Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
Office work may not be very physically demanding, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take comfort and ergonomics into consideration. An aching back from a hard chair, or RSI (repetitive strain injury), can have lasting damage on your body, and splinter your focus while you work.
We’ve found 10 accessories that can help you avoid these common problems, whether you’re constantly looking down to check your phone, or feel wrist pain after full day of typing. Making little adjustments can have a larger impact than you might realize.
1. Knodel Desk Pad
If you’re going to spend all day typing, you should rest your arms and wrists on something more comfortable than wood or hard plastic. Knodel’s desk pad is made out of polyurethane and leather, which is soft to the touch, and easy to clean. The pad is 31.5 x 15.7 inches, so it’ll fit comfortably on most desks, and comes in six colors, which will add vibrancy to your work environment.
2. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
One of the most chronic problems that office workers suffer from is RSI (repetitive strain injury), which occurs when muscles are strained from overuse or misuse. Typing can cause RSI in fingers and wrists because many keyboards are compact, and require you to type with your wrists angled upward. Your fingers don’t get a lot of room to move, and you have to lift each finger the same distance to hit each key.
According to England’s NHS (National Health Service), one way to help prevent computer-related RSI is to use is to use an ergonomic keyboard, and we like Microsoft’s Sculpt. It has a large, padded wrist rest, with a tilted “split” design, so your fingers are spread further apart, and tilted at a more natural angle. The keyboard’s shape was also designed to make keys easier to hit without having to lift your fingers very much. These minor differences add up, so if you’re starting to feel hand strain during or after work, you should look into this solution.
3. Microsoft Ergonomic Mouse
Microsoft’s Ergonomic Mouse is a complement to its keyboard, and aims to solve similar issues. The mouse is shaped so your whole hand can fit on top of it instead of hovering over the buttons. It has a gentle curve that makes it easy to hold, and a thumb rest on the left side.
Two programmable buttons above the thumb rest can be assigned to common actions (think going back and forward between webpages), to reduce the amount of times you have to raise your index and pointer finger. If there’s one downside to this mouse, it’s that you do have to physically plug it into your computer via USB, but that’s a small price to pay for its added comfort.
4. Anker Wireless Charger
The average person picks up their phone 58 times per day, which not only wastes time, but can also strain your wrist and neck as you lift the phone up, and look down. Anker’s Wireless Charger Stand fixes that by tilting your phone upward at a comfortable angle, so you can simply glance up to check a message or start a video call.
Ergonomics aside, this wireless charger can also refill your phone’s battery at up to 10W, which is the maximum wireless charging speed for iPhones and most Android phones. To get that maximum charging speed, you’ll need to plug it into a quick charging power adapter.
5. AMERIERGO Monitor Stand Riser
Many computer monitors aren’t height-adjustable, which means you’re probably tilting your neck or slouching all day to do your work. This can put a lot of additional strain on your head, which one physical therapist writing for the MAYO Clinic says can impact everything from your breathing to your mood. One of her recommendations is to use a monitor stand to elevate it to a more comfortable height.
AMERIERGO’s riser lifts your monitor’s height by 16.5 inches, so you can look at it straight-on without adjusting your posture. It also has two shelves, which you can use to store smaller tech accessories so they don’t clutter up your desk. There’s even a phone holder, so you can tilt it up toward you, or grab it more easily.
6. BERLMAN Ergonomic High Back Mesh Office Chair
As someone who worked in an uncomfortable chair for far too long, I can speak to the importance of having a comfortable place to sit. I’m a fan of high-back chairs because they cradle your entire back, and BERLMAN’s is a very good option. Its frame is curved to encourage lumbar support, and there’s a headrest to help keep your neck straight.
The seat and arms can be raised and lowered independently, so you can find the sweet spot for your desk and monitor, and adjust its tension control to limit how far back you can tilt. If you have control over the chair you work in, I recommend that you strongly consider making this upgrade.
7. CumulusPRO Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat
Several studies cited by the MAYO Clinic have linked sitting at a desk all day with causing everything from higher blood pressure to obesity, which is why many people have started using standing desks. But standing all day can fatigue your feet and knees, even on carpeting (I speak from experience), so you’ll want a thick, padded mat.
This one from CumulusPRO is 0.8 inches thick, which the company says is significantly thicker than most other standing mats. It’s made out of a single piece of non-toxic polyurethane with curved edges, so you don’t have to step up onto it. Using a standing desk is a great way to help avoid some of the issues outlined by the MAYO Clinic, but this mat will make it much more comfortable.
8. Gamma Ray Blue Light Blocking Glasses
The science isn’t totally out, but many institutions, including Harvard’s Medical School have linked the “blue light” emitted by computer, phone, and TV screens with worse sleep and eye fatigue. Blue light sets off a trigger in our brain that it’s time to stay alert, which is fine when it’s coming from the sun, but less-so when it’s coming from our screens.
Gamma Ray’s Blue Light Blocking Glasses are tinted amber, which reduces the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. Everything will have a slightly rosier tint, so this is not an accessory for photo or video editors whose work requires 100% color accuracy, but most people won’t really notice. I’ve worn blue light reduction glasses before, and while they’re not a foolproof cure all to the effects of looking at a screen, they reduced the eye strain I felt at the end of a work day dramatically.
9. Sony WH1000XM3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Earbuds are an incredible convenience, but if you’re optimizing your workspace for comfort, you’ll want a good pair of over-ear headphones. My go-to pair for the past two years have been Sony’s WH1000XM3. The headphones have a generous layer of padding around the ear cups and top band, which makes them easy to wear for extended periods of time, and haven’t made my ears sweaty.
Comfort aside, the headphones sound very good. There’s a level of depth and clarity in my music that’s rarely there in a pair of Bluetooth, noise-cancelling headphones. Subtle sounds don’t get lost in the mix, and the headphones have never suffered from distortion at high volumes. As a bonus, the WH1000XM3 are considered amongst the best noise-cancelling headphones available.
They’ve completely muted my New York City subway commute, and even blocked the jet engine sounds of a large, internationally bound plane. If you’re craving comfort while you listen to music all day, and don’t want to get distracted by a noisy office environment, these headphones get my highest recommendation.
10. Gaiam Balance Disc Wobble Cushion
Sitting with bad posture can have a serious impact on your health, but it’s easy to stop focusing on it when you get deep into your work. Enter Gaiam’s Balance Disc.
The air-filled, circular cushion sits on your chair and slightly throws off your balance. This sounds like a bad thing, but it means you have to actively focus on sitting up straight because you’ll instantly feel when you’re tilting left and right. This device was designed to help you work your core while you’re sitting down, and to help relieve stress by giving you a little game to play while you’re working.
One important note: You do have to fully inflate this cushion the first time you use it, which means you’ll need an air pump, too. Want something just for comfort and posture without the ab workout? Try this $30 ergonomic seat cushion, which has a 4.5-star rating from more than 15,000 reviews.