Remote working was the exception in the pre-pandemic world – now it is very much the rule. Since Boris Johnson told vast swathes of the country to leave their workplaces and instead stay at home in March 2020 as Covid-19 took hold, few have returned to office life.
Our dining tables have become less a space for entertaining guests, and more a setting for the nine to five. And this looks likely to continue for some time, with homeworking expected to rise five-fold by 2025 compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to a Deloitte survey of chief financial officers.
With that in mind, it is vitally important that the work-from-home environment is a healthy one that is ergonomic to avoid back and neck pain. Maintaining good posture is crucial, but a laptop on the table will make it hard to achieve that.
Sam Salloum, a chiropractor at Milton Keynes Chiropractic Clinic, says the trick is to lift your screen to within an inch or two of your eye level, then take a few steps to achieve a neutral spine – the holy grail of good posture.
“Imagine there’s a piece of string being pulled from out the top of your head to make you straighter,” he says. “We typically carry our chin and neck slightly up, so bring your finger to your chin and gently press down to where it naturally stops. It’ll feel weird as we’ll think we’re looking down because we are so used to carrying our heads up.
Next, relax your shoulders to where you’d normally carry them and slowly retract them back to where they naturally stop, nothing excessive. Once they’re there, let them sink about half an inch. Finally, when we sit, we have a curved lower back, and that’s a curve we want to flatten out, so roll your hips in a little to where that curve is flat. Your spine is now in the optimal position.”
With practice, this will become automatic as muscle memory builds, Salloum adds. And, like going to the gym, it requires training.
To help promote that healthy posture and bring your screen to eye level, laptop stands are a smart addition to improve the at-home office setup. We sought out a range of different types of laptop riser for this round-up. Included are fixed, adjustable and portable options in a variety of designs, so you can find something that will not only make homeworking more comfortable but also match your interiors. In testing, we checked for durability, flexibility, size and cost to ensure options for all.
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Nexstand K2 ergonomic laptop stand
We were impressed by how robust this stand is since it is incredibly light at a mere 234g yet holds steady with laptops up to 9kgs. The claw-like grip gives us confidence that our computers are safely held and not at risk of falling out at a height, and the design is truly adaptable to meet the eye level of different users thanks to eight height settings. The K2 folds away easily and comes with a fabric carry pouch, making it completely portable.
Desktop Innovations acrylic angled stand
If we were to consider aesthetics alone, this stand would come out on top. We love the minimalist glass effect acrylic unit, which also comes in other colours, and think the single-component design is inspired. Our tester’s 13in MacBook Pro felt safe and secure while working and keyboard cables were kept tidily out of the way when fed through the hole at the back. The storage space in the void below the laptop also comes in handy to keep the work area clutter-free. The only potential downside to this stand is that it is not height adjustable, so although our 171cm-tester found it perfect and now cannot work without it, this may not be the case for people of other heights.
AmazonBasics aluminium foldable laptop stand
A hinged arm on this stand lifts laptops by 7.5cm, which we found useful for working for short periods at the dining table. The unit is sturdy and rubber elements mean the laptop stays perfectly in place with no movement. It is also a bargain at under £12 so great for those who need to change their working posture on a budget.
Posture King foldable laptop stand
The lightweight aluminium construction of this stand makes for a rock-solid raised laptop setup, with rubber parts to ensure no slippage. There are six settings to allow it to be adjusted for users of different heights and the unit folds away easily into its moleskin pouch after you clock off for the day. This stand will suit both those who use the laptop keyboard and those who prefer a separate device. We found it works best with flexible laptops that allow the screen to fold back without restriction.
Moft Z sit-stand laptop desk
The smart design of this laptop stand offers much flexibility depending on your height and work environment. It is an interesting, extremely lightweight unit that when folded away is just half an inch thick. When opened up it reminds us of origami. Some cleverly placed cutaways, fold lines and magnets allow for four sitting modes – 25°, 35°, 45° and 60°, with the latter two suitable for comfortable use with an external keyboard. The stand can also be used for reading, writing and drawing, and with either a laptop or tablet. We found the standing mode a little low for us, but our testers are fairly tall so it would work well for shorter people or those working on higher tables.
Jysk Them laptop support
We are not about to recommend you work in bed or with your computer on your lap, but we all know that sometimes we do. On those occasions, this laptop support from Danish brand Jysk will be a saviour for your back and neck. Crafted from bamboo with attractive ventilation cut-outs, this stand looks lovely and provides plenty of space for any size laptop. The left-hand side of the unit raises up with five options to help bring your screen to eye level, while a cup holder and space for a mouse or notepad comes in handy on the right. It would make an equally great tray for those breakfast-in-bed days and folds flat to be stored away when work is done. This durable stand is also excellent value for money, and it is not even Jysk’s cheapest model, with the Mern stand costing just £17.50.
Equal Peaks paramount laptop stand
The workmanship and unique design of this riser make it a real stand-out piece. The curved lines and birch plywood construction look fantastic and attention to detail shows in the built-in smartphone stand and access holes for cables. We found the height to be perfect on this model when used with an external keyboard and it raised the webcam on our laptops to a height that creates a flattering angle.
Znap invisible laptop stand
The invisible stand is the one to use if you don't fancy carrying around a separate riser. It is about the size of a piece of A5 paper and sticks to the bottom of most laptops with an already-applied adhesive, meaning it remains wherever the laptop is. We were initially reluctant to go sticking things on our computers, but found it peels off easily without leaving a trace. This is not one though for regularly switching between devices because there will come a time when the adhesive loses its sticking power. We suggest that if you opt for the Znap stand, you keep it on one laptop that you plan to carry on using. The stand has two angle settings, 15° and 25°, and supports laptops of up to 18lbs, despite being so small and discreet.
Urban Hideout laptop stand
Made from moso bamboo, this stand – or rather two brackets – is lightweight and it has a Scandi look and feel. The dual stands allow true flexibility in supporting a range of laptop sizes, and it felt sturdy and strong when accommodating our tester’s 15.6in computer effortlessly. We found the height worked well when used on a standard desk and lifted the laptop enough to prevent slouching.
Moft carry sleeve
This product is called a carry sleeve but that does not do justice to its full capabilities because it has been designed to be a laptop riser too. As well as keeping your computer safe from scratches and shocks on the move in a smart-looking case, it also features fold lines and magnets to enable it to lift your device to a comfortable height, either at 15° or 25°, when working. Like the other Moft product in this round-up, it feels almost like origami and looks stylish. This carry sleeve will come into its own when we can go back out to work again and will be invaluable at meetings.
Woodsmithsstudio wooden laptop riser
This attractive product lifts devices by 6.5cm and is another two-part riser that goes as wide or narrow as needed to accommodate any laptop. As well as the flexibility offered, the brackets look marvellous with their wax and oil finish and are handmade from reclaimed oak floorboards, making this a sustainable option. Because the stand covers only a fraction of the back of a laptop it allows for good ventilation, while cut-out holes mean cables remain orderly. As well as the standard laptop risers, Woodsmithsstudio offers a bespoke service and has even made sets for DJ’s mixing desks.
An enormously impressive laptop stand, this transforms any table or desk into a standing workstation. It is made from durable birch plywood and comes as a five-piece flat-pack kit that slots together easily in moments. Stan1 features three separate rests for a keyboard, phone or tablet and laptop, and all are adjustable by slotting into the rungs that best suit you. We found it to be solid as a rock, with no wobbles, which is key if you are going to be putting an expensive kit up quite so high. It is on the large side, but that is not a problem because it folds away flat for storage when not in use and it is pretty lightweight too.
Bee9 Design laptop desk
This is an attractive laptop desk that is brilliant for use anywhere in the home. It features a tilted surface to create a good angle for working on a laptop or tablet, but equally for writing, reading or drawing. The Baltic birch plywood construction feels solid and durable and we love that it can be made in a huge range of colours, including pistachio, orange blast and pearl, if you opt for the Forbo lino surface material. That it can be folded flat for easy storage is also great and it would make the ideal solution for those with limited table space because it makes working on the sofa comfortable.
The verdict: Laptop stands
The flexibility, strength and reasonable price tag of the Nexstand K2 easily makes it our best buy. It is super robust, and we would trust it to lift our laptops to a comfortable working height any day of the week. For those who want to try a standing desk but are not yet ready to go the whole hog, HumbleWorks’ Stan1 is ingenious, while Desktop Innovations acrylic stand deserves a mention for its extraordinary design and durability.
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