I would like to say the Tic Toc chair – a rockable stool made by Fully – is a game-changer in your work from home life. Alas, before I can extol its virtues, I need to take a walk so feeling can return to my ass.
Small profile • Versatile • Being able to fidget is nice • Good for smaller people
Uncomfortable with prolonged use • Weight limit is 220 lbs.
A serviceable stool that works better than an office chair, but has quirks of its own.
That, in a nutshell, has been my experience with the Tic Toc Chair.
Perhaps such a criticism is instead an unlikely virtue: It’s a sitting implement that tells you very clearly when you’ve been sitting too long. If you have enough control over your schedule to heed the warning, you may appreciate the nudge to change positions, go for a walk, or get a snack. However, if you’re stuck in meetings all day (my heart goes out to you), then you may begin to experience discomfort beyond mere Zoom fatigue.
Ergonomics and physiology of sitting 101 (it’s important, we promise)
To bastardize Tolstoy, every uncomfortable worker is uncomfortable in her own way. And there are so many ways to be uncomfortable while working: back pain, neck pain, headaches, wrist and shoulder pain, eye strain. Many of these ailments can be reduced, if not eliminated, by proper ergonomic alignment of a workstation. Also, comrades, by taking breaks.
An ergonomically correct computer workstation should allow the worker to sit with her feet flat on the floor, with her elbows at a 90-degree angle. She should be able to see the computer screen by looking straight ahead. In essence, you’re considering the relationships between one’s body and the height of the desk, the height of the chair, and the height of the monitor and keyboard.
Immediately, you can grasp the problem with laptops – the monitor and keyboard, being attached, render either the keyboard or the monitor in the wrong place. This is why so many people use second monitors or detached keyboards. It allows them to place the keyboard or monitor in a position that causes less strain. Those adjustments, however, are the easiest to make. It’s the desk and chair that wreak havoc.
At 5’4”, I’m a woman of average height, and thus completely un-accommodated by nearly every piece of office furniture (all of which seem to fit my 6’2” spouse just fine). If I raise the chair to the height that’s appropriate for the desk (meaning my elbows are at 90 degrees), then my feet don’t touch the floor. Hence why an array of cardboard boxes lives under my desk, ready to become bespoke footstools at a moment’s notice. Yes, I could buy a footstool, but then I’d have another non-adjustable piece of furniture to take care of, and there’s a pandemic going on. Nobody needs that.
Lowering the chair puts me out of alignment with the desk. Sitting fully supported by the back of the chair is difficult because they’re generally too deep to allow my knees to bend properly. You’re getting the picture. Suffice it to say that I have tried any number of items over the years in a quest for comfort while being a cog in late capitalism’s machine: a bosu ball, a lumbar support, a treadmill desk, an adjustable standing desk. The real point is that if you sit for hours on end, you’ll be miserable. Period.
Screed aside, I need to make a living and you likely do, too. So here we are, tilting at windmills and trying out weird stools. Hope springs eternal.
So what is the Tic Toc Chair?
The is, first of all, not technically a chair. It’s a stool, with a wooden seat at a gentle angle. The cost starts at $199 for a cushionless model, which you should not get if you value your butt in any way. The cushioned version costs $249. Both come in either black or natural wood and there’s a on the chair as long as you keep the original packaging.
The base of the stool rotates on an H-shaped frame with two rocking pieces. If you have wood floors, you’ll stick the included adhesive pads onto the chair’s base to prevent scuffs.
Sitting on the Tic Toc places your pelvis into a slightly flared position, which allows you to stack your spine above it. If you’ve done yoga or lift weights, you’re likely familiar with the admonitions to untuck your hip bones and find a “neutral spine.” Often while sitting in a classic chair, the sitter will tuck their pelvis underneath them, rounding their spine and hunching their shoulders.
The Tic Toc is designed to prevent this rounding of the back. The rocking base also allows for fidgeting, or “” if you must. Similar to sitting on a bosu ball, the idea is that the constant movement will strengthen the core and back, while preventing stiffness. You will not get shredded abs this way, but given our collective lowered standards in these times, it’s possible that you could consider sitting in the chair “a workout.” You do you.
What’s great about the Fully Tic Toc Chair?
I received a review unit from the manufacturer, Fully, and have been sitting on it, off and on, for several weeks. The height of the stool has an excellent range from 16.125” to 23.625”. The gas lift made it easy to adjust and it ships fully assembled. My 6-year old can sit on it comfortably and so can I, which makes it great for families sharing workspaces.
Stools like this encourage the sitter into a more “saddle-style” position with the legs open wider than a traditional chair. You can lower the height to be similar to your desk chair so your knees are at 90 degrees, but I found that a slightly higher level was more comfortable for me.
Because the Tic Toc doesn’t have arms like an office chair, you can scoot it fully under your desk and get closer to your screen. This will help prevent neck pain caused by leaning forward to see properly.
It’s a significant ergonomic victory. I just wish it were a little more comfortable.
Fully describes the Tic Toc Chair as useful for a standing desk in addition to a sitting desk. Standing-desk stools or leaning stools have grown in popularity alongside standing desks, as people realize that standing all day sucks just as much as sitting all day. (I’m telling you, the real problem is work.) If you have an adjustable sit-stand desk, the stool’s range will accommodate both. I did find the ability to rock and fidget to be helpful, more so than I was expecting.
The Tic Toc really shines because of its potential for versatility. While my “office chair” basically is only good for work, I can see a lot of other uses for the stool. If you draw or sew, I think it would make a great task chair for those activities. If you live in a small house or an apartment, the Tic Toc will do more than an office chair can, a bonus when you’re spending $249 on it. Its small profile means it can be stored entirely under a desk when you’re not using it.
What are the drawbacks of the Tic Toc Chair?
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that your physical relationship to your desk has changed. Because your pelvis is untucked, you sit taller. Thus your monitor will now probably be too low and you’ll have to futz with it.
The most obvious drawback is the previously mentioned numb tuchus. I try to work using the Pomodoro technique – repeating bursts of 25-minute work periods with 5-minute breaks in between. At the end of a 25-minute stretch, I can tell that I need the full 5 minutes of walking around to get comfortable again. After 2-3 work blocks, I start to get much less comfortable, and it becomes a strain to maintain my posture on the stool.
This usually means it’s time for a more meaningful break, which is probably what I should be doing anyway. But there are times when you have a lot of work to do or a deadline to meet and you just want to power through. At those points, you might find yourself going back to a regular chair.
I don’t have lower back pain generally, and the Tic Toc didn’t cause any, but if you do, your mileage may vary with the chair. Like a bosu ball, it could help improve your posture, but the adjustment period may be difficult as your muscles adapt to a new way of sitting. It’s also difficult to go between the Tic Toc chair and an office chair because the alignment of everything else – monitor height, keyboard, footstool – may need adjusting.
The weight limit of the Tic Toc Chair is 220 pounds, so people above that weight can’t use it. If you share a home office with a spouse or roommate, you may need two chairs and need to store the stool when you’re not using it. You can’t curl up in the Tic Toc like you can in a bigger chair, which makes it less comfortable for reading. It’s better for active working tasks like drawing, writing, or drafting. It reminds me of an old-school drafting stool or a doctor’s swivel stool.
Add to cart?
Nearly every day I used the stool, I also used the office chair at some point. This isn’t the fault of the Tic Toc per se. It’s more a statement in support of using different seating arrangements for different types of work. Such advice is common, along with taking frequent breaks to move around. The bottom line is that no chair, or stool, is a panacea, and if you’re depending on the Tic Toc Chair to make overwork comfortable, you’re going to be disappointed.
The cost of the Tic Toc certainly isn’t low and you’re paying for the design and function of the stool more so than the aesthetic value or comfort. It’s in line with the price of a decent quality office chair from a store like Wayfair, and it’s more versatile than one of those would be. The angled seat is useful and seems like it would help with spine alignment more than a flat-topped cushioned stool.
For smaller people, women especially, who use fixed height desks, the Tic Toc is an excellent tool for adapting a workspace to your physiological needs. I have yet to buy or sit in an office chair that was actually comfortable and didn’t need significant adjustment. To that end, the Tic Toc is the closest I’ve come to feeling like a piece of furniture works for my body. That’s a significant ergonomic victory. I just wish it were a little more comfortable. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go for a stroll.