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Comfortable Computing

Do you have a dedicated computer area? Was this area designed specifically for 21st century computer use or has this area been retrofitted with a computer? Is it a comfortable area?

Possibly more important than the technology of your IT environment is the ergonomics: how the design of the pieces in your environment work with what you need and how you feel. Being comfortable and healthy while using your IT environment can help you be more productive and experience greater enjoyment. This article discusses the importance of monitor position, sitting position, and general movement to promote circulation.

Monitor arms and mounts can provide the greatest flexibility in placement of your monitor, allowing the monitor to easily be placed slightly down angle from your eyes and, if you have multiple monitors, they can be placed together without taking up a substantial amount of desk space. Try to have the monitors as far away as possible while still maintaining comfortable readability.

A healthy sitting position can allow for extended desk and/or computer work without resulting in the typical discomfort, such as that related to back and neck stress. There is significant detail that goes into a healthy sitting position. Using a good ergonomic chair will generally provide the ideal neck, upper back, lower back, and leg support while promoting the healthiest postures. In addition, one of the most damaging aspects of sitting is lack of movement. Newer ergonomic chairs, such as the Humanscale Freedom Chair, address this by using an auto tensioning system that adjusts to your weight when you sit. After you are seated you are free to move, shift your weight, sit back, move forward, etc. while the chair automatically maintains proper support. This concept of free range motion puts the chair at your command instead of your be restricted by the chair. You will find that you subconsciously will move as needed and, as a result, will stand up after even hours of work, without feeling as though you have been sitting.

The concept of moving throughout your work session has made its way to desks and mice. High adjusting desks are available that allow the user to preset various working heights. Simply choose to stand up, press a button, and the desk raises to a preset height. When you choose to sit down, press a button and the desk returns to a sitting position. Many newer computer mice now support "air" mode. In one position, the mouse is used conventionally on the desk. When you are reading an article, e-mails, or would like to sit back for a while, pick up the mouse and it switches to "air" mode allowing you to hold the mouse like a remote control and move the curser simply by tilting and pivoting your wrists; no arm movement is necessary.

As people continue to increase their use of computers, ergonomics and a generally comfortable IT area is becoming a higher priority and the industry has recognized that. A greater range of ergonomic products will continue to be available and work areas will become increasingly comfortable as a result.
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