Posts in In the Office

Product: BackJoy
Price: $40-$60 depending on the model

I was prowling the aisles and doing some reporting at an ergonomics trade show in Las Vegas when someone leapt out of a booth and handed me an item that looked vaguely like a tractor seat. It was a gift, he assured me, and I should try it.

I put it in my “swag bag” and headed for a lecture by one of ergonomics’ luminaries that was about to start, in the ballroom at Caesar’s Palace. The chairs, lined up in rows, might have been okay for resting between dances at a wedding, but for listening to a lecture, they were incredibly uncomfortable.

I tried my usual remedies—shoving my rolled-up jacket behind me, sitting sideways, and lolling like a teenager in a boring math class. Nothing helped. Then I remembered: I had a BackJoy in my bag. I peeled the plastic wrapping (not unquietly) off and placed it beneath me.

The BackJoy is essentially an orthotic for your butt, making it impossible for your sitting bones to sink into the chair or for your sacrum to sag. I couldn’t believe it: the hellish chair was suddenly perfectly okay. In time, I discovered that a BackJoy could make any chair anywhere—even a bench at a sporting event in the freezing wind—into acceptable seating. I take it with me whenever I know there’s a long sit in my future. Understandably, every single time I go through security, the TSA guy or gal, who must perch for hours on a stool, asks me many detailed questions about it. I have never gotten one of them to stop using their fancy flashlight long enough to try it.

Locus Workstation

Focal Upright Furniture has a great solution to the standing/sitting desk dilemma: the Locus workstation is a desk you can lean at, which “pairs the comforts of sitting with the health benefits of standing.”


Martin Keen, who designs a terrific line of outdoor footwear, saw a need and filled it. That’s using your delightfully bald noggin, Martin.

Watch the WSJ video about Focal Upright Furniture’s seats and how they strive to promote better posture.

Exercise/Balance Balls

Low-tech and inexpensive giant exercise balls, known as physioballs, Swiss balls and posture balls, can play an important part in your rehab – and they’re fun to have around! Working out on a ball requires balance, which means that you must recruit the deeper back muscles, rather than the large, superficial ones. Typical exercises include push-ups with the legs supported by on the ball, crunches with the back resting on the ball, and leg lifts (on your back) with the ball squeezed between the ankles. Some people use these balls as office chairs, with good results. To remain upright, you need to exercise good posture.  If you’re interested in trying one out, check out the products available at FitBALL.

Ergonomic Desks

Wish you could use a standing desk occasionally, but don’t want to be bothered with dealing with one all the time? (Studies show that in most cases, people spend a lot of money for a desk that goes up and down – and alter its position twice before giving up.) Uncaged Ergonomics has a nifty, and decently-priced, addition to the office that could be the answer to your prayers.