Better Ergonomics at the Office: What Products Have You Tried and Loved?

better ergonomics at the officeWe’ve talked before about ergonomics at work — as well as ergonomics for petites — but it’s been a while, so let’s discuss today, ladies! Have you tried to have better ergonomics at the office? What have you bought; what products did you like/not get annoyed by, and what actually made you feel better/good? (Plus, do tell: what did you get reimbursed?) What resources were the most helpful for you in your hunt? 

For my $.02: I feel like I am forever buying, trying, and discarding various things to try to make my office better ergonomically. I’m typing this very post on a new split keyboard (recommended by Wirecutter as one of their top choices), and trying to relearn how to type because the numbers along the top are split (1-5 are on one keyboard, 6-0 on another), and other keyboard features that I use frequently are in a different place than my old keyboard. Over the years, I’ve bought a huge number of those lower back pillows designed to improve your posture — and about every ten years I seem to need to try a kneeling desk chair one more time. (I bought one last year and think I’m set for this decade… nope, still don’t like them.) Ergonomic products I have bought and liked:

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How To Improve Your Posture

How to Improve Your Posture.Let’s have an open thread today about POSTURE — have any of you tried to improve your posture? Have you had success with small adjustments and simple exercises, or did you need a systematic overhaul? I was thinking the other day about how good posture is SO key for looking polished. I mean, we can talk about clothes and fit and style until we’re blue in the face, but if you’re slumping and slouching in your $2000 Armani blazer you’re going to look as bad as if you had a $20 blazer. Good posture is also incredibly important if you work in a desk job — if you have bad posture, sitting all day just seems to amplify the problems. This is something I personally struggle with, so let’s discuss — what are YOUR best hacks for improving your posture? Do you feel like your posture has gotten better or worse over the years?

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Petite Office Ergonomics (and: How Does Your Office Handle Ergonomics?)

ergonomics - employer's responsibility2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion of petite office ergonomics — but you may also want to check out our latest discussion of how to have better ergonomics at the office.

If you’re petite and your office desk is too tall for you — enough that it’s causing you pain while you work — how much is your employer required to do to make your desk/chair setup more ergonomic? What if you work at a nonprofit? Reader A asks…

I wonder if you could address what my work place is required to do regarding ergonomics? About a year ago I started a new position where I sit at a desk all day. (For the last 5 years I worked remotely meeting clients 90% of the time.) Since then I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting weird pains in my back, wrists, hips, and neck. I’m just about 5’2″ so my desk is too tall for me, my typing and monitor alignment are all wrong. If I raise the chair to the right height, my feet dangle, and resting them on the chair base caused weird hip pain (and a footrest just wasn’t convenient.) I work for a nonprofit, so buying new office supplies isn’t really at the top of our priority list, but can I request one for health purposes? If not, do you have another suggestion? (I live in Ohio if that matters.) Thanks for the help!

Interesting question, Reader A. We haven’t talked about ergonomics in a little while, and I’m curious to hear what readers think about this, both petite and otherwise. What ergonomic hacks have you used for your office? What help have you gotten from your employer in the matter, whether officially (ergonomics consultant, ergonomics budget) or after the fact (e.g., being able to get a $36 footrest reimbursed)?  

First, though, we asked an expert for his take on Reader A’s situation. Paul Krewson, OTR/L, CEAS III — an occupational therapist, ergonomist, and president of Peak Ergonomics — suggested the following:

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Open Thread: A Comfortable and Pain-Free Office…

a comfortable and pain free office

2018 Update: We still think this is a fascinating discussion of how to have a comfortable and pain-free office — but you may want to check out our more recent discussion on how to get better ergonomics at the office.

Here’s something we’re curious about:  How many of you have picked out your own desk chairs, keyboard drawers, and so forth in an effort to make your office more ergonomic and comfortable? Which brands have you found to be the best?

We’ve read a million articles about how — without the right set-up — your office could be causing you back pain, headaches, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. In terms of eye strain, we’ve noticed a huge difference in a flat-screen monitor versus one of the old CRT monitors.  We also prefer a keyboard tray versus having our keyboard sitting on top of our desk.  Otherwise, we are far from experts on the subjects, so thought we would turn to you guys.  Does anyone swear by the Aeron chair?  Did changing the “refresh rate” for your monitor change your life?  Do tell — what are your best tips for a comfortable and pain-free office?

(Pictured:  Ergonomics matters, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ezu.)

Further reading:
Office Ergonomics, WebMD

How to Ease Back and Neck Pain at the Office, eHow