The Best Neck Stretches for Office Workers

By | November 8, 2023

Ever heard the term ‘tech neck?’

The smartphones, laptops, and tablets office workers use every day are putting repetitive strain on their necks. This adoption of technology is largely to blame for the aches and pains you might feel in your neck after a long day.

You’ve no doubt noticed how much people tilt their heads down when using their smartphones. But did you know the more you angle your neck down, the more force it exerts on your neck? The typical adult head is 10 to 12 pounds, and the amount of pressure it puts on your neck is about 40 to 49 lbs. when it’s held at 30 to 45 degrees.

Smartphones Have Hampered Office Ergonomics

If one device should be identified as the culprit it’s the smartphone.

Before Apple released its first iPhone and changed the world, in terms of technology, most office workers mainly looked at their monitors. Desktop displays were generally at around eye level, so neck strain wasn’t nearly as much of an issue as it is today.

Traditionally, good ergonomics have been emphasized in the corporate world. Since mobile technology has become a big part of our lives it has become key to vital to remind ourselves how our work habits affect our bodies whether we’re at our desks or not.

It’s estimated that highly mobile workers use their smartphones for about a third of their workday. Whether employees use their phones for work-related activities or mainly personal use, the vast majority bring their personal devices to their workplace and check them frequently.

One thing is clear: your neck won’t start feeling better until you take action. So, let’s get to what you came here for, the stretches.

Stretches Every Office and Remote Worker Should Know

Not only is this list crafted just for office workers, but these are office-friendly stretches. You can do these exercises from your chair or near your desk.

Before diving in, it’s important to note you’ll want to complete 10 reps of each of these stretches.

Neck Rotation

  1. Start by sitting in a firm chair or standing up. Look straight ahead.
  2. Turn your head to the right as far as is comfortable while keeping your chin level. Hold your head there for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat on the other side by turning your head to the left and holding it there for 15 to 30 seconds.

Neck Stretches

  1. Start by looking straight ahead in a chair or standing up. Tilt your head to the right so that your right ear is roughly above your right shoulder. Ensure that your left shoulder doesn’t move up as you move your head.
  2. Hold your head tilted to the right for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat on the other side. Tilt your head to the left so that your left ear is roughly above your shoulder.
  4. Hold your head tilted to the left for 15 to 30 seconds.

Neck Flexion and Extension

  1. Slowly drop your head forward until you’re looking at the floor.
  2. Hold your head there for 10 to 20 seconds.
  3. Slowly move your head backward until you’re looking at the ceiling. Don’t arch your back during the movement.
  4. Hold your head there for 10 to 20 seconds.

Shoulder Shrugs

  1. Slowly lift both your shoulders up.
  2. Hold your shoulders there for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Lower them and return to the starting position.

Neck Glide

  1. Look forward with your neck straight. Slowly move your chin forward.
  2. Hold your head there for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Return to the starting position.

Getting to the Root of Neck Strain

You’ll feel a lot of improvement in your neck when you consistently do the stretches listed here. Getting to the root of the problem is also advised for the best results.

Have an honest look at your work environment and see if there are areas where ergonomics can be improved. If you use a laptop, simply adding a laptop stand is an easy change that makes a huge difference.

Try lifting your phone closer to eye level when you check it. Most people are accustomed to looking down to view their phone and can be challenging to change this habit. However, it’s a simple hack, and it costs you nothing.


If you notice neck strain while you’re working in an office environment, don’t ignore it.

We humans weren’t designed to look down for extended periods of time. Nor were our heads intended to stay in one spot like we do while working on a laptop.

Neck stretches are a real game-changer for people with desk jobs. They help relieve the strain that is sometimes inevitable when using devices such as smartphones.