In 2012, I started working from home full time. Within just a few months, I threw my back out from sitting all day at a home office thrown together from what I had on hand. That event kicked off a quest to find office equipment that would be a bit easier on my spine. I expected the quest to consist of a trip to the store. Instead, it’s been years of learning what good posture really entails.
Before getting a new job that allowed me to work from home, I wasn’t making enough money to get by. The new job was a step up, but during those first few months I was working at a cheap metal desk from Walmart with a metal folding chair. The desk had a flimsy keyboard tray, but no space for a mouse. So my mouse and keyboard were at different elevations. My monitor sat on the desk, on a rigid, nonadjustable stand. It was an objectively terrible setup. Aside from the metal folding chair, though, it was a pretty common one.
So, over the course of several years — as I was able to afford each new upgrade — I searched for the best, most ergonomic option. In some cases, I found that buying a new piece of hardware could have a dramatic impact on my posture. But I also found that no amount of “perfect” equipment could fix bad habits.
Upgrade #1: A desk chair that allows for a variety of positions
The first thing that had to go was the metal folding chair. A good office chair can be expensive, but it’s also like buying a mattress. If you’re going to spend a third of your life in it, it should be comfortable. Wirecutter, The New York Times Company that reviews products, suggests looking at a few key criteria when picking an office chair, including:
Comfort: Everyone’s body is different, and finding a chair that’s comfortable is often a matter of personal preference. If possible, it’s important to sit in a chair before buying it to ensure it’s comfortable.
Lumbar and back support: While a cheap office chair might offer very little lumbar support (and my awful folding chair had none), a good chair should be adjustable enough to support your spine in a variety of sitting positions.
Adjustability: Not only is your body different from everyone else’s, but you’re not likely to sit in one position all day. Or at least you shouldn’t. Whatever chair you buy should have adjustable seat height, armrest height, tilt and seat depth. Some cheaper chairs might leave off certain adjustments, but the more you can customize your chair, the better.
You can read more about what to look for in a good office chair (and get some specific recommendations) in the Wirecutter guide here. According to Leon Straker, a professor at Curtin University’s School …….