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7 must-have ergonomic upgrades for your home office

We’re six months into it coronavirus pandemic and many of us continue to work from home. With all the wonders of slippers all day, meetings without pants and check email in bed, it is easy to assume that there is no risk of carpal tunnel or other work-related repetitive strain injuries. But when we face the prospect of working from home for several months to come, you should take a look at your home office – your furniture, your computer, your keyboard, your chair, everything ̵

1; and set up your space to hopefully avoid potential painful problems in the future .

Although there are guidelines for workplaces established by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, you may be surprised to know that they also have guidelines for home offices. There is an ergonomic solution for almost any office space to improve your posture and prevent repeated strain injuries. So even though your home may seem more comfortable than your office (and honestly, I hope it is), there are still important considerations you should take to make sure you do not cause yourself otherwise harm. There are several options for ergonomic office equipment at home to reduce the risk of stress and unnecessary fatigue.

Read more: Best tools for online meetings: webcams, lights, microphones, tripods and more


These keyboards look weird and the first time you use one you will probably not like it. There will be a learning period to get back to your normal writing speed. However, it can greatly reduce the potential for certain wrist issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome. The keyboard’s odd design places your hands in a more natural straight line, instead of bending as when using a traditional keyboard.

According to OSHA: “Alternative keyboards help maintain neutral wrist positions, but available research does not provide conclusive evidence that the use of these keyboards prevents discomfort and injury.”

That is, not everyone will need one, nor will they solve potential problems for everyone. But those of us who love them love them. If your wrists hurt after a long day, one of these can help. I switched to a predecessor of Microsoft Ergonomic after months of wrist problems. It relieved my wrist pain and I have been using it ever since. It also has a plush wrist rest, which is a bonus.

It’s also a good idea to check out OSHA’s overall keyboard placement advice.


Along the same lines as the keyboard, the claw shape that your hand grips a mouse is not very ergonomic, or as OSHA describes: “Inappropriate size and shape of pointers can increase stress, cause awkward positions and lead to overexertion.” Getting an ergonomic mouse that fits your hand shape can help relieve pain from the tendons in the palm of your hand.

Mice come in all shapes and sizes, much like the hands that will use them. Finding one that suits you best can take a look, but it is almost certainly not the one that comes with your computer for free.

The ergonomic option listed here will work well for some people, but less well for others, as we found in our review of a similar Logitech. (Amazon reviewers disagreed with us and gave MX Vertical high marks – but it’s close to $ 100.) For more options, check out our picks for the best wireless mouse to work from home.

OSHA has some general advice for mice as well, as it calls “pointers.”

Container store

Rigid chairs for kitchens and dining tables are not ideal for 8-hour work shifts. By this time, you have probably figured it out yourself. But if not, here’s what OSHA has to say: “A chair that is well-designed and appropriately adjusted is an important part of a safe and productive computer workstation. A good chair provides the necessary support for the back, legs, buttocks and arms, while reducing exposures for difficult positions, contact stress and vigorous efforts. “

When considering an office chair, the key is one that is highly adjustable. We are all built a little differently, so when it comes to an ergonomic office chair, one size definitely does not fit all. At the top of the list is, of course, the legendary (infamous?) Herman Miller Aeron office chair, which I have seen in almost every recording studio and editing compartment I have ever toured. They are ridiculously comfortable, but expensive.

Our sister site, ZDNet, looked at the best office chairs, and one of the cheaper options they liked is the HON exposure with lumbar support. It is highly adjustable, which is the key, and each armrest is adjustable, which the cheapest chairs lack. Making sure your shoulders are not bent or hanging is key.

Unfortunately, the ergonomic chair seems to be sold out and costs more than $ 300. That’s why you might want to try this “bungee chair” from the Container Store. Available for about $ 200, this chair recently found a spot on CNET’s home office, John Falcone, following a recommendation from a friend. He says that it is incredibly comfortable – and height-adjustable as well. (The no-arm version is even more affordable.) Note that the wheels are so smooth that anyone with a wooden floor can find a shaggy rug needed to prevent accidental rolling.

If you are looking for something more spotty, we have a list of the best gaming chairs.

Photo by Rick Broida / CNET

By its nature, your laptop screen will be much lower than a traditional monitor. According to OSHA, “A screen that is too high or low will cause you to work with your head, neck, shoulders and even your back in awkward positions. For example, when the screen is too high, you will have to work with your head and neck tilted. working in these awkward positions for an extended period of time exhausts the muscles that support the head. “

If you do not want to buy a full size monitor to connect, consider a laptop stand as an ergonomic solution for better posture. We like the cheap AmazonBasics model. It should bring the top of the screen to about eye level, which OSHA recommends. The mask design should also help prevent your laptop from getting too hot.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Headphones are great in general and certainly a way to keep your work from home separate from your spouse’s adjacent work-from-home space. However, heavy headphones over the ear can lead to strain in the neck. Personally, I can not wear headphones over the ear for more than a few hours without them becoming a literal pain in the neck. Lightweight in-ear headphones are an excellent ergonomic accessory that should help minimize or eliminate this particular problem.

I travel with the Bose QuietComfort 20s and their battery lasts even for a long working day. The Sony WF-1000XM3 is even smaller and lighter, but you have to charge them sometime during the day, as their battery life is about 6 hours with noise reduction on.

For other options, check out our list of the best noise canceling genuine wireless earphones and the best wireless earphones and Bluetooth headphones for making calls.

Author: Sarah Tew / CNET

These look ridiculous and I’m not lying, you look ridiculous with them. Good to be home. The idea here is to reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes from your monitor. There are some studies that show that large amounts of blue light (such as from a computer / laptop screen) are more likely to cause eye fatigue and can affect sleep. We looked at them (literally and figuratively) a few years ago and asked about glasses that really block.

I was skeptical, but after some brutal migraines and sore, gravelly eyes, I thought I would give them a try. They helped, although I guess if you could reduce the brightness of your monitor, it would have the same effect. You can also enable “night mode” on Windows, macOS or iOS and Android.

My screen is still quite bright at large. If yours is the same, blue-blocking glasses can help. I bought a pair of ElementsActive because they fit comfortably over my regular glasses. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, they are out of stock. Conveniently we have a list of the seven best glasses that block blue light to prevent eye fatigue. Gunnar Optics, pictured above, is available with different levels of blue ink shade. The more the better, in general, to block the blue, but to look at the world through a significant orange-yellow hue may not be for everyone.


If you expect to work from home for a while, an adjustable desk is worth considering for a truly ergonomic workstation. Note, not specifically a standing desk, but a motorized, ergonomic desk that allows you to stand part of the day, sit part of the day and adjust the height so that you are comfortable reducing the load on your back, shoulders and so on. Standing desk was all crazy a few years ago, but in some cases you just swap one problem for another. Standing – as everyone who does it for their job all day can tell you – is not good either. There are several things to keep in mind before you switch.

Why consider this at all? Desktop height can be an important part of your overall comfort, from the height and position of your arms and shoulders, to how far you have to reach to get to the keyboard and mouse and more. “Writing surfaces that are too high or too low can lead to awkward postures, such as outstretched arms to reach the keyboard and raised shoulders,” says OSHA.

I have worked from home for 13 years (when I am not traveling). The Jarvis I bought a few years ago was the best upgrade I did for my home office. It is well built and adapts to new heights in a few seconds. I can spend a few hours standing, then put it on and sit for a bit too. It is also quite beautiful with a bamboo top.

Another option is to convert your current desktop to a standing desktop, and for that we can recommend the top five standing desktop converters. But again, if you are not sure you like to stand all the time, one of the adjustable options is probably best.

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The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goal.

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