My Long, Unending Journey to Find Perfect Office Equipment - The New York Times

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Ergonomics is important, but remember that there is no one solution for everyone.

In 2012, I started working from home full-time. In just a few months, I gave up the job of sitting in the home office all day, and these offices are what I have on hand. That activity started the task of finding office equipment, which would be easier for my spine. I hope this trip includes a trip to the store. Instead, learning what good posture really means has been years.

Before finding a new job that allows me to work from home, I

. This new work has been enhanced, but in the first few months, I worked on a cheap metal desk at Wal-Mart with a metal folding chair. There is a fragile keyboard tray on the desk, but no mouse space. So my mouse and keyboard are at different heights. My monitor sits on a sturdy, non-adjustable shelf on the table. This is an objectively bad setting. Except for the metal folding chair, this is a very ordinary chair.

Therefore, in the years when I can afford every new upgrade, I have been looking for the best and most ergonomic options. In some cases, I find that buying new hardware can have a significant impact on my posture. But I also found that there is no "perfect" device that can solve bad habits.

The first thing to do is the metal folding chair. A good office chair can be expensive, but it's like buying a mattress. If you want to spend a third of your time in it, it should be comfortable.

, The New York Times company that reviews the product recommends that some key criteria should be considered when choosing an office chair, including:

Everyone's body is different, so finding a comfortable chair is usually a matter of personal preference. If possible, it is important to sit in a chair before buying to ensure comfort.

Cheap office chairs may rarely provide lumbar support (and my terrible folding chair does not), but a good chair should be adjustable enough to support the spine in various sitting positions.

Not only is your body different from other people's bodies, but you can't sit in the same position all day. Or at least it shouldn't. No matter what kind of chair you buy, the seat height, armrest height, inclination and seat depth should be adjustable. Some cheaper chairs may have some adjustments, but the more chairs you can customize, the better.

You can read more about what to look for in a quality office chair (and get some specific suggestions) at

. According to Leon Straker, a professor at Curtin University's School of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science, when choosing a chair, you should consider more than a sitting position.

He said: "There are three'good' sitting positions." The first, something he calls "upright", "usually shown in posters with good posture", requires keeping the torso vertical and relaxing the elbows. It is best to work on a computer.

The second is the "forward" posture, which involves sitting in the front of a chair, with the forearms resting on the table and leaning forward. Dr. Straker said: "This is very useful for writing."

In the third "backward" position, the body leans and receives support from the back of the chair. "This is useful for talking on the phone," Dr. Steck said. "High-quality desk and chair equipment allows you to choose between at least two of them, preferably three."

Once I found a suitable office chair, I was immediately relieved. My legs, shoulders, and especially the lower back feel better. It's hard to overestimate the importance of a good chair, no matter if your settings are correct. However, even though this is an improvement, I still find that I have back pain, sore knees, and sometimes tight wrists. It turns out that buying a new chair will not solve all problems.

In recent years, there has been a lot of controversy about standing desks. For some,

. For others,

. In my case, I just don’t want

. My old metal desk doesn't work very well, but the idea of ​​standing for eight hours (or more) a day is too much to complete in one go.

Therefore, I started with a better desk, which has a wide top and a keyboard tray that can accommodate a mouse. I thought it would improve, but it turned out to be a mistake. As Dr. Straker explained: "A small tray for a keyboard or mouse is not as good as a single solid surface with enough space."

After chronic wrist pain started, I chose to upgrade again. This time, I found a table with a large black top. More importantly, this machine has a motor on its legs to adjust its height. The button on the side allows it to automatically switch between multiple preset heights (for example, between standing or sitting), and all heights in between can be manually adjusted. (


For ordinary people, this may be too big, but for me, it is perfect. I am a irritable person by nature. No matter how supported the chair is, sitting in a position for too long is not good for the spine. As Dr. Straker explained, being able to sit and stand on a desk that is "large enough" allows you to change your posture throughout the day.

For the longest time, I used two small monitors placed on smaller shelves, which made the monitor's sight level too low to be comfortable. This may cause you to bend over and lean forward to see the text on the screen at an appropriate eye level. To alleviate this problem, I upgraded my workstation to

. Putting my monitor on these arms, I can move them to the same height as the eyes, rotate them to any angle, or even rotate them. I immediately noticed that I was sitting upright. I am not distorting the monitor to the monitor, but adjusting the monitor to fit my body. It seems to be a big upgrade.

The only problem is that I can do the same thing with a small box.

Place a small box or a few books under the monitor stand, you can raise the monitor enough for direct viewing purposes without bending over. Many computer monitors are even equipped with adjustable stands to increase their height. Dr. Straker said that even then there is no need. "The screens nowadays are usually very large. Few people need a piece to lift the screen, so the top of the screen is at their sight height."

If you still have a small monitor, you may need to adjust its height, but otherwise, just using a separate monitor (rather than working on a laptop) should be sufficient. Dr. Straker said: "Having a computer screen separate from the computer keyboard keeps your screen in the proper position of your head and eyes, while the keyboard is in the proper position of your hands and arms."

I might like the adjustable monitor arms, but as I learned later, they are not miraculous upgrades. They are just happy.

Sometimes, I find that upgrading office equipment has brought huge benefits to my posture. Similarly, some upgrades are completely useless, or at least upgrades can be completed at a lower cost. But more importantly, I learned that there is no perfect posture or set of equipment that can magically make back pain or long-term health problems disappear.

No matter where you sit, staying in it for too long can cause problems. "Diversity is the key," Dr. Straker explained. "The goal is "Goldilocks Day-during this period, you will bear enough physical stress to encourage the body to maintain or strengthen muscle and bone strength and the health of the heart and lungs-while allowing enough time for recovery. "

Although you may see the opposite chart, there is not a "correct" posture. There are many, so it is important to change them frequently. Dr. Straker said: "The most common misconception I see is that people think a good posture-if they sit like this, it would be good."

He said: “In fact, sitting in any posture for long periods of time can endanger people’s health.” “The secret to reducing the health risks associated with desk-based tasks is to design your day so that when performing fruitful tasks , You can have a variety of postures and movements."

In my case, a convertible standing desk can help me switch between standing and sitting-I may have to change postures twelve times a day-and my office chair helps ensure that I stay in shape while sitting. A good posture may look different from yours, and requires some deliberation to create the correct system required.

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