From November 2012 until halfway through November 2015 I wrote almost exclusively on easy chairs, couches, and beds. There were definite pluses to this set up, like the fact that it was very portable, comfortable, and I could easily put my feet up and just chill. Plus, if I leaned at the correct angle I could actually have my puppy on my lap as I wrote which is totally a win-win situation. (Below is a picture from 2012.)
As way of introduction, I also asked Jason if he would tell us a bit about how he got interested in ergonomic devices:
To put it simply: by necessity. I started out as a graphic designer in 2005, naïvely thinking I had a great ergonomic setup because of my curvy keyboard and mouse wrist rest. (I later found out that mouse wrist rests are not only useless but evil.) Pain and discomfort started within a couple of years, sending me on a quest for new devices – a quest that grew expensive over time. Partly to defray the cost of trying so many new things myself, I started reviewing products for the benefit of others as well. This ultimately grew into All Things Ergo, a blog that I’m glad to say has been helpful for number of people. It’s gratifying to know that I am helping others get out of the painful, unproductive hole where I spent a number of years myself.
Answer: This is going to vary a bit from person to person depending on your individual build and vulnerabilities. (It would vary even more if we covered writing while standing, but for now let’s limit it to the sedentary side of things.) In general:
- Your thighs should be approximately aligned with the floor. If your knees are higher than your hips, you need to either get a new chair or significantly readjust the one you’ve got; that arrangement will limit circulation to your legs and really hurt after awhile.
- You should not be sitting ramrod straight up. Instead, get a chair with some tilt to the back, and lean back a few degrees while you work. Similarly, don’t take extra effort to square your shoulders while sitting. Instead, relax them.
- Rest your arms on something – usually the armrests of your chair – but don’t dig in and lock your arms in place. Instead, they should be resting “lightly.” Most office chairs with non-adjustable arm rests have them up way too high, creating a shoulder hunch that’s almost worse than no arm rests at all.
- Your keyboard should be, in general, as close to the level of your lap as you can get it. It’s okay for your hands to hang down slightly as you type, but you want to avoid reaching up at all if possible, as this causes your wrists to bend backward.
Helpful, right? Come back tomorrow to hear some more.