Is This the Perfect Office Chair?

When my job doesn’t require me to get drunk at the office or rip the hair out of my body, my days are spent hunched in an office chair for hours as I peck away at a keyboard. That’s not good for my back, neck, shoulders, or spine. It also does awful things to my posture.

I’ve read about the benefits of standing while working, but I’m too lazy to do that. Swap my chair for an exercise ball? Not happening, especially after a 2009 study said that won’t do a damn thing to help my posture. What I needed was something that promotes active sitting — in other words, a seat that encourages core-activating movement while I’m on it — without looking tacky or cheap. The Buoy ($199 @ from Turnstone fit the mold.

It’s a backless stool with a curved base that offers 5 to 12 inches of tilt depending on whether you’re rocking back and forth, swaying left to right, or swiveling. The Buoy’s stump is made from hard plastic and comes in six colors — black, grey, baby blue, white, green, and red. There are also 25 different seat cushions. Replacements pads run $35 each.

My “Chill Red” Buoy arrived fully assembled and ready for sitting, so I planted myself on it and got to work. Balancing wasn’t a problem, but I did find myself moving around more often simply because I had the freedom to do so. You should see how I’m able to pirouette between keystrokes!

Later in the day, the missing seat and arm rests caught up with me; my upper back and shoulders became super stiff, but that discomfort was overshadowed by how dead asleep my ass felt. To remedy this, I simply got up and took a break every hour or so, which is something I should be doing anyway. Ten minutes and a short walk later and my back, shoulders, and fingers were all ready to rock the keyboard again.

After three weeks on the Buoy, I’ve decided to break up with old chair. Sure, my posture is still Quasimodo-esque, but I’ve made more of an effort to remain upright while I work. My upper back has adapted and no longer gets as stiff, and when I do feel the urge to hunch, I use the side level to adjust the height of the Buoy (it goes as low 17 inches and as high as 22.5 inches).

As for my ass, I still experience pins and needles when I sit and write for too long. Which reminds me, it’s time for a break.