Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Office Ergonomics: Let's Get Practical

Office Ergonomics... what is the essence of it? We all have our own concepts and philosophies when it comes to the optimal office setup. Yet over the years, the notion of office ergonomics has conjured up a mental image of a graphic outlining a perfectly positioned, faceless individual. Each joint of the body has been precisely measured and labeled. You are familiar with the graphic: a perfectly proportioned individual sitting with knees and hips bent at 90 degrees, an impeccably erect spine, elbows positioned at an exact right-angle and finally, the keyboard and the monitor placed without flaw.

This ideal picture – or so it would seem – is the visual aide that has been used countless times by educators and consultants to outline and communicate the ideal position that end-users should aspire to. However, a problem does exist. Regardless of how ideal this picture may be, this standard-bearer has seldom, if ever, been observed in the workplace – male/female, East Coast/West Coast, first floor or the penthouse.

It is time we get practical. Our teaching approach and message need to match up with the realities of a call center and the rigors of the data-processing suite. Believe it or not, people move, shift, reposition and redistribute their weight throughout each and every day. I do it. You do it. It is done with great frequency and consistency. The paradigm of the statically positioned, faceless individual needs to be transformed to a message that encourages freedom of movement within the context of three simple strategies: Stability, Clearance and Support. (Via Occupational Hazards)

Office Ergonomics - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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