Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ergonomics Please

I don't mind working from my corner of our living room. The 'office' is fairly organized and I have a window view of all the street happenings down below. Our apartment is quiet and I have complete control of the thermostat so there's really not much to complain about.

Unfortunately, I have aged. My back has been screaming at me for some time to stop sitting on one of our hand-me-down wooden kitchen chairs and invest in something that would make the long hours at the computer more pleasant.

I'm no occupational therapist, but I convinced myself for quite a while that I didn't need an appropriate chair because sitting uncomfortably would provide an impetus to get up and move more often. Without the water cooler or conference room meetings, I needed all the excuses I could find to get up throughout the day.

I decided to shop around after getting a flyer on desk ergonomics at a health fair recently. Look at this happy, productive employee. I should look for a chair like hers:

Instead. I purchased this contraption on Amazon:

I won't bore you with the benefits of kneeling chairs. I know they're great. I just am not so sure they're great for me.

First of all, I built the chair when it arrived Thursday night. It's adjustable and as is evidenced by the photograph above, (office clutter aside) I wanted to sit tall at the desk. Perhaps a little too tall. I was so high I had to find a box and a photo album to put my laptop on. Then came the issue of the keyboard. My wrists are supported, but I have to hold my arms up to type while the mouse is a foot below on the desk. My shins are sore, my knees are blue, and I have serious doubts about the sustainability of this set up.

The pro: I stood more - a lot more. Since my computer was so high I could basically stand and work just as comfortably as sitting. Great.

The con: The pain relocated. Upper back to lower legs. I'm not sure which is worse, but I'm beginning to think I'll head back to the kitchen chair.


Darsdad said...

Aunt Lisa say's maybe a balance ball??? You could improve your balance while you work.

Mark Bornstein said...

I was going to suggest a stability ball as well. I've seen folks use them in classrooms for the hyperactive kid but they're great for working the core and posture as well. I'm sure they'd be fantastic for a few bounces during a break:)

Sarah and Dominic said...

I have one c/o Josh, it's just not tall enough... Maybe I should look into a larger version.

Anonymous said...

You should get one of those treadmill desks where you can walk and work at same time. I think you might also need to lower the keyboard. There is nothing ergonomic about that latest contraption of yours. You need lumbar support and your arms aren't supported at all. That or lower everything so your arms can rest on the desk. You are one crazy kid!!!

Get up and stretch more. Sitting is the worse thing you can do for your back.


Anonymous said...

Actually the arms shouldn't rest on the desk. Get a key board to attach to your laptop and then you can put the screen at eye level and still have the keyboard down where it belongs. You are only 5'3" and you can't grow by sitting in a tall chair :)

beta said...

Sarah jan,

How about taking mini-breaks (yerevi 8 rope) to stretch with some yoga positions?