9 Must-Have Ergonomic Office Accessories
Ergonomic equipment can make a significant impact on your overall workplace productivity. The word “ergonomics” refers to the science of designing environments that increase efficiency by working with human physiology instead of forcing it into unnatural and uncomfortable positions.
Unfortunately, few people pay sufficient attention to this detail — until it’s too late. Letting aches and pains fester results in expensive medical interventions. Companies and employees alike absorb these costs in copays and sick days.
Fortunately, the right tools can support positive physical and mental health by helping you avoid overuse injuries and strains and preventing conditions like low back pain. Here are nine must-have ergonomic office accessories that can supercharge your performance.
A Quality Office Chair
Many office workers spend most of their time sitting. Doing so in a chair that doesn’t fit your body is a surefire recipe for back, shoulder, and hip pain. The wrong angle can create an unnatural spinal curvature, a condition called kyphosis.
When requesting a new chair from HR or furnishing your home office, ask yourself the following questions to determine the best fit:
- Does the height adjust? You should be able to place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Is there adequate lumbar support? The best chairs support your lower back’s natural curve to prevent pain.
- Are there armrests? Armrests ease pressure on your vertebrae, which is important if you have degenerative disk disease.
- Does the seat feel comfortable? You want something where you can remain cozy for hours at a stretch.
A Variable-Height Desk
Have you heard the saying, “sitting is the new standing?” While the two behaviors aren’t exactly comparable, remaining stationery for more than six to eight hours a day increases your chances of premature death. However, many office workers pull shifts that are 10 hours or longer.
Fortunately, variable-height desks offer a solution, allowing you to move from sitting to standing throughout the day. You’ll increase your overall calorie burn and productivity, and many users report that these devices also help them ease low back pain.
A Monitor Arm
Eye strain is a severe problem among office workers who spend long hours at the computer. It can lead to dryness, redness, and pain and trigger headaches and migraines.
A monitor arm allows you to adjust your screen for easy viewing. It can also decrease back pain associated with eye strain — no more hunching forward to read the fine print.
An Ergonomic Mouse and Keyboard
Contrary to popular belief, working on a computer all day doesn’t cause carpal tunnel syndrome. However, it can prompt other disorders. Upper extremity conditions resulting from keyboard use are the second most common reason for work-related disability — finding the right model is crucial.
Look for one with an adjustable tray that allows your forearms to remain parallel to the floor when you bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Your wrists should form a straight line with your forearms. You may find wrist supports more cumbersome than not using them, so listen to your body. Find a mouse that feels good in your hand, ensuring it works with your dominant one to prevent strain.
The Right Light
Lighting can influence your mood and cause physical pain in some. For example, migraine sufferers have long complained about the invisible pulsing produced by overhead fluorescents, triggering attacks.
If possible, embrace natural light by locating your desk near a window or under a skylight to reap the following benefits:
- Improved performance: 70% of employees self-report productivity improvements in natural light.
- Fewer headaches: Those in such environments have a 63% lower risk of headaches.
- Less eye strain: Natural light reduces eye strain by 51%.
- Increased alertness: Workers in naturally lit spaces report a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
Natural light might also reduce your suffering if you have seasonal affective disorder. If you can’t get near a source, consider an over-the-counter sun lamp that mimics the outdoor wavelength.
A Pair of Specs
You might not need glasses to see your screen. However, your sleep hygiene may benefit from a pair of specs.
Many screens emit blue light, the same wavelength as a sunny day. Too much exposure can disrupt your circadian rhythms. A pair of glasses that cuts this frequency can keep you balanced.
A Standing Mat
Cashiers and warehouse workers know too much time on concrete floors wreaks havoc on your knees, hips and back. It can also aggravate plantar fasciitis.
They know that the right standing mat eases the pressure. It creates a more forgiving surface, minimizing stress on your joints.
An Inflatable Fitness Ball
An inflatable fitness ball works wonders as the occasional chair replacement. Consider these great perks:
- Bounce: You’ll burn more calories while working your leg muscles.
- Core: Holding yourself upright unsupported strengthens your abs.
Stretch: Lean back over the device and feel a glorious stretch on your lumbar spine.
Must-Have Ergonomic Office Accessories
You might not pay much attention to workplace ergonomics — until pain develops. Ongoing discomfort can disrupt your productivity and lead to sick days.
Instead, request these must-have ergonomic office accessories from your HR department or invest in them for your home office. You’ll produce your best work when your workspace supports your health.
Rose Morrison is a home-living writer with over five years of experience. She is the managing editor of Renovated.com, a home living site where she loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth. For more articles from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.