Health Home life Working life

The Chair Squad

I was sitting doing some coding at work when The Posture Police arrived. The Chair Squad. The Ergonomic Inspectors.

Seriously, a team of three did a sweep through the office and checked every chair to make sure it was working properly, able to be adjusted, and offering the correct back support. Zowee.

It reminds me that my own desk setup at home is not serving me very well. Sure, the two Zed desks look okay, but I’m beginning to suspect they’re not ideal ergonomically. They’re too high (and they’re not adjustable), they have hard edges (apparently a no-no) and the straight edge at the front isn’t ideal. I’ve started getting arm pain when using the computer, something I first noted a few months after the desks arrived (I never did get a graphics tablet, as I mentioned in that post).

I don’t get that kind of pain at work, where both the chair and desk are more a standard corporate design. Nor was it a problem with the old desk.

So though the desks are only about a year old, I am seriously thinking about getting rid of them, in favour of something that’s adjustable, and more comfortable (and thus healthier) to use — even if it’s not as pretty.

And yes, I am considering the (apparently legendary) Ikea Jerker. Mind you, even getting some of those spongy wrist support thingies would probably help.

(No, I’m not going to get one of these Ergopod things.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “The Chair Squad”

I too have recently endured an ergo assessment… it is for our own good apparently. I sympathise. Anyhoo, interestingly was told those spongy supports are for resting your wrists while thinking. Resting your wrists on ’em while you type puts strain. Who woulda thunk it. Maybe they should call ’em ‘think blocks’ or sumat.

When I was doing data entry many years ago we weren’t allowed to have those spongy things. We were discouraged from having our wrists resting while typing as it encouraged RSI. It wasn’t the proper position!

ikea is so lame. anyone who buys that crap might as well just concede thay have no imagination.

why dont you make your own table ?

its not hard.

or think about what you really want and get a cabinetmaker to make one for you.

my first DIY desk was an old office desk i chainsawed six inches off the legs and attached rolling wheels. i then added shelves at the rear, and drilled holes in the desktop at the back for cable neatness.

second desk – i went for minimalism and used an old door, chainsawed to length, added legs (no wheels this time) and drilled holes for cables to go through.

it was a little too tall, so the saw came out again and 4 inches came off the legs.

a lick of paint and im happy.

When I first learned to type (on a manual, my friends), I was taught to hold my arms along my sides, bend at the elbows until the forearm, hand and fingers were level. That was the proper position with and gave the absolute right height of the keyboard – no resting of the elbows on chair arms or wrists on the desk (or spongy things). I’ve done a lot of keyboarding in those 40+ years and I’ve yet to have a problem of any kind. In fact, when I encounter anyone having problems with RSI (or cramping hands/tired fingers), it can usually be traced back to “resting”. As soon as I convince them of the ‘right’ way, their pain usually disappears.

Building my own desk has been the solution for me. Simple and easy enough for almost anyone to do, I ordered a kitchen countertop, getting one that is as long and as deep as needed for good workspace. Mount the front on two 2-drawer filing cabinets (storage that is handy nearby but doesn’t take up more floor space) and use two legs in the back for stability.
I spent less than $200 and I have just what I want.

The place to spend a goodly amount of money is on a chair. Get a good one! Many years ago, I dropped $400 for a Hon – a big price at that time and I was sure I should be having my head examined instead, but I still use it today and consider it one of the best investments I’ve ever made. At this ripe old age, I can still sit at my desk for hours and hours and still feel good when I’m through for the day.

i also picked up a used office chair quite cheaply. it felt ‘broken in’ and better quality than the ones you see in most offices today. its an older style ‘exec’ style chair.

imagine my surprise when i was watching ‘the china syndrome’ one night and saw the exact same chair in the nuclear plant control room.

Comments are closed.