Get down! 

Reading time: 4.5min

Ditch the chair and table!

How working on the floor allows for unrestricted performance and the 5 important things to watch out for when making the switch.

Work != health

Most of us have accepted that our intellectually challenging jobs will cost us our physical health.

Back pain, depression, obesity, lack of libido, feeling less human; It’s the cost of doing business.

But we also collectively know that this should not and maybe does not have to be that way.

Many of us try as hard as we can: from lunch yoga classes to more or less serious gym habits, to ergonomic chairs and gadgets that tell you to sit straight.

But it’s an uphill battle until we remove the biggest, negative influence from the equation. 

Chair sitting.

There are endless studies about sitting being the new smoking but you don’t need to be a scientist to feel for yourself how unnatural and unhealthy it is. 

I have yet to meet somebody who works with the classical chair and desk setup who did not experience issues with it. 

What’s the problem with chairs?

The two issues with chairs are:

1. The extreme positions they let us stay in 

2. That they allow us to stay stationary for so long

Slouching in a chair makes it possible to hold very extreme positions for a long time. 

When we bend our joints or spine into their maximum range of motion we normally feel discomfort build up quickly. 

The support of the chair removes this discomfort and we keep some of our muscles stretched to the maximum and others squeezed the whole day.

If you do this for a while you will first get some warning signals in the form of back pain and then your back will give out while you put on your socks. 


The second problem with chairs is the overall lack of movement. 

Our whole physicality evolved to be moved. A lot.

Many processes in our body depend on our muscles tensing and relaxing, from lymph fluid moving through your body to blood sugar regulation.

Being stagnant in any position, even standing, keeps your system from running smoothly.

Get down to get fit / the solution

If you work remotely and have not yet set up your workspace on the ground, you are missing out on one of the biggest benefits of not having to go to an office.

We can finally create a space for our bodies that allows us to work with them instead of against them. 

Flowing through many different postures throughout the day is our bodies’ natural mode and the unrestrictive physical environment encourages us to keep moving. 

It’s a misconception that moving a lot makes us more creative, more productive, or more healthy.

It lets us return to our baseline performance, not distracted by pain, with a deep and relaxed breathing pattern, feeling energized and ready to tackle our work.

Steps to get to the ground

  1. Location

Getting on the floor makes you more connected to the environment. 

Therefore it is important to choose a good spot from where to do your work.

Natural light and/or the ability to illuminate the space with additional lights is crucial.

Depending on your flooring and climate you might need some additional matting (see point 2) to keep you warm. Also, watch for airflow which you probably don’t want to be sitting in.

Stay away from walls to make sure you do not start leaning. 

  1. Matting

A yoga mat might be a good start but is actually too small to let you move freely in all directions. 1.5×1.5m is a great start.

Puzzle mats are practical, easy to remove, and isolate well against cold floors.

A big, fluffy carpet can also work. 

  1. Tech Setup

Putting your laptop on the floor and sitting cross-legged and hunched over in front of it might be even worse than sitting in a chair. 

Your gaze should go at least straight ahead to incentivize good posture and maybe a little bit upwards to increase focus. 

That means you definitely need an external keyboard or a second display. 

Wall mount arms for monitors or tripods with trays for the laptop can be a good solution here. 

Think about how many screens you really need. I believe that too much screen space feeds into the illusion of multitasking. You can’t take care of everything you see on 2×24” screens and you are more likely to be distracted if you have to keep your field of view that wide. 

Also, you want to be able to move around your setup, building an unmovable mountain of tech won’t help.

  1. Postures

There are a ton of positions you can get into, from squat to kneeling to sitting.

When you put up your technique the right way and stay away from walls it is pretty hard to find a posture that could be classified as unhealthy. 

That’s because it is pretty difficult to hold positions long enough to make them unhealthy if you don’t have something to lean against. 

Just play around with your limbs and see which positions feel right for you. Switch early and often.

  1. Exercises

If you did not sit on the floor for a while you might want to give yourself a few days before going full ground dweller. 

Exercises like Squat Prayer Stretch, Bird Dogs, and Hip Bridges let you practice the flexibility and posture stability you need to stay down there all day.

You don’t need to become a yoga master though. Start by spending a few minutes or Pomodoro sprints on the floor at a time, after a short while it will feel easy and natural.

What’s next?

After making the change and getting used to your new environment now it’s time to reap all the benefits. 

Being able to move freely on the ground and to switch between sitting and standing is a great base for further fitness and health improvements. 

Also, you are already on the floor, so most exercises that keep you healthy and strong are just a small movement away.

Try out Hindu Push Ups. They are my favorite move, they combine strength and mobility and are scalable to your current abilities. 


Performance needs a foundation of physical and mental health. 

Not distracted by pain, feeling energized, capable and in tune with ourselves, we can produce our best work.

And it’s all right there, on the ground. 

Let me know if you need any tips, advice, or support on your way down.