10 Products To Make Your Computer Setup More Ergonomic

Investing money into an ergonomic workspace can really pay off.

Many products tout their "ergonomic design" in their advertisements, but very few of us actually know what that means or why it is important. 

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is defined as the science of fitting a workplace to a person's needs to maximize productivity and minimize discomfort. Products and workspaces are often designed with ergonomics in mind but what is "ergonomic" is often very personal.

What feels comfortable to one person is very different from what feels comfortable to another person, since humans come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, even though the areas we work in are intended to be ergonomic for all, it is in our best interests to customize them to our personal comfort for the best workflow. 

Why do I need an ergonomic computer setup?

Most of us spend hours a day in front of a computer. Whether it be for work or pleasure, a lot of our time is spent sitting at a desk not giving much thought to the stress this might cause our bodies. According to University Health Services at the University of Michigan, poor computer ergonomics can lead to cumulative trauma disorders or repetitive strain injuries that can persist throughout our entire lives. 

These types of injuries aren't uncommon. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive strain injuries (or RSIs) affect about 1.8 million workers each year. Data collected by the UK's Trades Union Congress shows that one in 50 workers reports symptoms of RSIs and that for some workers, especially computer users, the instance is as high as one in four. 

Computer Ergonomics Checklist

Computer ergonomics recommendations
Image Source: macrovector on freepik

OSHA's checklist for proper computer and workstation ergonomics includes: 

  • Head and neck are upright and in line with the torso
  • The torso is vertical or, preferably, slightly reclined
  • Back is fully supported by chair lumbar support
  • Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms are in line with the torso
  • Wrists and hands are straight 
  • Feet are fully on the ground or supported by a footrest

Products to Improve Computer Ergonomics

If you've realized your computer setup needs improvement, here are some products that will improve your working comfort and decrease your risk of injury from repetitive strain: 

1. Computer Chair

Ergonomic chair budget recommendation
via Amazon

One of the best things you can invest in to improve your workspace ergonomics is a good chair. The best chair will have built-in lumbar support, be able to recline and be fully adjustable in height and seat depth. Most of all, the chair should feel comfortable for your size. Some of the best ergonomic chairs can be upwards of $1000, so my budget pick is this Hercke Office Chair. Though it lacks adjustable seat depth, it has a lot of the features one needs in a comfortable chair at a fraction of the price. 

2. Lumbar Support

Lumbar support for computer ergonomics
via Amazon

If you can't afford to invest in a new computer chair, one of the next best things you can do is make sure your lumbar spine is supported. This will help improve your posture by encouraging a slightly reclined posture. This Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Support Pillow is one of the top-rated products of its kind on Amazon, with 4.5 stars on average out of 16,000+ reviews. 

3. Foot Rest

Foot rest for computer ergonomics
via Amazon

If you sit slightly reclined or you're just on the shorter side, you'll need a footrest to keep your feet supported. This ErgoFoam footrest is actually adjustable, so you can make it fit your needs even if you're very short like I am. It is made out of comfortable yet supportive foam and comes with a lifetime warranty too. 

4. Monitor Arm

Monitor arm for computer ergonomics
via Amazon

Monitor arms not only allow you to clear up space on your desk, but they also can allow you to adjust the height and tilt of your monitor so that it is easy to see while you keep correct posture. There are many monitor arms on the market including ones for dual monitor setups, but a basic one that should work for most workspaces is this VIVO brand arm.

5. Ergonomic Mouse

Ergonomic mice, vertical mouse
via Amazon

Ergonomic mice come in all shapes and sizes, and obviously, the most ergonomic mouse for you is the one that feels most comfortable to you. For a lot of people, the neutral "handshake" position of a vertical mouse like this Logitech MX is most comfortable. 

6. Laptop Stand

Improve laptop ergonomics
via Amazon

Laptops are not known for being very ergonomic, since their design is compact and built for portability. However, if you only have access to a laptop, you can improve your ergonomics by purchasing a laptop stand like this aluminum stand from Soundance. Raising the laptop off the desk will allow you to view the screen without hunching over, reducing the chance of shoulder and back pain. You'll also want to use a wireless keyboard and mouse or trackpad if you plan to use a laptop for an extended period of time. 

7. Ergonomic Keyboard

Ergonomic keyboard recommendations
via Amazon

As with mice, the most ergonomic keyboard for you is the one that feels most comfortable. That being said, many people find split keyboards like the Microsoft Sculpt to be comfortable as they allow for more natural and relaxed hand placement. 

8. Wrist Rest

Ergonomic wrist rest
via Amazon

A lot of ergonomic keyboards come with built-in wrist rests, but if you don't want to buy an entirely new keyboard, you can buy just the wrist rest. These keyboard wrist pads, like the Belkin WaveRest, are designed to support your wrists so they more easily stay in a straight position while you type, reducing the chance for wrist strain and injury. 

9. Document Holder

Computer workstation ergonomics products
via Amazon

If your job requires you to reference books or printouts frequently, a document holder can help you reduce strain on your neck and eyes by holding the printed material in line with your monitor. Document holders come in many sizes and hold varying weights, but this Vu Ryte document holder is adjustable in height and angle with a 175-page capacity. 

10. Blue Light Filter Glasses

Computer ergonomics products
via Amazon

Though research into the subject is still inconclusive and experts have conflicting opinions, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the idea that blue light filtering lenses can reduce eye strain. I know I personally find them helpful, as do many of my peers who are also in the habit of long computer sessions. Since they're relatively inexpensive (you can get 3 pairs for less than $17), it is worth a try to see if they help you, too. 

Even with the most ergonomic setup in the world, it is still very important to take breaks from working. Every 20 minutes give your eyes a rest and look at something other than a screen, and every 30 to 60 minutes, take a short break from your work entirely. While you're taking a break, try some desk stretches or quick de-stressing activities to help you feel less fatigued and less likely to burn out. 

Stevie is a writer who perpetually has a coffee in her hand and a cat on her lap. Her other hobbies include reading and playing video games.

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