I’m back, but this time with a lengthy shopping post on my favorite ergonomic essentials for a happier and healthier day at the office with product options. I want to start this off with a disclaimer that I am not a medical professional so if you are seeking medical advise, you should see your doctor.
So for those of you never read my bio page I was a design manager for a commercial furniture dealership in my past life specializing in corporate open offices and private office interiors. Providing ergonomic solutions for various tasks, body types, and working styles was one of my favorite parts of office design. We used to joke that sitting where is the new smoking and certainly created a ton of sit to stand workstations to address that.
I sit in my desk chair for the majority of my day for extended parts of my day and like to sit cross legged in my chair – TERRIBLE, I know, but it just happens. Anyway, if you suffer from the same posture issues without the benefits of ergonomics, you will suffer from lower back pain, neck pain, and maybe even Carpal Tunnel.
The top essentials I recommend for your office at work or at home are the same:
1. An Ergonomic Task Chair, FULLY LOADED with adjustments perfect for your body.
2. A Keyboard Tray with Attached Mouse
3. A Fully Adjustable Monitor Arm
4. A Sit-to-Stand Worksurface OR Sit-to-Stand Converter Station
5. An LED Task Light
6. A Health Tracker
Let’s dive right in to the first essential: An Ergonomic Task Chair, FULLY LOADED.
What does fully loaded mean? Well, almost every manufacturer of chairs creates a stripped down version of the chair which is obviously more affordable, but isn’t what you should purchase. An ergonomic chair is an investment in your health – just like your mattress is because of the time spent and pressure on the spine. Fully loaded features include a seat slider, fully adjustable arms, and can also include features like lumbar support, adjustable back height, and a tilt limiter.
A seat slider means you can adjust the forward placement of the seat. Adjust the seat so the front of the seat barely hits the backside of your knee so it bends freely. It can also be adjusted to cradle the tush just so.
Fully Adjustable Arms are important because it allows the user to determine the width, height, and sometimes the angle of the arm pad. The width is important if you are purchasing the chair for a variety of people and sizes. You shouldn’t actually rest your elbows on arm rests while doing typical office work, but that being said, I still feel like I NEED them! Lol
Lumbar Support is important for lower back pain or to prevent lower back pain. It also encourages the user to sit up with correct posture. (depending on the chair, this might be integrated into the chair design)
Adjustable Back Height is especially important for the big and tall user because it allows the chair back to cradle you. Also a great feature if you are purchasing general ergonomic solutions for an entire office.
Tilt Limiter is my FAVORITE feature, mostly available from Herman Miller task chairs. It allows the user to set the tilt angle of the chair to STOP so you only lean back a specific amount. I like it so much more than just cranking up the tension on the chair.
OKAY, now that you have all the vocab words on chairs, I’m going to tell you a bit about my top 3 favorite chairs! The Mirra 2 Task Chair, The Sayl Task Chair, and The Diffrient World Mesh Swivel Desk Chair.
The Mirra 2 Task Chair is my all-time favorite chair because it has a mesh seat and molded polymer back with lazer caved holes providing support and breathability. The chair really moves with you and the mesh seat is great for sitting comfortably for longer periods of time. It comes with a tilt limiter so you can talk on the phone / chat with a co-worker in a relaxed position. (Some chairs offer a back-lock, but only locks the chair in an upright fixed position - - THAT was not for me. I also have really broad shoulders so the wide back cradles me perfectly). If you aren’t as broad as I am, then you may want to check out the Sayl Task Chair.
The Sayl Task Chair features a Y-shaped back support structure which provides full support like a spine and flexibility for bending and stretching. This chair is a bit less expensive with a cloth seat and typical seat cushion. The seat cushion is comfortable, but not too comfortable you forget to get up and move around throughout the day. Also features a 4-position tilt limiter so you can control which specific positions work best for you.
The Diffrient World Mesh Swivel Desk Chair instantly became one of my favorite ergonomic chairs with its sleek design and features designed INTO the chair instead of upgrades. The arms are attached to back, so as you lean back in the chair, the angle of the arms change with the body. Lumbar support is integrated into the chair design with a perfect curve that supports and cradles the back. Sit in this chair for extended periods and you won’t be disappointed!
A Keyboard Tray is the next essential on the check list. You want to work so you wrists are relaxed, your hands are at an inverted angle tapping on your keyboard, and the height should be lower than your worksurface height. What is an inverted angle you ask?? Well, you know those little kick stand feet keyboards came with? That creates a positive tilt and is ALL WRONG. You want those fingers to be below your wrist. It also frees up that crucial desk space when you want to write in a notebook or on an ipad.
A Fully Adjustable Monitor Arm is the best thing you can purchase for yourself. If you have a limited budget for ergonomic improvements, this is where I would start. You want to make sure your neck is straight while working and your eyes hit the monitor just over the halfway point. If you are constantly looking down at your screen you will develop “Tech Neck” which is a newish term for the curvature of the top of your spine as a result from looking down at devices. Purchase your monitor arm by clicking here and changing the specs for your monitor situation.
A Sit-to-Stand Desk is great for your health and posture! Imagine being able to stand while you work. It isn’t for everyone, but it is nice to have an option. If you are overweight or can’t leave your desk for most of the day, then I highly recommend investing in one. My favorite Sit-to-Stand table is the Float table by Humanscale because it is super easy to adjust and doesn’t require to be plugged in. You can also purchase my favorite converter if you don’t want the entire surface to move up and down, you can just have your computer setup adjust up and down. What I don’t LOVE about it is the lack of space around the work surface. That being said, it is a MUCH more affordable solution!
The last two I can write in one short paragraph since they are more obvious essentials. Lighting makes a world of difference and not only helps eye strain, but makes it so you don’t have to lean in to see the details. Adjustable LED task lights are the best since LED last forever and sometimes you can even choose if you want a warm or cool light temperature. Lastly, a health tracker is a great idea to remind you to move around and walk so you aren’t stuck with zero movement. I currently have a Fitbit Versa Lite in Marine Blue (you know, MY color) and love the encouragement it gives me to get a minimum of 250 steps per hour so I’m not just stationary all day churning out work.
Take a look at my essentials listed below and reach out if you have any questions or are in need of an ergonomic solution for your home or corporate office. If you are an employee at an office, you may be surprised they would spend $1000 on your health. Some businesses require a doctor’s recommendation, but a lot of companies are proud and happy to offer ergonomic solutions for happier and healthier employees. There should also be government funding you/they can get through grants to provide ergonomic improvements.