Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2018. Since then, tons of experts have recommended Purple’s Seat Cushion for ergonomic home-office set-ups of all types. Since WFH is still prevalent, we’re republishing it today for Butt Week. And to make things even easier, we’ve enabled this post with on-site shopping so you can support yourself (and your bum) without leaving this page. Read more about our on-site shopping tool here.
There are plenty of advantages to working from home (a dress code of worn-in tees and play breaks with my scruffy co-worker), but the main disadvantage is the lack of a proper office chair because my back and butt start to hurt after sitting for eight hours in a chair that is not designed to be sat in for eight hours.
That all changed after a visit to a friend’s apartment. My friend works from home, and after I complained to him about my sore bottom, he told me I had to try his seat pillow, which looked like a regular black seat cushion. Sitting on it, though, was something else. It was like I was held up — nay, massaged — by a thousand interlaced fingers: firm with just a bit of squish. Made of a “hyperelastic polymer in a grid pattern” that’s similar to the gel cushioning inside an ergonomic backpack strap, Purple’s seat cushion cups the butt and tailbone even as you shift about and change positions (I’m a squirmy sitter). Most crucially, unlike stuffed cushions, it never flattens out and thus never needs fluffing or flipping over. I can sit for several-hour stretches without ever feeling uncomfortable or out of whack.
If you’re debating whether to go for the regular cushion, the double, or the royal, I’ve tried them all, and unfortunately, the (most expensive) royal is my favorite. The difference between the royal and the double can be described as the difference between a firm and regular mattress — I like more support and less give, though you may prefer the softness of the double. I find the thinner portable version to be a bit too thick to add to my travel arsenal (even if I would have killed for it on a recent red-eye). These days, the royal cushion is what I rely on to transform an ordinary dining chair (and barstool and couch and even sometimes the floor) into a very pleasant place to work.
More Strategist-approved chair modifiers
Writer Maureen O’Connor swears by her lumbar-support accessory: “Much like the Aeron, the Easy Posture sports a bouncy nylon mesh stretched over a light wire frame, and, as opposed to a shapeless pillow, it comfortably curves into the lower back near the base of the spine. It’s a gentle nudge to sit up straight and can be strapped onto the chair of your choice — and, most critically, removed whenever you want.”
Drop the BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus onto any seat to lift your tailbone up over your butt. It comes in pretty much any color you could want.
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