No, no -- this isn't a snack entry. And if it were, believe
me, pretzels would be near the bottom of my list, between Funyuns and rice cakes, maybe. It's about ergonomics and the
lack thereof. I just realized I'm sitting in this crappy old chair all twisted
and contorted to work around my overloaded desk and breaking every rule of how
to arrange a work environment and how to sit properly and align yourself correctly. (This
is my home workstation, btw -- my sumptuous TechRepublic cube is well appointed
with all the best posture-promoting accoutrements.) But here at home, my laptop
has been nudged to the brink of my desk by my creaky old Gateway, a cheap photo
printer, books, notebooks, dishes, a dog toy I had to confiscate (from the
cat). A good candidate for our messy workspacephoto gallery, as it happens.
This is how I've been operating for several years now, and I
think it's possibly starting to take its toll. So I decided to revisit Becky
Roberts' download "Eight
cost-free steps to improve workstation ergonomics,"
which talks about
simple changes she's made to help her users work more comfortably. And
popped over to OSHA and discovered some great resources there, too.
things, I read about the hazards of poorly designed workstations. As I
suspected, I'm embracing every one of them, and I feel a little worse
about it because of course I have ALL the symptoms: numbness in the
hands; reduced grip strength; reduced range of motion in the shoulder,
neck, or back; dry, itchy, or
sore eyes; loss of color in affected regions; weakness (presumably they
weakness; I guess I can't blame my character flaws on this chair.hmmmm...).
Anyway, OSHA offers some useful info and a
couple of pretty slick checklists, which I'd recommend to anyone who's trying
to change their pretzel ways and head off the resulting debilitating effects.
checklist runs through items for identifying workstation problems; the purchasing
guide checklist offers criteria for selecting the healthiest components
(not just monitors and keyboards, but telephones, lighting, pointing devices,
and document holders).
Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.