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Recently, I’ve gotten really 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 clear. At times, painfully so.
Beyond the ergonomics of an office setup, some desk accessories can also make life easier and more organized. So, with the gift-giving season just around the corner, Ars has put together a few tested office accessories that can make day-to-day work more comfortable and less anxiety-inducing.
If you’re just creating your own home office for the first time or looking for some great replacements/upgrades, meanwhile, make sure to check out our Ultimate Home Office Setup Guide.
For your hands and wrists
Wrist rests are so common in home offices that they’re often integrated into a keyboard tray’s design. If you’re working on a setup that doesn’t already have such accommodations, you’ll be delighted with the ergonomic improvements of a wrist rest.
A good wrist rest provides cushioned support to help mitigate the awkward and often uneven hand position of typing and mousing. The materials on Gimars’ wrist rests are what make them stand out. The memory foam and gel combination gives your wrists a “floating on 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 at once soft and supportive.
The combination of suppleness, support, and sweat-wicking is what makes the Gimars wrist rest a winner. Other rests can be too soft, too hard, or weirdly shaped. Some even have strange chemical odors. This one falls perfectly in the Goldilocks zone: the perfect size, with no weird smells. Plus, Gimars offers wrist rests in a variety of colors to match your style.
A certain sense of freedom comes with owning a giant mouse pad like the Razer Gigantus V2. No longer do you have to worry about your mouse slipping off of its designated area; instead, most of your desk becomes the mouse pad itself, allowing you to flick and swipe freely. The Gigantus V2 also has the benefit of keeping your mouse and keyboard at an even wrist level.
Plenty of other mammoth mouse pads are out there besides the Gigantus. But we like Razer’s for offering a smooth and just-firm-enough surface that comes in a variety of sizes, and it has held up well over months of use. You’ll want to clean it every now and then, but by default the Gigantus isn’t overly sensitive to crumbs and dust. And if your plan is to use it for gaming, its surface lets various mice 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 workday long. The problem isn’t so much my feet as it is my legs. They’re restless; they’re cramping; they’re not meant to be sitting for so long. Aside from taking frequent breaks, there are myriad solutions for this issue, from bike desks to standing desks, movement boards, and more. They’re all great options for incorporating some much-needed movement.
But what about improving comfort as you sit? That’s where a good footrest comes in.
Our three picks achieve comfort in different ways. Two of our recommendations are traditional on-the-ground footrests, and the third is a foot hammock. You may find all three to be helpful additions to your setup, but I’ve personally settled on using one of each type—one for the ground and one for the air. When combined, they give me the recliner-like flexibility to kick back and stretch out or sit upright comfortably.
Yes, the name does make it sound silly, but the idea for Uplift Desk’s Foot Hammock is smart. Instead of having to find a box, stool, or another chair to kick your feet up, you can simply attach this to the bottom of almost any wooden desk. The hammock comes with eye plates for mounting and will require some drilling, but if you have an Uplift V2 standing desk, then you already have anchor plates built in. Hook the hammock up, and voila! Now you can put your feet up like a big shot while you’re working.
ErgoFoam’s under-desk footrest is the floor-based option I find myself coming back to again and again. 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 spot to place your feet. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that, among other tips to prevent back pain, your knees be at an equal or slightly taller height than your hips while sitting. The footrest comes in two set heights, regular and tall, but there’s also an adjustable option, which I recommend. Any of the three should be capable of propping your legs up to the recommended height. Opting for the adjustable version is essentially buying both, as it’s just the regular-height footrest with a detachable Velcro platform that brings it to the “tall” height.
Our second floor-based option is the motion-capable Humanscale FM300 Foot Rocker. It’s well suited for the home office or office-office, and you don’t need to worry about its wooden platform getting stained or requiring a wash. I also like the platform’s moving component. The entire structure is sturdy, and the wooden platform rolls on a set of four wheels placed on a track. The trajectory of the track is triangular, enabling you to press the board toward or away from you. That motion is the same as pressing a foot pedal, except this structure moves with you, either pointing your toes downward or upward in the final position. It stays put at just about every point in between—there are no notches keeping it in place—as the friction is enough to support it. You can also adjust the height of the footrest by about an inch (2.5 cm).
The FM300 is not the coziest option. But if you prefer something solid underneath your feet that also adds a degree of movement, then it’s a quality pick.