Work From Home in Comfort With These Ergonomic Office Chairs
If you’re new to working from home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, then you’ve likely thrown together an ad hoc workspace. Maybe you’ve taken over the kitchen counter, sprawled on the living room sofa or turned your bedroom into a semi-functional office. That last one definitely rings true for me, but the struggle to find the right office furniture — and avoid the inevitable back pain that comes with working from bed — has been a slow process.
For a few months, I used a spare folding chair and told myself it wouldn’t be forever, so why bother investing? Well, now it’s been nearly half a year since the work-from-home measures were implemented, and I’ve realized that while there are ways to manage back pain, one of the best things to do is invest in a quality office chair. Much like a supportive pillow or a good pair of shoes, an ergonomic office chair that offers features like an adjustable seat height and posture-improving lumbar support is more than worth the investment.
How Do You Choose a Desk Chair?
Working from home will be the new norm for many folks for the foreseeable future. Moreover, as fall approaches, many students are heading back to school virtually. Needless to say, if you haven’t already invested in a comfortable desk and chair setup, now’s the time. When selecting an ergonomic office chair, consider a few key points. How tall is the office chair in question — and is its height adjustable? Is the desk chair you’re eyeing prone to sinking — and how can you stop said office chair from sinking? And, of course, how can you make your desk chair experience more comfortable?
While the chair itself figures into these concerns, it’s also important to consider how you’re sitting. For example, you should sit back in your chair — instead of hunching forward — with your feet resting flat on the floor for extra support. (Kicking up your feet is, in part, what makes working from the sofa or bed so uncomfortable after a while.) Additionally, you should make sure to view your computer straight on, at eye level; looking down can cause a lot of strain, which is why having a chair with an adjustable height is so essential.
Other Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Your Optimal At-Home Office:
- If you’re considering a standing desk, sans office chair, think again. According to Time, standing to do computer work "puts greater strain on the circulatory system and on the legs and feet."
- To mitigate back pain or other body aches, try adding a heating pad or massage cushion to your chair. Personally, I recommend the two-speed heated shiatsu massage cushion from Wagan Tech.
- Every 20 or 30 minutes, take a break from sitting — stretch, walk around or do some light exercise, like yoga.
Want an Office Chair That Improves Posture? Try a Kneeling Chair
You’ve heard of a standing desk, but how about a kneeling chair? Sure, the idea may sound funny at first, but we can’t recommend this type of stool enough. In particular, the Boss Office WorkPro Posture-Perfect Chair stands out from the competition thanks to its adjustability and comfortable, padded cushions.
What’s the benefit of a kneeling desk chair? Well, the primary pro is that this kind of setup improves your posture tenfold. Its design discourages hunching your shoulders and, much like an exercise ball, demands upright posture. Although kneeling may take some getting used to, it’s worth the learning curve for that back pain relief.
A Great Ergonomic Chair That Doesn’t Sink (or Stink)
Back in college, you may have found yourself pranking your pals by fiddling with the levers on an office chair in the library. The best part? Watching your buddy’s chair sink all the way to the floor. Sure, a sinking chair makes for a good laugh, but it’s not something you want to deal with during the work day, which is where the Office Star Products Manager’s Chair comes in.
This chair’s breathable mesh backing is both soft and supportive, meaning you can work a whole day without feeling bent out of shape. As far as that sinking problem goes, this Office Star Products chair is all about customizing your seating experience. From seat height and tilt to arm and back height, there’s a way to change up every setting — and keep those settings locked firmly in place while you work.
You Won’t Break the Bank Thanks to This Ergonomic Office Chair With the Best Overall Value
It goes without saying that there are a lot of office chairs on the market, and many of them can run you a couple hundred dollars. While some may find pricier chairs worth the investment, others can’t afford to break the bank, especially not during the pandemic. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t sacrifice ergonomics for a great value, the Hbada Swivel Chair is a must-have item.
This adjustable, mid-back swivel chair features an ergonomic backrest that’s designed to fit the natural curve of your lower back, thus relieving any discomfort. If you’re building that ad hoc pandemic office, this chair is also built for saving space: The arms flip up, meaning you can stow the chair under your desk (or kitchen table) with ease. Another thing we love? The sleek, modern design.
Ease Back Pain With This High-Back Lumbar Support Office Chair
Need a place to rest your weary head during the work week? Well, the costway High-Back Ergonomic Swivel Chair with Lumbar Support and Headrest has you covered. Not only is this ergonomic mesh office chair designed to fit your body, but the massage lumbar support goes the extra mile in relieving back pain.
With an adjustable seat and a five-wheel base, this smooth roller is also perfect for folks who like to move from room to room (or makeshift office to makeshift office) throughout the day. The chair’s headrest — its crowning jewel, one might say — can be rotated 45 degrees and adjusted in height as well. Pair that customizability with the chair’s built-in rocking mechanism, and you and your aches and pains are in for a treat(ment).
Into Gaming? Try This Ergonomic Multi-Use Office Chair
Yes, we agree, the picture here is incredibly dramatic. Or, you know, potentially designed by the folks behind those vaguely dystopian 5 Gum commercials. But if you’re a serious gamer — or you want to reap the benefits of a chair designed for folks to sit in for hours on end — trying the Respawn Racing-Style Gaming Chair is a great bet.
This reclining, ergonomic leather chair comes complete with a footrest and something touted as 4D adjustability, which is a fancy way of saying you can find your optimal seating position by playing with the extensive chair height and tilt tension options. This chair also provides some top-notch swivel action, and all that padding, on both the armrests and the body of the chair, is incredibly comfortable. All of this to say, it’s the perfect "player two" for a long day at the office or a long day playing Fortnite.
How to Use an Exercise Ball to Improve Your Posture and Ease Back Pain
Last but not least, we have the exercise ball-style chair. This kind of fun and funky seating isn’t just for employees of quirky tech companies and start-ups; it’s a bonafide, proven game-changer. Instead of just grabbing any old exercise ball, we recommend one with a few extra bells and whistles, like the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair.
This model comes with a little chair-like frame, meaning you can use the ball as is or opt for some wheels and a backrest. Those extra features are great for taking a break, but you’ll also want to take advantage of the way sitting on an exercise ball can help you engage your core to promote proper alignment (yay, posture!) and relieve back pain and soreness.
The folks at Gaiam also claim that the "micro-movements" associated with maintaining your balance on a ball chair help you engage your mind and body in a new way, leading to increased productivity and focus. It’s hard to fact-check such a claim, but if connecting with your body through yoga appeals to you, this more thoughtful, active approach to sitting might help you reap similar benefits.