Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A visit from the ergonomist!

I just had an ergonomist visit me to make sure my monitor/keyboard/mouse/chair/desk were all set up correctly. They were not. :-) My body is basically positioned totally differently now than it was. Different to get used to, but I'm all about making things better for myself in the long run. Here are some of the highlights:

- She immediately noticed my keyboard wrist rest and tossed it aside. She asked why I was using it, and I said to rest my wrists on. She said NO, it is simply to remind you to HOVER. Your wrists should be straight and you should not be resting on anything.
- My monitor was actually at the proper height - to test that, she had me close my eyes with my head straight, then open them and point to what I saw first. It was in the center of my monitor about 1/3 of the way down the screen, which she said was good.
- My keyboard was totally in the wrong location. I had to pull it VERY close to my body, right at the edge of my desk, and center the alpha keys (NOT the keyboard itself, with all of the "extra stuff" (arrow keys and 10-key pad)) right in front of my body. She also put down the little tabs that raised the keyboard up, I didn't need those at all. In addition, I have to turn my wrists out a little which she said wasn't good, so she ordered me a new split keyboard that will put my wrists into a more natural position. It also won't have a 10-key keyboard, because the extra stuff on the right side of the keyboard is making my mouse have to be too far away from me. So it will basically just be the alpha keys with the mouse right near it. Since I said I used the 10-key a lot, she also ordered me an extra 10-key keyboard that I can either swap out with my mouse as I need it OR put on the right side of my keyboard and learn how to 10-key with my right hand (or put my mouse over there and mouse with my right hand). Lots of keyboard changes.
- With the mouse, the main thing was just moving it in closer to me. I do use my wrist rather than my forearm to mouse, especially when I'm in a rush, but I already knew that (and in fact told her that right off the bat). It's something I'm working on.
- My chair was too high! Your legs are supposed to be at a 90 degree angle (knees at the same level as your bottom) and mine weren't. Also I told her that I often tuck my feet up on my chair legs, which she said is HORRIBLE - cuts off your circulation at your knees. I have a foot rest but I wasn't using it much - she said I need to be using it to help keep my thighs parallel to the floor. So she lowered the chair and pulled my footrest in, and now I'm at the right angle. In addition, she moved my arm rests UP and IN so that they would help keep my arms at a 90 degree angle and leave my shoulders more relaxed. She said it's important to keep your arm rests as close to your keyboard as possible so that your forearms are primarily resting on the chair arm rests and then you just have to keep your wrists up (hovering) and flat/straight while you are typing.

Those are the main things - check out your workstation, some of these are good easy changes to make things easier for you. It feels very different to be in the position I'm in right now, but I'm sure as I get used to it I will feel better and better! Yay for ergo health. :)

1 comment:

marisa said...

just so you know, this was super helpful! i actually raised my monitors, and it really does help my posture.