, Mark, by the way, he's in much better shape than I am. So maybe I need to get the crank in and get some more exercise in. It's a double exercise.
Jo: You can do your shoulder by doing it. Or the trouble is, with the crank handled ones, it's a bit awkward so you don't tend to go up and down as regularly as you should.
Jack: Don't incentivise yourself.
Jo: Actually, the reason crank handles were initially bought in, it was when you had people in call centers and the call centers were operating 24 hours a day, and so it was adjusting between the height of the people working. So really, crank handles were only ever designed to be moved up and down a couple of inches, but now people are using them as full sit, stand desk, but they do take quite a while to get to the standing position and then swap to the sitting position.
Jack: I'll let you know how it goes in six months time when my shoulder is knackered on the way the...
Jo: Yeah, I'll check in as to how often you're doing that as well-
Jack: Thank, Jo.
Jo: ... during the day.
Jack: I'll ping you a little message just like, "Just started cranking, finished cranking now. I'm fully adjusted." And the last thing, spinning off of movement, and I mentioned colleagues and stuff like that, is the human element of it all. We've been talking about very technical things or angles and heights and screen adjustments and all that kind of stuff. And we do that a lot in SEO as well. A lot of the topics we touch on here are very technical and very actionable recommendations and all that stuff. But at the end of the day it all boils down to humans and us interacting with each other, having conversations and all that stuff.
I think it's particularly important, and it's something you touched on in your talk is when you're working from home that can become a very difficult thing to get into your routine and build into your routine because, like you said, some of us just get focused on a task and we are in the zone for six hours, you don't move, you don't talk to anyone, you don't do anything. But actually, having that interactional element I think is a key part of it, that's a key part of the working in general.
Jo: Very much so. And I think I touched on it in the talk in the fact that people's mental health, over the last couple of years, has taken a severe bashing. So we had all of the initial isolation period, and some people have never really got out of that habit. Now, this is a generalization, and I know for some people actually that's right for them and that does suit their character and actually it's much better for them personally to have maybe just a very few people that they interact with. But the important thing is that there needs to be some interaction, that humans are people that like to interact. It might be that you've just got that one person and that's your person that you interact with. Or it might be that you need 10, 11 people, but you need that support community around you.
And one of the things about working at home is it can be quite isolating, and I think the temptation is you start relying more and more on email, so you stop having those conversations with people. You can have video chats, but then does somebody send you an email instead of having a video chat? And slowly by slowly it's very easy to start to withdraw completely. And for me, that's some of the danger points really, is that people need the connections around them to actually make sure that they've got strong mental health. There's a really good book called Fortitude by Bruce Daisley, where I think we're all conditioned to think that, "Oh, we've all got to be more resilient. We've got to build that up." Whereas actually, fortitude is more about having the communities around you and the support around you that if something goes wrong there's that support system in place that can really help. And I think employers have a really big obligation to keep checking in on their people working from home and keep checking on how they're doing and checking that they've got those connections going because somebody might be producing the best work in the world, but are they functioning well outside of work as well?
Jack: Yeah, definitely. I think that's a thing a lot of people, like you said, has been a thing for a while, but especially post pandemic now, people are coming back to the office, some people are choosing to still work from home. I think that's still a valid choice in 2023. I'm not keen on this whole "you must be in the office" mentality. I think you need the fluidity and the flexibility to be able to work where you want. And you're totally right, I think employers, in general, can do a lot more in terms of mental health support for a lot of their employees and things like that.
Jo: Yeah, actually that's one thing I don't think I touched on, I can't remember if I touched it on the talk, is the fact that a lot of employers don't realise that they actually have a legal obligation to know how somebody is working at home, to know what their setup is at home. So they have as much responsibility as they do in the office, as they do at home as well. So if you have got people working at home working for you, they should have a workstation assessment for both locations. And if the location at home is deemed quite high risk, then actually, you have to put actions in place to actually resolve that. One of those actions can be to say that the person has to work in the office or you have to look at the equipment that they're using at home.
Jack: Interesting. Well, employers who are listening, bear that in mind, please.
Jack: Awesome. Well, I think that pretty much wraps us up as a whistle-stop tour. Hopefully a little bit expanded from what you did in your talk, Jo. We've dived around and covered a lot of things. But, like I said, I will summarise this. There'll be a full transcript as well, which I'll make sure to split out and bullet point everything and annotate correctly and all that stuff. If you do go to search.withcandour.co.uk, it'll be summarised there for you, be the links for the YouTube videos and all that kind of stuff there for you. So nice little wrap up and summary for you in the shownotes.
Jo: Cool. And I'm quite happy if any of your listeners have got specific questions, I'm more than happy if they want to reach out to me either on LinkedIn or my email and I will certainly do my best to provide advice as well.
Jack: Perfect. I will put those links in the shownotes as well. Of course, you can go and check out Jo on LinkedIn, follow Posture People on Twitter, go to posturepeople.co.uk if you want to go and check out options for assessments, options for equipment and all that stuff. And like you said, based in Brighton, so if you are a brightonSEO coming up in September, you can also pop along and say hello there as well.
Jo: Yes. Fantastic.
Jack: Brilliant. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Jo. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Jo: Thank you very much for having me on. I've really enjoyed it.
Jack: That wraps us up for this week. It was a bit of a long one this week. Couldn't help me and Jo talking a lot about ergonomics and the proper way to work and things like that. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it's something a little bit different and wasn't very technical SEO, wasn't very specific to SEO, but I hope you've learned a lot in the same way I did and I hope I covered the questions you had when it comes to how to effectively and appropriately work using the tools that we have at our disposal, essentially, the equipment that we have and how much you and your employer can be doing to help you work from home and work more effectively in the office as well. Of course, I'll be back again next week with a completely different subject and a completely different speaker and a completely different guest, so stay tuned for that in a couple weeks. Of course, Mark will be back on the show in a couple of weeks to do another SEO news recap with us live on the SISTRIX YouTube channel. That is going to be the start of July, June? Start of July. That'll be coming up in the first half of June, so please do stay tuned for that. I will, of course, link to that and shout about it and all the social media stuff as well. If you want to follow me on social media, I am JLW Chambers on absolutely everything. If you want to come and follow Candour, we are Candour Agency on both Twitter and Instagram, and you can find all of our work at @withcandour.co.uk. Thank you so much for listening, and have a lovely week.