In my many years of working behind a desk, I’ve tried a lot of different office equipment, and being 5’1″-ish means I have special requirements for making my workstation more comfortable.
I used to skimp on office equipment because it can be expensive, but I realized that I was paying for it in other ways and have experienced pain and discomfort related to repetitive stress. I decided investing in quality equipment is worth the cost, so I spared no expense trying different things to make my desk more comfortable and relieve wrist pain, back discomfort, and sciatica. A full list of my preferred ergonomic equipment is here, but I wanted to draw special attention to what I needed at my desk to accommodate my height.
Of course, good equipment is no replacement for frequent breaks, using a standing desk, and regular exercise, but I always make sure my equipment is working for me, not against me. Here are all the must-haves if you’re on the shorter side of the height spectrum.
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I’ve tried so many different footrests for my desk: extra pillows, foam cushions, cardboard boxes, plastic footrests, step stools. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. This Humanscale Footrest is the best footrest by far. It’s comfortable, easy to adjust the height, and looks good.
It’s designed to rock and tilt, which is supposed to encourage movement to help with your circulation. The other benefit of the moving platform is that you’re not forced to keep your feet and legs in one position.
Initially, I used the footrest with the platform flipped over to the plain side because I assumed the grips would be uncomfortable in socks. That side ended up being too slippery, so I flipped it over to the proper side and found that the grips are actually great, even without shoes. Win.
Bonus: No assembly needed! I removed the base from the box, set it to the desired height and tightened the hand screws, then set the platform on top. Done.
One thing to consider is the legs of your chair and how close you want to sit to the footrest. The bar across the front of the footrest prevents your chair from rolling under the platform; this way, you can always use the rocking feature of the footrest. But my chair has less space between them, so I can’t get as close to the footrest as I’d like. Even though it’s not a perfect fit with my chair, it’s still the best footrest I’ve ever had.
This WALI monitor mount keeps my monitor and laptop at the appropriate height. I’ve found that having my monitor at the correct height eliminated the neck pain I used to have every night.
This mount is mostly metal (not plastic), so it seems like it will last a long time. It holds my laptop and a 27″ monitor side by side, but the monitor and laptop holder are right up against each other, so I wouldn’t use this with anything bigger than a 27″ monitor.
You can easily adjust both the monitor and laptop to the appropriate height for your eye level. It also has cable management to keep your desk tidy too.
Bonus: The cable management also features a clever storage solution for the hex keys needed to reposition the mounts, so you can make adjustments quickly and easily, without having to worry about finding the keys.
I’ve been working from home full time since 2018, and my home office has evolved from propping up a monitor on cardboard boxes to a tidy workspace that would make Marie Kondo proud. If you’re interested in even more great office equipment, check out 9 Essentials For a Great Work-From-Home Day.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, going to the doctor should always be the first step. If applicable, you can also inform your employer of your pain, and you may be able to get an ergonomic evaluation. I was fortunate to have an evaluation at a previous employer, and the ergonomic consultant resolved my chronic neck pain overnight! It was amazing. He also gave me plenty of tips that I’ve continued to follow long after I left that employer.
Here’s to a more comfortable work day!