What Are Ergonomic Devices?
Ergonomic devices, at least when talking about a home office has broadened over the years. However, you can generally assume that when talking about ergonomics with equipment it is equipment designed, or intended, to lessen problems arising from Musculoskeletal disorders.
But what does that even mean?
Basically, using equipment (yes, even chairs and desks) can cause problems with muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and more. You’ve probably heard about problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.
OSHA has a rundown on the full definition here and we’re not going to put you to sleep by quoting the dictionary for a definition.
Ergonomic devices work to keep you healthy by adjusting posture, helping to prevent or avoid poor posture, helping how your use or handle the devices.
And by helping you remain healthy when engaged in activities that humans generally weren’t developed for doing for long periods at a time like sitting at a computer.
List Of Ergonomic Devices
This list is constantly growing, but the major office product areas are covered here. Click through on each one to find out more about the devices available for each.
- Standing Desks
- Laptop Holders
- Standing Mats
- Keyboards & Computer Mice
- Lamps & Lighting
- Mounts & Attachments
Good news for those of us that work at desks. You now have a lot of options when it comes to the desk that you’re going to spend a lot of time at. You need to be productive and stay healthy. A desk is the cornerstone piece of office equipment for many people.
The two main distinctions to make when looking to improve the ergonomics of your home office is to decide what type of desk you want. The first big division is between:
- Adjustable or Standing Desks & Ergonomic Workstations
- Sitting Desks
The obvious upside to height adjustable desks is the ability to sit down or stand up at any given time with the use of the adjustable legs. Some are powered via controls and motors while others have a wheel or hand crank.
You can also find standing only desks which can be a good alternative to adjustable desks.
Some people like to use these as a second workspace so that they remember to get up and move around. They can also stand while taking their laptop or other tools with them.
And last but not least, we have the usual sitting desk. Not to be overlooked, there are many options to using a sitting desk in a more ergonomic manner. You can add several attachments and options to make this a viable alternative to an adjustable desk.
When looking at ergonomic office chairs you have a wide selection. This is probably going to be a piece of office equipment that you match with your desk. So you should start with the desk and then choose your chair.
For standing desks, you can either use a height adjustable chair, or use the regular “low” office chair when sitting and just stand…when standing. Pretty simple.
For all other desks, you will likely be choosing the traditional “low” office chair. Below are several styles that can be used with both styles of desks.
- Traditional Office Chairs
- Kneeling Ergonomic Chair
- Exercise Ball Ergonomic Chair
- Reclining Chair
- Lumbar Supports
Ergonomic Devices For Your Computer
We’re going to assume that if you’re setting up a home office with an ergonomic desk and gear, that you’re likely going to be spending quite a bit of time at your computer.
The good news is that there are many additional ways that you can enhance the use of your computer and surrounding area with this additional gear.
The tried and true keyboard may work best for you, but know there are many variations out there that can help you not only type faster. These keyboards can help you position your hands, arm, and the rest of your body so that hours of use day to day don’t cause you problems.
Many of the keyboards offer a change from the traditional “flat rectangular” layout that may take some getting used to, but the upside is that your arms, wrists, and hands are no longer positioned in such a non-ergonomic manner.
Along with the computer keyboard, the mouse that you use can have ergonomic benefits as well. This can take the form of a more natural shape that conforms to your hand instead of your hand conforming to the mouse, or changing the shape and structure all together and using something like a trackpad.
Wrist pads are used to help support your wrist when typing at a computer keyboard, but what does this do for you?
Having the support at your wrist, or palm of the hand, can help reduce the tension in other parts of your body. However you do not want to have continued heavy strain on the wrist pad. If this is the case, you should look at adjusting your seating, keyboard, and posture.
Laptop stands are not only an easy and usually less costly alternative to a full blown standing desk, but they can also be used in conjunction with a standing desk.
If you have both a desktop computer and a laptop, you can certainly use a stand on your desk, or locate it elsewhere as needed. This might be on a kitchen counter, another desk, or wherever you feel like working and want to have the elevated laptop.
There’s many styles to choose from, some are very minimal while others are more like a full on desk on their own.
Monitor Positioning and Mounting
Ensuring that your monitor is at the right location is another key to having the best ergonomic home office setup. Most monitors come with some adjustments like height, angle, and occasionally rotation.
However, if you want to mount the monitor to a wall or stand, or give it additional range of motion, you’ll need to get a mount of some sort to give you the best viewing angle and range.
Footrests can be a great additional to your office, but are frequently overlooked as tend to focus on the desk and chair.
Computer footrests are another good way to encourage good posture and help you use equipment that might otherwise not work (We know a few people that don’t touch the floor in their office chair).
There are many types and varieties with foot rests, so be sure to check out which one would go best with your home office setup.
A standing mat for your computer and desk setup can help you be more comfortable for longer periods of time.
When using a standing desk, many people benefit from having a more specialized surface under their feet instead of concrete, hardwood, or carpeting. Using a standing mat made for this purpose is a great way to extend the period of time you are able to stand while protecting your joints.
Standing mats are also know as anti-fatigue mats and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Not to be forgotten, if you spend any time on the phone or video calls, you know how tiring it can be to hold up your phone while typing or trying to scribble notes.
It’s not only tiring and awkward, but it does not promote good posture and slows you down. The best way around this is a quality headset that you can use for both phone and video calls.
The main question to ask yourself with a headset is if you want to have a wireless (bluetooth) or wired headset. Both have great options and there are many excellent choices for both.
If you find yourself walking or pacing during calls, you should definitely consider a wireless headset.
Ergonomic Office Essentials
While you can pick and choose from the equipment that has been listed so far, there’s a real “core” that you should use to get the most benefit for your home office setup.
This is comprised of the desk, chair, and routine.
That’s right, it’s not all about the equipment! It’s important to also have a routine or method for using your office in the best way for you.
Click here to find out what the recommended core office set up is and how to set up your routine to get the most out of it.
How To Use Ergonomic Equipment In Your Home Office
For many of the pieces of home office equipment that have been mentioned, there are some recommended best ways to use each.
Of course, you should start with the best practices and customize as needed for your own setup and use.