In this new hybrid working world, many of us have the option to work from the comfort of our own homes. But working from home without the right equipment or ergonomic setup can be far from comfortable.
Office ergonomics is all about making sure a working environment is fit for the user, in this case, the desk worker. It covers everything from environmental factors such as temperature and noise, to the more physical aspects of a workspace like chairs and screen setup.
Ergonomic office equipment can protect you and your team from work-related injuries like neck or back pain and help you create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace. There are many premium options on the market, but a good ergonomic office setup doesn’t need to break the bank.
Whether you’re upgrading a large office space, advising your team how to use their work-from-home budgets or sprucing up your own home office, we’ve got you covered with the best ergonomic equipment options to suit every budget:
9 hours a day. That’s how long the average desk-based employee spends sitting down, often on dining chairs or sofas without any lumbar support. This is a recipe for developing lower back pain, which can be improved significantly with a good ergonomic desk chair .
A top-of-the-range ergonomic chair will instantly elevate any workspace. Premium chairs such as the Herman Miller Mirra 2 Butterfly adapt and respond to your individual positioning, offering the ultimate comfort and spinal support.
A premium chair like this doesn’t come cheap, however, and will set you back around £1,000. If you’re looking for a similar design and functionality at a slightly lower price point, the Ergomesh Ergonomic chair is a great option.
If a new chair is out of the question, adding a lumbar support pillow to your existing chair is an effective, budget-friendly way to protect your back while you work. This one from Everlasting Comfort can be easily strapped onto your chair, supporting your upper, middle and lower back for the mere price of £30.
The most important aspect of any ergonomic chair or add-on is lumbar support. Simply placing a cushion or even a rolled-up towel behind your lower back can protect the curvature of your spine in a pinch!
Sitting in one position for too long can lead to all sorts of health problems no matter how comfortable the chair, so make sure you stand up and move around regularly
2. Laptop Stand
If you’re looking down at your monitor or laptop screen right now, you may notice your head starting to feel a bit heavy. Did you know this can put up to 400% more force on your spine than if your screen was positioned correctly?
Raising your screen so it sits directly in front of your eyes, and placing it an arm’s length away, will prevent excess strain on your neck and help you hold your head up high!
In a typical week, hybrid employees work in several different environments with different screen positioning requirements. There are some excellent adjustable laptop stands on the market such as the Moft Z Stand (priced at £69), which are light enough to fit in your backpack and give you the flexibility to get your screen height right no matter where you work.
If you spend most of your time working in the same environment, it’s not always necessary to adjust your screen positioning on a regular basis. A static laptop stand like this one from HUANUO will help you get the perfect desk posture for just over a tenner!
Want to put that pile of books lurking in the corner to good use? Stack them up to the right height and create your very own laptop riser without spending a penny.
Tools like Vitrue VIDA can assess your screen positioning (and much more!) through your webcam, providing clinically-validated recommendations to improve your posture, desk setup and overall working environment.
3. Standing Desk
Gone are the days where standing desks were considered to be a wacky new working phenomenon. Now a widely popular option for office and home workers alike, standing desks can help boost your productivity and curb the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
If you do use a standing desk, it’s best to alternate between sitting and standing every half an hour or so, or whenever your muscles and joints feel tired. Standing in a stationary position for hours on end can do more harm than good!
High-end standing desks allow you to seamlessly switch between sitting and standing throughout the working day. Many have the functionality to programme sit-stand reminders, remember specific desk heights and even prevent collisions. Options such as the FlexiSpot E8 typically cost in the region of £400 to £600.
It’s not just the price of standing desks that put them out of reach for many people; space is often just as much of an issue. A standing desk converter is a cheaper way of getting the benefits of a standing desk in a much smaller package. Ergomaker has some great options for under £100.
Look around at the different surfaces in your home. An unused shelf, ironing board, chest of drawers or pretty much anything at chest height with a flat surface has standing desk potential!
Mouse-clicking, touch-typing and keyboard-clattering are all part and parcel of a desk job. But if you’re not supporting your wrists correctly, you could be typing your way to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Luckily, there are many simple ways to make your keyboard more ergonomic.
Split designs, wrist cushioning and angled key layouts are all common features of ergonomic keyboards, such as this brilliant model from Logitech (priced at £89). The design allows you to adopt a more natural typing position, relieving pressure on your wrists and making typing a much more comfortable affair.
No budget for a new ergonomic keyboard? No problem! A gel or foam wrist rest, like this one from GEMEK, will take some of the pressure off your wrists when typing on your existing keyboard. At just £10, this is a cost-effective option if you need to bulk-buy equipment for an office or send your team some ergonomic home office accessories.
If you fancy a DIY challenge, you can try sewing your own cushioned wrist rest!
Feet dangling off the ground when sitting at your desk? This is a common problem, especially for those with a slightly smaller stature!
In the ideal sitting posture, your knees should be between 90-120 degrees and your feet comfortably supported by the floor. If this is not the case, consider adding a footrest to your home office to raise your feet and avoid straining your knees and lower back.
Not all footrests are made equal. There are some fancy models on the market like the Humanscale FR500 Foot Rocker which do much more than just raise your feet. Cleverly designed to encourage a gentle rocking motion, this footrest and other similar models will improve your circulation, relieve your lower back pain and set you back around £100.
If you’re looking for a no-frills, low-cost footrest to elevate your feet and keep you grounded, the adjustable HUANUO Ergonomic Foot will do exactly that for £25 – just a quarter of the price of the more sophisticated, rocking options.
There are infinite ways to make use of an old empty shoebox – turning it into a footrest is one of them!
So there you have it! A roundup of our favourite equipment and hacked-together solutions to help you improve your office ergonomics and look after your wellbeing. We hope you find it useful!