Lately I’ve really gotten into ergonomics. Since the pandemic — and after a spate of injuries from poor posture, bad habits and a general lack of body awareness — the importance of a comfortable workspace has become apparent. So sometimes painful.
In addition to the ergonomics of an office setup, some desk accessories can also make life easier and more organized. So, with gift season just around the corner, Ars has put together a few tried-and-true office accessories that can make everyday work more comfortable and less daunting.
If you are just creating your own home office for the first time or are looking for great replacements/upgrades, be sure to check out our Ultimate Home Office Setup Guide.
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For your hands and wrists
Gimar’s Wrist Rest ($16)
Wrist rests are so common in home offices that they are often integrated into the design of a keyboard tray. If you’re working on a setup that doesn’t already have such features, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic improvements of a wrist rest.
A good wrist rest provides cushioned support to reduce the awkward and often uneven hand position of typing and mouse. The materials on the Gimars wrist rests make them stand out. The combination of memory foam and gel gives your wrists a “floating in the air” feeling and the Lycra fabric covering is soft and breathable. Gimars has managed to integrate both memory foam and gel to great effect, seemingly in the perfect proportions to be soft and supportive at the same time.
The combination of flexibility, support and sweat wicking is what makes the Gimars wrist rest a winner. Other rests may be too soft, too hard, or oddly shaped. Some even have strange chemical smells. This one falls perfectly in the Goldilocks zone: the perfect size, without weird smells. In addition, Gimars offers wrist rests in different colors to match your style.
A giant mouse pad: Razer Gigantus V2 ($30)
A certain sense of freedom comes with owning a giant mouse pad like the Razer Gigantus V2. No more worrying about your mouse sliding off the designated area; instead, most of your desk is going to be the mouse pad itself, so you can swipe and swipe freely. The Gigantus V2 also has the advantage of keeping your mouse and keyboard at the same wrist height.
Besides the Gigantus there are many more mammoth mouse pads. But we like Razer’s because it offers a smooth and just firm enough surface that comes in a variety of sizes, and it has held up well for months. You want to clean it every now and then, but the Gigantus is not too sensitive to crumbs and dust as standard. And if you plan on using it for gaming, the surface allows several mice to move quickly and precisely without getting in the way.
—Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Editor
Footrests for movement or comfort
“Where do I put my feet?” It’s a question I struggle with all day long. The problem is not so much my feet, but my legs. They are restless; they cramp; they are not meant to last that long. Aside from frequent breaks, there are countless solutions to this problem, from bike desks to standing desks, exercise boards, and more. They’re all great options for incorporating much-needed exercise.
But what about improving seating comfort? That’s where a good footrest comes in.
Our three choices provide comfort in different ways. Two of our recommendations are traditional floor footrests and the third is a foot hammock. You might find all three useful additions to your setup, but I personally chose to use one of each type: one for the ground and one for the air. When combined, they give me the recliner-like flexibility to sit back and stretch out or sit up comfortably.
Uplift Desk Foot Hammock ($34)
Yes, the name makes it sound crazy, but the idea for Uplift Desk’s Foot Hammock is clever. Instead of having to find a chest, stool, or other chair to kick your feet up, you can simply attach it to the underside of almost any wooden desk. The hammock comes with eye plates for mounting and requires some drilling, but if you have an Uplift V2 standing desk then you already have anchor plates built in. Hang up the hammock and voila! Now you can put your feet up like a big bulkhead while you work.
ErgoFoam Adjustable Footrest ($36)
ErgoFoam’s under-desk footrest is the floor-based option I keep coming back to. The reasons are simple: it’s soft, it’s easy to move with my feet and the shape feels good under my arches. It’s just a cozy place to put your feet. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that, among other tips for avoiding back pain, your knees should be level or slightly higher than your hips when sitting. The footrest is available in two fixed heights, regular and high, but there is also an adjustable option, which I recommend. Each of the three should be able to prop up your legs at the recommended height. Opting for the adjustable version is essentially buying both, as it’s just the regular height footpeg with a removable Velcro platform that raises it to the “high” height.
You can choose from velvet or mesh coverings. Both can be zipped off and machine washed, but luckily I can easily brush any dirt or pet hair off the velvet cover.
Humanscale FM300 Foot Rocker ($79)
Our second-floor option is the motion-capable Humanscale FM300 Foot Rocker. It is very suitable for the home office or officeoffice, and you don’t have to worry about the wooden platform getting stained or needing a wash. I also like the moving component of the platform. The whole structure is sturdy and the wooden platform rolls on a set of four wheels placed on a track. The course of the course is triangular, allowing you to push the board towards or away from you. That movement is the same as pressing a foot pedal, except this structure moves with you, either pointing your toes down or up in final position. It stays put at just about every point in between – there are no notches to hold it in place – because the friction is enough to support it. You can also adjust the height of the footrest by about 2.5 cm.
The FM300 is not the coziest option. But if you prefer something sturdy under your feet that also adds a measure of movement, then it’s a quality choice.