Written by Elizabeth Thacker
Ergonomic workspaces are all the rage, but how do you know where to start? The good news is you don't have to buy all new office gear. Focus on key strategic changes that will make the biggest impact on your comfort and efficiency. Here are the top five items for creating a healthier and more productive work station:
1. Sit-Stand Desk
Studies show that alternating between sitting and standing is better for you than staying in the same position all day long. Giving yourself the opportunity to move up and down helps ward off fatigue and back pain. Ergonomic sit-stand desks are also linked with increased productivity and better job performance.
Here are some examples of sit-stand desks:
ApexDesk Elite Series 71 inch and 60 inch - This model features an ergonomic top with a subtle curve along the front that helps keep desk items within easy reach. The heavy duty metal frame adjusts in seconds with the push of a button. The desk comes with a height range of 29 to 48 inches, but you can program up to four memory presets to get the perfect height every time.
Ergonomic desks don't have to look utilitarian. The ApexDesk Elite series comes with a solid MDF laminated top that is both sturdy (it easily lifts 225 pounds) and attractive. Six different color choices make it possible to coordinate beautifully with the other furniture in your home or office.
Also, the motorized lifting system is quick and quiet, so you won't sound like you are operating an oil rig every time you raise your desk.
Vivo Height Adjustable Stand Up Desk with Crank System - This is a great budget option that still gives you plenty of desk space. The particle board top comes in three pieces that fit together to make a table top that is 62.5" x 31.5". Like the ApexDesk Elite series, the front is curved in to make it easier to reach all parts of your desk. All of the hardware to assemble the three top pieces and frame is included for a quick and easy assembly.
The desk is manually raised and lowered with a hand-turned crank. It doesn't have the ability to program in any preset heights, but it does have a range of 29" to 48". The crank system and desktop can easily support up to 132 pounds.
Uncaged Ergonomics Rise Up Electric Height Adjustable Desk - This model does not have a curved-front desktop, but it does feature a 3-stage lifting column that provides extra stability and weight capacity. It's rated to support a hefty 250 pounds with a bamboo top in either natural or black.
Dual motors provide electric height adjustment in seconds with the push of a button. The keypad has up and down arrows along with four programmable memory presets. This model also features anti-collision technology which protects against accidentally lowering your desk on top of an object.
Intrigued by the benefits of a sit-stand desk, but don't want to give up your current furniture? A standing desk converter is a simple way to convert any desk to an ergonomic sit-stand desk. It sits on top of the desk you already own and raises and lowers a platform as needed. No need to replace your favorite desk!
2. Ergonomic Chair
Next up is an ergonomic chair. You want to find something that optimizes your posture and allows you to move around and engage your core. Lots of office chairs claim to be "ergonomic" but not all of them offer the right balance of support and flexibility. The recent trend of using exercise balls as desk chairs meets the criteria of engaging your core, but doesn't provide the pelvic support that many people need.
Corechair - The corechair combines premium back and pelvic support with technology that enables mobility and engages your core. Let's start with the support features. The seat is highly molded to reduce pressure points and maximize support. The angle and height are also adjustable so that you can customize the fit. The low back rest supports your pelvis to reduce back pain and prompt healthy posture.
The patented movement technology facilitates movement in all directions. The range of motion is comparable to an exercise ball, but the backrest offers critical pelvic support. The mobility frees you from getting stuck in a static sitting position and engages your core for better health and posture. The flexibility is also adjustable so you can alter the degree of movement that the chair allows.
3. Monitor Arms
Monitor arms allow you to customize the height and viewing angle of your computer monitors. You can have an ergonomic desk and chair, but if your monitor is in the wrong place you'll still end up with neck and eye strain. The monitor arms also free up valuable space on your desk.
Vivo Dual Monitor Arms - This sturdy desk mount holds two LCD screens up to 27" wide and 17.6 lbs. The dual monitors help increase productivity by enlarging your viewing area instead of hiding your work in a forest of tabs. You can also choose to mount the screens in either portrait or landscape orientation. The 10 adjustable joints allow you to tilt, swivel, and rotate the monitors to achieve the best ergonomic viewing angle. These joints can be tightened to lock the angle in place or loosened so you can move the monitors freely.
These monitor arms also come with an integrated cable management system to keep your power cords from becoming a tangled, disorganized mess. Vivo also carries monitor arms that mount up to four screens, or you can purchase a monitor arm for a single screen mount.
4. Anti-Fatigue Mats
Standing on a rigid surface for long periods of time forces your muscles to stay constricted to maintain your static position. This restricts blood flow and causes fatigue.
An anti-fatigue mat creates a flexible surface that encourages subtle small movements and adjustments in your leg muscles. This drastically cuts down on muscle fatigue because it increases blood flow and allows the muscles to alternately constrict and relax instead of remaining in a fixed position. The increased blood flow also helps prevent the aggravation of varicose veins and the flexible support is more comfortable for your feet.
5. Cable Management
Ergonomic work stations involve more than just posture and healthy movement. They're also about reducing stress and creating an organized, efficient environment. The fifth key item for creating an ergonomic office space is cable management. Without a system to organize and protect your power cords, you are left with a frustrating mess.
Cable management is even more important when your desk, chair, and computer monitors are designed to move. It allows you to raise and lower your desk and swivel your monitor without the nightmare of pinched, stretched, or knotted cords.
Some products (like the Vivo Monitor Arms) come with built-in cord management that help tame the beast. If you have an ergonomic sit-stand desk, consider an under desk or wall PC mount so that your PC stays within reach at any height. The mount also prevents the PC cords from stretching and pulling when the desk is raised.
Other accessories include simple items like cord clips, sleeves, and floor covers to keep everything in its place and out of your way. Taking time to plan out and buy what you need for cable management is worth the investment and will save you extra hassle!
Wrapping it Up
Creating a work space that encourages good posture and promotes healthy movement and productivity doesn't have to be complicated. It also doesn't need to break the bank. Start with the foundational items of your desk and chair and add the monitor arms and anti-fatigue mat to get the most out of your new setup. Finally, the cable management system is a simple addition that protects and simplifies - not to mention saving you the extra annoyance of dealing with unwieldy cords!