Alex asks for recommendations for desk chairs. I was going to answer in his comments, but it got to be long, so I thought I’d post here instead. I have three data points about desk chairs:
One, when I was in high school, we had one of those kneeling chairs (though a cheap one, without the back, not the nice one Alex is considering), which I spent many a late night in, writing papers for classes (in WordStar on an Apple IIe with a CP/M card, uphill, in the snow…). After a couple of hours, it always felt terrible; often I would go get a kitchen chair. And I was young and limber then, I can only imagine what they would do to me today.
Two, I worked for 14 months for one of those dot.bombs that immediately went out and spent their fresh VC dollars on Aeron chairs. I loved mine, and wanted to buy it when the end came. But the CEO made a deal with the landlord to resolve the lease/rent, and my chair was included. I was very sad. I still think about buying one. I suppose if the remodel ever ends, I may do that this year, if I continue to work at home.
Three, about two years ago, Rochelle got a great little size A chair from an excess sale at her job. It was a $500 chair when new, from a premium office furniture maker, so it was a great deal at $40 used. And getting the small size was perfect for Rochelle’s short body. (Finding someone who carries the small size can be difficult; they are almost always special orders.) Every once in a while, I’d sit in it for an hour or so, while admin’ing on her computer, and thought it was pretty comfortable, if too small for me. So, when her company had another salvage sale, we bought another chair, in my size, and I replaced my $150 Costco chair immediately.
After two months, the “better” chair had hurt my back pretty badly. I had a spinal x-ray, an MRI, and various other exams. I ended up doing two months of physical therapy, because we thought there was something else wrong. But it turned out to just be the chair. After an hour of sitting in it, I would be in pain. When I finally realized it, I gave it to my mother, and went back to the old Costco chair, and my back has been in decent shape since. And my mother loves the chair that hurt me.
You would think I would have noticed that the chair was hurting me sooner than I did. I mean, I was in a lot of pain. But, when I get in front of the computer, I get focused on other things. I just never noticed, until it got really bad.
Anyway, the point of this long third story is that expensive chairs are not necessarily better for your back, and every person needs a different chair. If you can, take your laptop or a stack of paperwork to the chair store, enough for a couple hours of work, and get them to set you up with a chair or two that you think you might want to buy. And then, work in each one for at least an hour. But an hour may not be long enough, so ask about return policies, and don’t buy where you can’t return it within 30 days. You’ll pay a higher price, but you’ll be sure you’re getting a chair that works for you. If you’re spending even 40 hours a week in it, it’s worth it.