Relationships

The $20 Item That Changed My WFH Game

women working on laptop

I’ve thought about my neck more in the last five months than I have in my entire life…

This focus on the vertebrae between my torso and head began shortly after I started working from home. It took only one week of hunching over my laptop while sitting in one of my plastic kitchen chairs to realize my makeshift “office” setup was about as ergonomic as an airplane lavatory.

“Did you know that your head can weigh up to 60 pounds when you’re looking down at your laptop or phone?!,” a friend of mine queried during a Zoom call early on in quarantine. “That’s the weight of four bowling balls!”

Nope, I sure didn’t, but it hasn’t been an easy statistic to forget. Especially once I looked up the article in The Atlantic that she read it in, which in addition to the bowling ball comparison also includes the harrowing analogy that “looking at Twitter in the supermarket checkout line is the equivalent of giving an aardvark a piggy-back ride.”

As one week turned into multiple weeks, and winter bloomed into spring, my gratitude for the ability to continue safely working from home commingled with an urgent self-imposed directive: unload this aardvark — pronto. I reached out to Cody Hanish, a licensed chiropractor (who happens to be a wellspring of extremely satisfying spine-cracking videos), for advice. He told me that one of the most significant things I could do to improve my work-from-home setup is make sure my laptop is situated at eye-level, which would allow me to maintain an upright neutral posture: “A poor hunched posture will not only put a lot of stress and strain onto your spine all the way from your neck to your tailbone but it also compresses all the tissues and organs like muscles, lungs and digestive system.”

A solution finally materialized when a work contact recommended this laptop stand. It was $20, had great reviews on a few other websites, and looked extremely portable. I adhered it to my laptop as soon as it arrived (it functions like a sticker with removable glue), and thus began my substantially more ergonomic WFH journey. Not only does the stand put my laptop at eye-level, but it’s also insanely lightweight, and the angle is subtle enough that I don’t need an external keyboard. The impact on my neck’s well-being has been palpable.

Hanish also mentioned this helpful nugget of simple but easy-to-forget wisdom during our exchange: “The most important piece of advice I can give would just be to move more and set aside some time to exercise each day, whether that’s to go for a walk or do a yoga session. I tell a lot of my patients to set an alarm every hour to remind them to get up and move to ensure they haven’t been sitting in the same position for too long.”

With an alarm on my phone that reminds me to get up and stretch once in a while, a pillow behind my back when I’m parked on one of the aforementioned kitchen chairs, and my beloved laptop stand, I’m finally starting to feel less like this shrimp and more like this ballerina.

Do you have any game-changing tips or gadgets that have helped orchestrate a better home office setup? I would love to hear about them.

Harling Ross is a writer and brand consultant based in New York. She was most recently the Brand Director and an editor at Repeller, where she wrote about everything from fashion to relationships to rosacea.

P.S. The best career advice, and the mentor myth.

(Photo by Kristen Curette & Daemaine Hines/Stocksy.)

  1. maddy says...

    I’ve started using a 2″ (empty) binder to mimic the wedge angle that this article talks about. V nice!

  2. Sarah says...

    I was so excited to get this stand! I, like another commenter, am rarely a “buy on sight” kind of gal- but I immediately purchased this computer stand! However, I don’t think the website nor this post accurately mention how difficult it will be to obtain the aforementioned stand- it ships from Hong Kong, meaning 4-6 weeks minimum w/o covid delays. I wish that would have been laid out more clearly in this recommendation.

  3. Rachel says...

    I am a teacher, and now that I have to be on Zoom with my virtual students (some kids, though very few, are in person), I am at my desk allll day. Anyone who teaches knows this is a bizarre change to the normal “on our feet all day long” routine.

    My back and neck have been killing me, so after reading this article, I ordered a laptop stand and I got some ergonomic add ons for my school-issue desk chair. They arrived this weekend, and after only a couple days using them, I can say confidently that they are GAME CHANGERS! I will link the ones I bought below.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SBM5TZH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077KM3H5J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  4. Abigail Bates says...

    I relate to so many of these comments! I was WFH 3/5 days before lockdown and now I’m WFH full time. In the office we had a great dual monitor setup, but my WFH office is much smaller so I don’t have space for my big office laptop stand. As a result, I’ve been struggling with the neck pains. I need to look into this stand!

    However, one thing that really helped me was getting an ergonomic mouse! I started to get severe wrist pain from clicking constantly with my small mouse (my job requires lots of clicking! lol) and so I bought the Jelly Comb ergonomic mouse. It’s kind of sideways but not overtly so. I also bought a mouse pad with a wrist cushion. These small changes really helped my wrist pain and I rarely ever feel it now!

  5. Cassie says...

    I LOVE Harling’s writing, as well as Haley Nahman’s. However, I also can’t help but notice that they are two new voices to COJ that come from another extremely well-known lifestyle site. I hope opportunity exists for other writers (especially BIPOC ones) who did not benefit from the exposure of a super popular brand….

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes there are opportunities for sure! Excited to be editing a second piece by Christine pride today, will be published soon! Xo

  6. Casey says...

    After reading the intro, I was really hoping this would be some kind of next pillow to hold my head up while working.

  7. jane says...

    After several sessions with a chiropractor I changed my seat from cushioned to hard and it helps keep my posture aligned which has been huge. I also work standing for a couple hours. I’m using a laptop and just leave it on the desk but angle the screen way back which is surprisingly comfortable on my arms and shoulders.

  8. Kelly says...

    Do you think this would make your camera eye-level? I usually prop my computer on a bunch of textbooks so I don’t look like a gremlin crouching over my computer on Zoom calls. The actual rise height is probably lower than the books I stack on, but I wonder if the angle would make for a more flattering (or even just palatable?) Zoom view…. any thoughts?

    • Jenny by the sea says...

      I have a very similar riser, and can confirm that it is at a great angle for Zoom calls – the camera is c. 35cm from the table on the higher setting, so not quite eye level but considerably more flattering. I use a separate keyboard and mouse, so this essentially allows me to use my laptop as a second monitor but it has been an absolute revelation, and like Harling, I would highly recommend it.

    • Isabelle says...

      I don’t think it’s ever going to be possible to have a good zoom view point as well as good working ergonomics and functionality while only using a laptop. Getting a keyboard and mouse and propping up your laptop on something so that you are looking straight ahead or slightly up at the screen would be a good start. Your screen/webcam and keyboard really need to be separate if you’re going to be working on it full time.

  9. Susannah says...

    I have the MOFT and love it (it sits on a standing converter so I can sit or stand with it which is great… they had a kickstarter for a standing version of MOFT but I couldn’t see how I could use my external mouse with it)! I also have one of those butt donut pillows (thoughtfully concealed beneath a sheepskin) and it’s AMAZING. I bought one when my daughter was born—she bruised my tailbone on the way out, fun!—and when I bought it Amazon suggested that I “subscribe and save” on the butt donut. My husband and I laughed “who needs to SUBSCRIBE to a BUTT DONUT!? Surely you only need one!” but subsequently we’ve bought multiple butt donuts and have them all over the place (on both of our WFH office chairs, in each of our seats in the car, we gave one to my mother and my BFF). We should definitely have subscribed and saved.

  10. Mercy says...

    How timely! After months of web browsing-but-not-buying for a better wfh setup, this week I finally bought a laptop stand, wireless keyboard/mouse, seat cushion/lumbar pillow, and blue light glasses. The cushion adds enough height that I actually need to prop the stand on a couple old textbooks, but overall it’s loads better than before and I too am no longer a curled up shrimp!

  11. Christina says...

    I was MISERABLE the first few months of work from home. I was working from my laptop at my dining table. I actually ended up going to a spine clinic with an emergency couldn’t-move-my-neck situation (my head was stuck to the side, I couldn’t even face forward!). I started physical therapy, and eventually it became clear that WFH was going to last a lot longer – so I spent about $500 on equipment. $350 on a sit/stand desk with adjustable height. $100 on a second monitor and $50 on a monitor arm attachment for the desk to go up/down. I’m fortunate to have been given my desk chair, keyboard and mouse from my office. I’m also really fortunate to have the space for a separate office area. It has made a WORLD of difference, not just in my physical health but in my mental and emotional health!

    I encourage everyone to – even if you don’t have separate office space – invest in a chair with adjustable height and lumbar support, even if it looks hideous in your cute apartment. Try to get a second monitor and a little stand that keeps your face forward, not down (that bowling ball statistic made me cringe). Elbows should be a 90* angle, feet should be flat on the floor with a 90* angle at your knees. Eyes should face slightly down but not much – if the top of your screen is below your nose, it’s too far down.

    Thanks for this post, Harling!!! And THANK YOU for the back cracking videos – total asmr!!!

  12. I have to say, I am NOT a purchase-on-sight person. I’m extraordinarily conscious of the ways I spend money and consider purchases foreveeeerrrr before I buy. But I just bought this laptop stand instantly!!! Thank you so, so much for sharing this gem of a product! I have been a WFH freelancer for just over a year and spent hours searching for a laptop stand to make my desk situation more ergonomic, but hated how bulky all of them were. This stand–heck, everything this company sells–is the perfect solution for me. Seriously, thank you SO much. I can’t wait for it to arrive!

  13. Mary W says...

    I have to have a foot rest. My kitchen table desk is a little too high and my back was killing me for the first month. The foot rest fixed that.

  14. Caitlyn says...

    I invested in a posture trainer from Amazon. It wasn’t expensive and looks a little funny but has worked wonders on my lower back pain while working.
    I wear at various times like washing dishes or when I am not on video calls.
    It isn’t expensive and has been an amazingly impactful.

    • Harling says...

      Oh wow… need to investigate this.

    • Christina says...

      Caitlyn, did you get the strappy one that kind of holds you in place ($20ish)? Or the zappy one that kind of bugs you if you start slouching ($80ish)? I’ve been thinking I need to really concentrate on my posture leading up to my (small) wedding next year hahahhaa.

    • N Rogers says...

      Can you post the link for the posture trainer you bought.

  15. M says...

    This is SO real. 2 weeks ago, I severely pinched a nerve from being at my desk in one position for too long. My neck/upper back was in so much pain, I couldn’t lay down without screaming for 10 days straight. I’m taking this so much more seriously now!

  16. Aimee says...

    Which size laptop stand do you recommend? They have 10 inch and 25 inch to pick from, and I can decide what is best.

    • Harling says...

      Hi Aimee! I got the mini version with a 10-degree adjustable angle, which works really well for me at my height (5′ 4″), but if you’re tall I might opt for the 25-degree one for a little more elevation.

  17. liz says...

    don’t forget to take breaks and look at something farther away than your laptop screen. I worked in a big office and even though I rarely saw the outdoors, just walking the halls required my eyes and brain to look into the distance. Gaze out a window or at a far wall or something. Especially if you are bad like me, working on a computer all day and still using my phone at night… if I’m not attentive I can go hours without looking more than maybe 18″ in front of my face. Not natural.

  18. Lucia says...

    After two extremely painful carpal tunnel flair ups after starting WFH, I splurged and got a fantastic laptop stand that swivels, an apple keyboard with number pad so the keys were what I was used to, and a wireless mouse. I’ve had no pain since, so totally worth it.

  19. Such a delight to find Harling here! Yay! More please!

  20. V B says...

    DON’T FORGET!
    Add a mouse and keyboard so you don’t hunch towards the laptop!

  21. CS says...

    Oh yikes. The chiropractor cracking backs! Lol!!! I can’t believe more people haven’t commented on that! It was both captivating and terrifying.

  22. Claire says...

    thank you for this, and to those who are commenting with their suggestions. I am taking notes. (My back is killing me!)

  23. Eleanor says...

    Yay, cool to see Harling here!!

    • Harling says...

      Thanks, Eleanor!!

    • Kimberly says...

      I second this recommendation for this portable table/desk!

      It’s versatile and totally awesome! I use it sitting on my bed or standing in front of my regular desk. I even use it at night when I’m watching a movie on my laptop. I considered getting something cheaper, but I have zero regrets buying this. It’s well worth the money. Your neck and back with thank you.

  24. Kathy says...

    I am very excited after googling “harling ross” that it’s the same author I’ve read on repeller before who is awesome! Hope she stays!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, she’s working freelance now, and we’re so excited to be collaborating with her!

  25. Brittany says...

    I got one of these ErgoErgo seats because I like sitting on a ball to work, but don’t want a giant ball in the middle of my house. This takes up less room, looks decent (in black), and I feel better than on a normal chair.

    https://ergoergo.com

    • Emily L says...

      This is intriguing. Do you sit long periods of time? Do you feel this will last quite a while? I’m seriously considering this, as I have an 8 hour, tied-to-the-computer shift.

  26. Ryan says...

    OoOoOo is Harling up for being hired by the Cup of Jo team? She was may favorite at Repeller. Would love to see more of her here!

  27. Jessica Paterson says...

    I use a two-inch binder for a makeshift laptop stand. Can’t compare it to the real thing but it does help

  28. Sadie says...

    I went back to the office and took my office chair and monitor after three months.

  29. AR says...

    I have the same setup for WFH has I have at the office (desk, docking station, monitor, etc.) BUT… I am making an effort to log 12,000 steps a day. I break it up in little walks around the neighborhood or chores around the house when I have 5 or 10 minutes between tasks. For calls where I don’t need to have materials in front of me I take them while I walk outside. My lower back pain has really improved and I also feel fitter. I got the idea right around the start of COVID when I read an interview with Harley Pasternak recommending 12,000 steps a day (tbh it was a feature in US Weekly but that counts as an “article” for me these days).

    • b says...

      I love this. I am going to aim to start doing this. My step counts are abysmal right now.

    • DJ says...

      My goal is 10k steps but I haven’t missed a day since March 14! While it’s good for my physical health, it has done wonders for me mentally during this crazy year. I keep thinking I’ll stop but I live in a moderate climate and haven’t had days on end of rain, so I’ve really had no reason.
      Keep on keepin’ on!

    • jane says...

      Ha, I just finished re-reading Calypso by David Sedaris and the part where he describes his obsession with fitbit steps is so funny. At his worst he was up to 60k. A day! Here’s an excerpt link:
      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/30/stepping-out-3

  30. SP says...

    it’s always so fun to see someone i love from one corner of the internet appear in another corner of the internet that i also love! like running into a friend at the airport, that random serendipity! yay for harling! xxx

    • Alice says...

      Came down to say the same thing! So glad to see you spreading your wings at other outlets, Harling (not that I don’t love seeing you at man repeller…er repeller!).

    • Harling says...

      love and very much agree with this analogy. so nice to “run into” you here :)

    • Caroline says...

      I felt the same way!!! When (internet) worlds collide – in the best way!

  31. Annie says...

    I have struggled with WFH -induced neck/upper back pain for a few years.

    Here are my tips:

    -Laptop stand, bluetooth mouse and keyboard
    -Standing desk (if possible) and a tall desk chair for when you need breaks
    -These PT exercises have been suuuper helpful for me: http://www.wellnessinmotionboston.com/neck-and-upper-back-strength-training
    -I love my foam roller and my acupressure pad for release and relaxation

    Sadly this stuff gets so expensive! I ended up doing PT for it as well. Strengthening is very helpful.

    • Megan says...

      Thanks Annie, I have bookmarked those exercises! I also keep a yoga mat handy for spur of the moment downdogs and sun salutations.

  32. Andrea says...

    In March my coworkers made fun of me for only having a desktop at home instead of a laptop. Who’s laughing now? And my gadget tip is a vertical mouse – really saves my wrist.

    • Karin says...

      Fellow desktop devotee here! They are so much more comfortable for long hours of work.

  33. Virginia says...

    THRILLED to see Harling here <3 <3

    • Harling says...

      Thanks so much Virginia :)

  34. e says...

    Wrists AND elbows and shoulders! Since i suffered from a frozen shoulder, arm angles are everything for me.

    • Harling says...

      oh man, a relative of mine had frozen shoulder and it seemed so awful. hope you’re on the mend.

  35. Sarah says...

    I’ve been using a different 1″ laptop stand for years. I’m low vision and the raised height makes it so, so much easier to use both the screen and keyboard. I love the design of this one and how it can be as high as 3″ on the highest setting. I went with the regular stand rather than the mini since it has both the 1″ and 3″ options. Thanks for the rec, Cup of Jo!

  36. michaela says...

    Another thing that’s really helped me: I bought a Purple seat cushion, and it’s relieved a lot of back/hip pain. My makeshift desk is now the kitchen table with hard little IKEA chairs, so this has really made a difference.

    We’re moving soon and I’m hoping to carve out a little more space for a more stylish and comfortable work setup, because our office is remaining closed until spring of next year!

  37. Rachel says...

    Harling!!! On Cup of Jo!? What an amazing day!

    • Caitlin says...

      AGREE!!!

    • Harling says...

      *~*~*~* woot woot *~*~*~*

  38. Jen says...

    We’re hearing Harling’s voice…but seeing an image of a black woman (whose voice we don’t hear). I think it’s time to be more careful about representation and prioritizing actual black voices, this image with this author comes across as very tokenizing or performative to me. When racial injustice isn’t a life-or-death issue in this country anymore, I’ll be happy for blogs to use whatever writer with whatever image, but until then…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your note! I hear what you’re saying and I thought about this, too. We use often images from stocksy and we’ll find the best image for the post (in this case, the search term was “woman with laptop”), so sometimes we’ll have white authors with Black images and we sometimes have Black authors with white images. it’s a mix. but I hear what you’re saying, and we’ll think more about this. I’m also happy to say that we have a column coming up called “race matters” with the amazing Christine Pride talking about racial issues. I hope you enjoy it, I’m excited to be collaborating with her. thank you so much xoxo

    • AW says...

      I second this. I clicked solely because of the image and then realized the image is neither the author nor associated with the topic :(

    • Kathy says...

      Oh! I automatically assumed the author to this post was the woman depicted in the picture and didn’t realize it was a stock photo. I agree with the sentiment of this comment upon further reflection…that’s a good point. Also I appreciate that COJ is thoughtful and receptive to constructive feedback. Hooray for open-minded discussion and learning from one another. What a nice community to have on the internet when it can be so hateful elsewhere.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I am listening to your feedback and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I hear what you’re saying. Many of our posts feature stock photos, and in the past, we’ve always chosen the photo of the best quality/aesthetic, which means that sometimes the models weren’t the same race as the authors. But I hear what you’re saying here, and how it might be misleading, and I’m going to swap out the photo. From now on, when scouting stock photos, we’ll choose photos of models whose race is the same as the author’s. Thank you so much. Again, I really appreciate your feedback, always.

    • Andrea says...

      When I saw this image I was excited to read since I thought the author was black and then saw that it was not. It felt l a bit like a bait and switch. I understand using more diverse images but something about this did not feel right.

    • Alex says...

      I am not black, so it’s very possible I’m missing something here, but how is that tokenizing? The original photo was of a woman working at a laptop, which is exactly what the story was about. I feel like it’s very common for cover images on COJ to feature someone else beside the author. Maybe it’s because I knew that Harling is white, so I wasn’t surprised to find that out later as some others were? To be clear, I am 100% on board with more representation of black voices (!!), and from what I can tell COJ is making efforts in that direction (especially with such a small staff), but is there not also something to be said for trying to promote inclusivity and representation through imagery?

    • LC says...

      Same here – I thought at first we were going to hear from a Black voice and then I saw the author’s name. It was especially disappointing because of the pervasive anti-Blackness at the other site the author wrote for (I know she was just a writer there, not the sole content creator, and I like her work, but the juxtaposition of the image with her name in the byline was jarring to me nonetheless).

    • Maura says...

      This is a very interesting topic, and I understand the pushback about the image. I think it would make sense to caption the photos that are stock photographs, because this being a blog that often features the writer or the subject in the picture, the disappointment is understandable. I also know that as the white mother of biracial children, representation matters, and I want to see diverse stock photographs illustrating articles- but think a caption could maybe help clarify the intent?

    • jane says...

      This is so funny – since I know of Harling from man repeller my actual thought was: “oh wow. Harling got really tan this summer.” hahaha, crying…! Second thought was, that bracelet looks good with her tan!

    • Marisa says...

      Since I am unfamiliar with the author, I too, thought the photo was of her. I didn’t realize it wasn’t until I read the comments. Just want to give you some more feedback, Joanna. I understand your point completely about using diverse images, and if we know the author, that would make more sense, I think. As a visual person, I also would love to see more real life imagery, versus stock photography anyway.

  39. Calla says...

    Does anyone have suggestions for how to “put away” your WFH office? My apartment is 300 sq ft and I work at my small kitchen table. I don’t like to leave my laptop stand and keyboard there when I’m not working because it’s where I eat all my meals. Right now I just throw everything under the bed after I work but I’m thinking some kind of low-profile shelf or picture ledge that I could install near the table would be good. Or even those tip-out shoe cabinets from IKEA. What do other small-space work from home readers do?

    • Emma says...

      I have a low-profile ledge from IKEA and when installed correctly (with wall ledges if your apartment allows), I absolutely love it! I’ve been WFH since March and sometimes sit at the ledge and work or store my laptop on it and it’s been a perfect solution for my 420 sq ft rental.

    • maddy says...

      I think I read it in the comments on COJ, but I have a ‘work tote’ to put all my work stuff into, and laptop and charger into . I can put it away or hang it on a doorknob. It’s so nice to pack it up at the end of the day. Works for me!

    • SR says...

      ahhh this is my problem! my S.O. and I both work (and do schoolwork) at the kitchen table in our studio apartment and I can’t stand to look at the piles of paper at the end of the day!

    • Calla says...

      Wow thanks for the suggestions everyone!

  40. Jen says...

    I think it’s misleading to introduce this new writer to COJ with an image of a black woman. At first it seems like you are adding more diverse voices to the blog…but then upon further research nope it’s another white woman writing. Seeing more representational imagery *is* important, but I don’t think it’s nearly as important as actually hearing a balance of voices from diverse people. I want to hear a black woman’s actual take on what makes her WFH easier…not just see a picture of a black woman and hear a white woman’s voice. Thanks.

    • Christina says...

      Seconded. I commented about this also. Thanks, Jen!

  41. jeannie says...

    What a great tip! Thank you!

  42. Agnès says...

    My tips: waking up at 4 or 5; i work until 7.30 when my kid wakes up; those hours are amazing! (a 15′ nap after lunch and lights off at 10pm). AND no work after 6 pm (I do cheat).
    (and no, I don’t put an alarm clock, my covid time worries wake me up and now it’s my new rythm).

  43. Megan says...

    Love seeing Harling here!! If it looks like you’ll be WFH long term, get a standing desk. 100% worth it (also recommend an anti-fatigue standing pad to go with it). Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and a monitor. If you’re part of an office, ask if there’s any way they can offset the costs. Also, candles!! Such a treat that wasn’t allowed in my office. Digging the natural scents from Brooklyn Candle Studio.

    • Harling says...

      Thank you, Megan!!

  44. Sally says...

    Yes, thank you for talking about this!

    I ended up getting carpal tunnel in both hands at the ripe old age of 27 due to a desk job, bad ergonomics, stress, genetics, who knows. I lived with it for two years before finally getting carpal tunnel release surgery this year. I actually ended up getting surgery the day before the hospital cancelled all non-emergency surgeries due to COVID.

    But yeah watching everyone’s WFH setup since COVID has made me cringe. You should not be working on a laptop 8 hours a day!

    Here’s my expensive but sadly, necessary setup:

    Keyboard: https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Natural-Ergonomic-Keyboard-4000/dp/B000A6PPOK

    Vertical mouse: https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Vertical-Wireless-Mouse-Rechargeable/dp/B07FNJB8TT

    I hook up my laptop to a monitor that I place on a cardboard box to make sure it is in line with my eyesight. I also have a cardboard box I rest my feet on so that my legs are being fully supported / not cut off by the chair. Getting up and doing something else every hour is also really important.

    Honestly I’m still in pain so I probably just have to walk away from a desk job for a few years! It could just be me but I do worry about everyone working from home at kitchen tables, on their laptops, or just hunched over in their bed.

    Saw this speech from Taika Waititi after he won his Oscars and have never related more. Finally someone speaking out about RSI! Hehe.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/9/21130967/oscars-taika-waititi-apple-butterfly-keyboards-jojo-rabbit-academy-award-press-room

  45. HARLING!!!! Two of my favorite internet ladies 3 <3 the 2020 crossover I needed but didn't deserve.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes we adore her!

    • Harling says...

      Ahh hi!!!! This made me so happy.

  46. Julie says...

    If you’ve got any large books laying around the house, just stack them under your laptop and get the same results for free!

    • Elizabeth P.F.B. says...

      Yes! It’s so easy to do!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the only thing is, then the keyboard is not slanted, and it can make your wrists hurt. any tips?

    • laura says...

      ergonomically, the keyboard and the screen should be separate. the keyboard should be at a position where your wrists naturally fall (arm should be at around a 90 degree angle), while the screen should be eye level. it costs $$$ to be ergonomic :(

    • Julie says...

      I find that occasional stretches help with the wrists–feels really good when taking those little breaks from work :)

      Yoga with Adriene has some great videos to guide: https://youtu.be/gb3_oSAGoXs

    • Alice says...

      Yep! My laptop stands have included a tree encylcopedia and an ancient, TYPED dissertation (Sorry, Silverman). And the separate keyboard is crucial. Another commenter said your arms should be at 90 degrees, but I was told the angle should be slightly wider, your wrists should be slightly below your elbows. An extra keyboard costs money, but physical therapy costs more.

    • Elizabeth P.F.B. says...

      That’s a good point, Joanna!

  47. Patricia Perez says...

    I have that stand and it’s amazing! I’d also recommend bluetooth mouse–my hands started getting swollen by the non-ergonomic position of the track pad. Game changer!

  48. I also have a MOFT after a similar journey that started by sitting on the guest bed and using an ottoman as my desk. I love it – my flat laptop feels so far away now, and it holds up better than I would have thought! I ended up getting the phone version too for when my wifi cuts out…

    Enjoy it!!

  49. Loesie says...

    At the office we have 2 screens with our desktop computers; at home we only had a laptop.
    So at home we had to split the 1 laptop screen whenever we would be looking up data in the 1 screen and typing that into the other screen. Very challenging/frustrating/annoying!
    Then hubby bought a very cheap, very lightweight, very big second screen.
    Now, we just put a simple cable into the laptop and we have this giant big extra screen! Makes all the difference. Plus it’s so lightweight and only connected to the laptop with one cable so whenever we’re done with it, we easily put it on the floor.

    The video quality is not as good as the laptop screen, but I don’t really care about that if all I’m working on is numbers and text ?

  50. Calla says...

    I also use a laptop stand along with an external keyboard and mouse. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting comfortable in my kitchen chair but the best solution I’ve found so far is a seat cushion, footrest, and lumbar support cushion (I a travel pillow). That’s the only setup that allows me to lean back and have my feet flat and it’s made a big difference. Admittedly my kitchen table is a lot less cute looking now

  51. Audrey says...

    My neck has been killing me from working from home! I ended up buying a laptop stand that can transition to standing desk height easily ($40), A cordless keyboard and mouse ($20) and an office chair from target ($50), and these small upgrades have been *game changers.* I’m kicking myself for not doing it earlier!
    Stretching also definitely helps alleviate the damage I had already done before making these upgrades.

  52. Charlie says...

    Harling on Cup of Jo???!! My heart just exploded! Welcome to the freelance life, chica! xx

    • Harling says...

      Thank you x infinity <3

  53. Cara says...

    I just went down a black hole of watching those cracking videos. So deeply satisfying in such an odd way!

  54. anne says...

    I just spent 20 minutes watching back cracking tiktoks. Thank you for introducing me to the new pimple popping. (WHY DO I FIND THESE THINGS SO SATISFYING???!!!!!!)

    • Harling says...

      omg I know right

  55. Kate says...

    This Microsoft USB keyboard and mouse (and 10-key!) are amazing. I’ve had the set for almost 3 years and it still works like a dream. The ergonomic keyboard is so much nicer on your wrists and hands (and shoulders and neck and back!) than the little laptop keyboard. I can’t imagine a full work or study day without it. It’s really small and streamlined, so it works well for shallow desks or small work spaces!
    https://www.staples.com/Microsoft-Sculpt-Ergonomic-Desktop-USB-Wireless-Ergonomic-Mouse-and-Keyboard-Combo-Black-L5V-00001/product_206709?cid=PS:GooglePLAs:206709&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=206709&KPID=206709&gclid=CjwKCAjwkoz7BRBPEiwAeKw3q12JR8wO-YtiRfUVYhDVZDu4Pom_I9H2UF6EkbJQpEh2GzoFpSHUjhoCYjgQAvD_BwE

    • Liz says...

      Seconding this – this keyboard likely saved me from developing full blown carpal tunnel.

  56. Kate says...

    This product looks great! My boyfriend has been complaining about neck/shoulder pain since WFH started and I think I’ll buy for him – did you get the 10 degree or 25 degree angle/do you have any recommendations for what would be best?

    • Julie says...

      Same question. Can someone weigh in?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’ll ask Harling!

    • Harling says...

      Hi Kate! I got the 10-degree version, which works really well for me, but if your bf is tall I might go for the 25 degree version so he gets a little more elevation :)

  57. Robin says...

    I have been having major neck and upper back challenges from sitting so much. I finally ordered a chin up bar that latches to the door frame so I could strengthen my upper back and core. It’s helped a lot! Plus, I’m so proud of my progress, I am developing calluses.

  58. Meg says...

    Harling! So happy to see you here :-)

    • Harling says...

      Thank you, Meg!! xo

  59. Rebecca says...

    I just downloaded an app that reminds me to take a “micro break” every twenty minutes and look away from my screen, as well as a five-minute break every hour to stand up, stretch, walk to the mailbox, etc. It’s a game changer! There are tons of them out there, but the one I have is called Time Out — I like it in particular for the way it gently fades my displays with each reminder.

  60. Jules says...

    Haha I might try one of these! I currently prop my laptop and mouse up on a bunch of my old college textbooks after my shoulders were aching that first month into WFH. I wish I could say that they were only $20, but at least they are getting some more use!

    • Sadie says...

      Lol “I wish I could say they were only $20…”