We get it. The term “ergonomic” can conjure up visions of some decidedly not-cute office furniture. But in a world where WFH life is the norm, it’s time to ditch the makeshift kitchen table set up or the laptop-on-the-couch situation for a grownup workspace designed with comfort—and aesthetics—in mind.
In the ultimate merger of form and function, leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance ergonomic styles Humanscale has paired sleek styles with body-supporting designs to create furniture that isn’t a literal pain in the neck. Or back. Or shoulders. And these great-looking pieces are not eyesores, either. If you’re ready to straighten out your space—and your spine!—check out our guide, then cancel that chiropractor consultation.
Take a seat
Ideally, you want one with lumbar support that molds to the natural s-shape of your spine. Using patented Form-Sensing Mesh Technology, the backrest of the Niels Diffrient-designed Diffrient World chair conforms to your back while weight-sensitive recline adjusts automatically—but barely noticeably—with each movement.
The Freedom chair also adjusts with your spine movements, and it features a headrest that moves with you, too, providing continuous neck support. Designed by a team that likely spent a lot of time paying attention in physics class, the Path chair uses gravity to gently lift the seat as you recline, so you feel constant support. Then there’s the chair’s mesh-like FormSense Eco Knit™ fabric, made from upcycled plastic bottles and crafted to provide the unique lumbar support necessary for your shape. Like all Humanscale chairs, there’s no need for extras like knobs and levers, so the look is as minimalist as its impact on the environment.
Soar to new heights
Most desks are designed to serve the taller set, leaving the rest of us out of luck and out of alignment. (Psst…you’re aiming for your arms to be parallel to the ground or slightly angled down as you type.) An adjustable option—like Humanscale’s eFloat GO—allows you to raise and lower your work surface, ensuring it’s perfect for you whether you’re standing or sitting.
Even better, the desk uses a near-silent motor to move and its sleek design (complete with an option to incorporate a keyboard tray) doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m using ergonomic furniture because I’m worried about my aching back.”
Put your feet up
It’s recommended that even head-in-the-clouds creative types keep their feet firmly planted for optimal body positioning. So, if you can’t reach the floor while keeping your knees level or slightly below your hips, consider springing for a footrest. In addition to providing a lift, ball bearing rollers in Humanscale’s foot rocker encourage users to rock their feet, stimulating leg muscles and increasing circulation.
Keep your monitor at arm’s length
That’s the ideal placement to ensure you’re able to see everything on the screen without having to strain your eyes or crane your neck. You also want it propped up enough that eye level is a few inches below the top of your screen. And while a makeshift stack of magazines or books can do the job, a laptop holder or monitor arm might look just a bit more professional.
See the light
Since we’re not all blessed with floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll want to invest in good lighting to ensure you’re not straining your eyes all day. While an overhead option is good, a tabletop task light—like Humanscale’s ultra sleek Infinity—is even better. Not only can you adjust it to shine a light on whatever you’re looking at, but it’s made with recycled polished aluminum and illuminated with the highest efficiency LED chip on the market, which allows you to select your preferred level of brightness.
Traditional keyboards can place a lot of stress on shoulders, forcing you to spend about eight hours a day with your hands out of their natural position. For the cost of a few much-needed massages, you can try out a split keyboard that allows you to keep your arms shoulder-width apart.
Spending all day moving a mouse around can also be a pain in the, uh, hand. Which is why Humanscale designed their wireless version with a shape that counters to your palm and a tilt-click scroll wheel that alleviates any wrist strain.
Suss out stressors
Loud neighbors, outdoor construction, and constant message notifications don’t just feel annoying, they can actually cause your muscles to tense. Do what you can to stay calm, whether that means springing for a pair of noise-canceling headphones, streaming a mix of meditative music or adding some greenery to your set-up. A plant doesn’t just look cute, it has been shown to actually reduce stress—and that’s one work-related accessory you’ll be happy to eliminate.