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Making Modifications to Your Computer Workspace? 136

Posted by Cliff
from the nesting-instinct dept.
Anonymouse Cowherd asks: "I've got an ancient engineer's desk at work, and the thing is seriously not very comfortable for long-term computer usage, so I'm trying to think of things I can do to it to make it more livable. Has anyone had to live with this situation and been forced to hack their own office furniture, or wished that they had? If you did, what modifications did you make to improve your space?"
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Making Modifications to Your Computer Workspace?

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  • by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:42PM (#15102956) Homepage
    The chair. Seriously. If you're going to be sitting in a chair for hours on end, it's worth it to buy a good one, or at least put some padding down on the one you already have. The other great thing about this is that, unlike a new keyboard, mouse, mousepad, or other ergonomic upgrade, a well-made chair won't wear out, break down, or become obsolete with the next version of windows (I'm using an immensely comfortable office chair from the 1920's).

    I would definitely consider looking at upgrading your chair before you worry about the actual desk itself.
    • To get a good ergonomic chair of any height desired (such as to go with a tall engineer's desk), I took a barstool (gives you the proper forward leaning seat surface along with a nice built-in swivel), cut off the legs to the right height for me personally, then added a padded surface to the seat (memory foam tie-down seat cushion for $5 at walmart) and some lumbar support (adjustable lumbar support office-chair cushion from Staples for $10). The result was a chair custom sized for me that is good enough for my "computer professional's back" that a chiropractor took photos of it to send to all his buddies in the profession as an example of the perfect office chair.
      • Could you post a link to one of those pictures? The next comfortable bar stool I sit on will be the first one. I also can't recall ever seeing one with a "forward leaning seat".

        -Peter
      • Makes one wonder why you visit a chiropractor if you have the perfect chair that maintains correct posture and is comfortable...
        • 1. It's semi-free, since I trade IT/web hosting services with his office.

          2. I've been working 8-16 hours a day sitting in front of a computer for about 12 years. It's pretty typical for us in that situation to develop specific injuries and weaknesses, one common one of which is weakened lower back muscles, leading to back problems. I've been to chiropractors on and off for much of that time. Most of them fix the symptoms, but not the underlying cause.

          3. I only built the chair six months ago. Before that I'v
          • RE: 2. I've been working 8-16 hours a day sitting in front of a computer for about 12 years. It's pretty typical for us in that situation to develop specific injuries and weaknesses, one common one of which is weakened lower back muscles, leading to back problems. I've been to chiropractors on and off for much of that time. Most of them fix the symptoms, but not the underlying cause.

            Go to elitefts.com and buy a Reverse Hyper machine, and use it.
          • It's pretty typical for us in that situation to develop specific injuries and weaknesses, one common one of which is weakened lower back muscles, leading to back problems

            Like the other guy said: do situps and hyperextensions (the other way) and your back will feel better.

          • I went to a chiropractor for my own computer-work related back problems. After initial treatment for the immediate pain, he referred me to a physical therapist - they're trained to help you fix the cause. Like the other posters mentioned, the right sort of exercise should work wonders, but a physical therapist will be able to give you the right sort of exercises based on your particular issues.
            • Did I miswrite something, or does everyone not read the last line of a post, or what? I'm really not trying to pick on you specifically, because this is the fourth response I've gotten essentially suggesting excercise to strengthen the relevent muscles.

              The last line of my post was 'I've also been working on the more "conventional" advice for people with the same problem, i.e. slowly strengthening those muscles, taking short breaks periodically to stand up and move around more.'

              I didn't go into more detail b
              • I read what you wrote, but you made it sound so general that for all I know you were following advice you read on Slashdot. My advice to anyone reading, not just you, is to get professional help with those exercises.
    • by Manchot (847225) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:21PM (#15103140)
      In addition to the chair, you should also install a shelf underneath your desk on which you can place a blanket and an alarm clock. That way, you can take a nap there comfortably without anyone finding out. Oh yeah, one more thing. Make sure that the alarm clock doesn't tick. Otherwise, someone might mistake it for a bomb.
      • In fact, I recommend forgoing the desk entirely in favor of a bed with a projector on the cieling.

        Hey, if you can run that by your superiors, I'm sure you can get away with just napping and claiming that you're "Meditating on a solution to the problem" or "Harnessing cosmic energy to leap great hurdles"
      • They don't worry about ticking because modern bombs don't tick.

        But when your desk starts to vibrate that's when they worry. Nine times out of ten it's an electric razor, but every once in a while... it's a dildo. Of course it's company policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:50PM (#15103268) Journal
      The chair. Seriously.

      I agree.

      -- Steve Ballmer
    • I completely agree that a well maintained older chair is better than newer plastic ones. The chair I use is from 1960 has a steel metal frame and is quite comfy. The other advantage is I can throw it down a flight of stairs and still use it. (its about 20 pounds)

      Also oblitory room shots. Room [iparkedyouin.com] I've recently moved since this photo, but, this was the most glorious setup I ever had. I had to crawl to get into it, but I liked it.
      • > The chair I use is from 1960 has a steel metal frame and is quite comfy. The other advantage is I can throw it down a flight of stairs and still use it.

        Steve? Steve Ballmer, is that you?
    • The chair. Seriously.

      Agree completely.

      A good office chair cost $350 13 years ago, when I got mine. So perhaps $700 today. It will have a multitude of flight controls that are so easy to microadjust that you will have no trouble getting into the habit of changing height, tilt, etc just a little bit once an hour or so. Those minor changes in posture and pressure points make a huge difference in comfort during long sessions. They also make a huge difference in productivity-- people who don't get physicall

    • You know, I once saw a co-worker who had purchased a really nice used, leather, powered seat out of a luxury vehicle. He mounted it on a sliding rail and hooked up all the switches and motors. What he ended up with was a chair that had been purposfully designed for very long periods of use, that he could arange at any angle, with lower back support, a neck brace, armrests and even a seat heater.

      For comfort reasons, he added some angled foot rests under his desk, and angeled his keyboard. (He was talking

    • Just as long as you keep your boss from finding out about your new confy chair.

      I've noticed that bosses in general aren't too happy with you having a better chair than them...
    • Interesting you should mention how old your chair is. I've found that 90% of modern chairs are crap for long term usage. And what looks ergnomic is often just the opposite.

      The one thing I would add is that if you can find it, steel springs in the seat make a huge difference in how long you can sit comfortably. Cushioning that conforms to pressure (foam padding etc) is terrible because it loses most of it's effectiveness under dynamic loads.
    • The chair. Seriously.

      Bingo!

      The thing to do is watch the local newspaper to find office furniture closeouts - or even relocations. We were lucky enough last year to find a business that was relocating. They didn't want to move all their inventory, so they slashed their prices quite a bit. We picked up two Steelcase fully adjustable chairs from Thomas Ruff for a total of a couple hundred. Each, brand new online was something like ~$699 at the time. Granted, they were slightly used - and one's a not particular
    • Perhaps the most important thing of all... The chair

      I disagree. The most important thing for me is the three hot blonde Swedish girls that welcome me every morning when I enter my cubicle. Every few minutes, they massage my legs, fetch me a coffee or otherwise make sure I'm comfortable.

  • I use an architects desk as my primary workspace. I dont know what an engineer's desk is but its probably similar(meant for drafting) I took out the pen holder, drawers and the slide protector and its now perfect (and looks nice too).
  • I had a situation similar to this. My cheapo solution was to buy a couple of TV tray tables and arrange them in a form of L shape. One was in front of my chair and it held the keyboard. The other was to my right where I kept the mouse. On the plus side, they were lower to me so I could rest my elbo on the mouse tray. That made using the mouse a lot more comfy. On the minus side, my feet kept hitting the legs of the kb tray. Not an ideal solution, but it was better.

    I hope I'm picturing the right type
  • what i would suggest is figure out the geometry involved and talk to a carpenter before you go at it.

    basically you want almost everything you need (software/ books/monitor ect) to be at arms reach and this is after your chair is correct. first adjustment needed is your arms should be more or less parrellel to the ground (and your hands should be straight).
    but ask somebody that knows this kind of thing.
    • Carpenter?

      Just shimmy some phone books under your desk to elevate you to overlord. After you've intimidated everyone else, you wont need a comfortable workspace.

      They should do the work. That's what they're best at. You should do the overlording. That's what you're best at.

      Or you can just take the advice of the parent post.

  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:48PM (#15102988) Journal
    Wall-mounted shelves are the best thing since crucifixion.

    The idea is you have nothing on the floor, so you have free rein for the cables.

    My setup is wall-shelves for the books (always handy), and a much sturdier wall-shelf for the monitors and b0x3n (LCDs still suck at colour, so I'm still with a 19" behemoth).

    I use a normal folding-legs table as a desk, which I can use elsewhere if needed without having to dismantle the computers. Bonus is that I can move the table around to suit the eye-distance to the monitors.

    As I had spare brackets, I added a small shelf below the table level for the subwoofer...

    • LCDs still suck at colour, so I'm still with a 19" behemoth

      Grow up...there are plenty of LCD's out there with a wider color range and better delta tracking than CRTs.

      Not that I actually believe that you have any use for that amount of color accuracy considering every single professional photographer I know (and I know many more than most people) uses LCDs on a daily basis.

      • In re: to your signature, did you ever find a place? Let me know, I've got thousands going back to Arabian Nights I think.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      (LCDs still suck at colour, so I'm still with a 19" behemoth).


      And I bet you buy those Monster $50 gold plated RCA cables for your A/V stuff, and have a massive spoiler on your economy car to make it go faster...

    • Never put anything on the floor or low wall areas. Just stuff to rip-up with your feet. Even the power cord goes on top of the desk, if you do not have a cable pull.

      My desk at work as a power strip right behind the monitor. Allows for plugging in a laptop, along with the desktop, WITH CRAWLING on the floor.
    • best thing since crucifixion.

      Now that's an expression I never thought i'd hear!
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It may not have been so good for Christ, but since his death saved the rest of us I think we can say cruxification was good.
    • Wall-mounted shelves are the best thing since crucifixion.

      Well I haven't tried the ergonomics posture of crufixion in the office, could you ellaborate more how you are going to accomplish any work if you are so tied up with your posture?

    • Wall-mounted shelves are the best thing since crucifixion.

      Modded insightful. Only on slashdot...

  • by ksheff (2406) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:49PM (#15102989) Homepage

    When it comes time to move to another desk, the next employee or the people in charge of keeping track of the office furniture may not appreciate your modifications. Some nit-picky manager may even consider it willful destruction of company propery. So make sure you can return it to the condition it was in when it was assigned to you.

    Also, what's your definition of 'long term usage'? If it's uncomfortable after 2-3 hours, get up and take a break. You don't have to live at your desk.

  • Don't sit in the same place for too long.
    I sit on an old chair at work, and whilst its not uncomfortable, its not the best thing in the world. I do this because if I get comfy in a big old chair I won't work as hard.

    Get up, walk around. At the very least your eyes will thank you.
  • Here ya go (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:51PM (#15102998) Journal
    This [powertoolservices.com] can fix anything.

    If that doesn't do it, throw in this [industrialtapedepot.com] too.
    • "We believe Internet Explorer is a really good browser. Internet Explorer is my browser of choice." -- Steve Jobs

      Obviously he was talking about IE Mac. Have you tried it? It was of course the best Mac browser at the time, but if it had been maintained in pace it would still far surpass Safari and Firefox today. There were a lot of good features from browsing tools to CSS that it simply supported well.

      Oh, and I think it was a completely different team that built it. The only thing that was similar was the in
    • Awww, come on. Follow the links and you see why it should be "funny" not "insightful".
    • This [link to reciprocating saw] can fix anything.

      Unfortunately, it can't fix the damage you did to your office equipment (from the perspective of your employer). Companies are often irrationally resistant to non-destructive, 100% reversible alterations to office equipment, but they are 100% rationally resistant to destructive, irreversible alterations to office equipment.

      The trick is to work within the system you're given, adding things you can remove, and removing things you can put back later. O

  • by woobieman29 (593880) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:56PM (#15103021)
    Couple of things to look into:

    1) If the keyboard and mouse are at the wrong height (forearms should be basically horizontal to the ground while keying / mousing) look into one of the under-dek mounted slide-out keyboard and mouse trays made by folks like Kensington, Steelcase, etc. Ebay or a local used office furniture or used computer store are places to look for this stuff on the cheap. Look for a tray that adjusts height, angle and left/right orientation, and also make sure that it slides under the desk to get it out of the way when not in use.

    2) At the minimum, get a comfotable chair that either a) fits you natively, or b) has enough adjustment to make you comfy.

    3) If the monitor is not at the right height (Your eyes should be level with the top edge of the viewable area when you are looking at it with your head tilted slightly down) either adjust the stand or place something STURDY and flat underneath the monitor to raise it to the proper height.

    4) For optimum comfort, make sure that your mouse is located as close to your centerline as possible. This is a bigger deal than many people think - having your arm angled out to the side while mousing can be a major casue of Repetitive Stress Injuries.

    And oh yeah, take frequent breaks!

    • For optimum comfort, make sure that your mouse is located as close to your centerline as possible.

      I'm using a el'cheapo BENQ Internet Keyboard and a Microsoft Trackball. (By the way, I love my trackball. It's way easier on the wrists than pushing around rodents all day long. Anyways, let's get back on-topic.) There are more expensive ones like the Microsoft Natural Keyboard. I have test-typed them at some stores, but to me they feel way too flimsy.

      That said, my ideal keyboard would use the IBM key springs

    • I hacked together my own keyboad drawer, to my great satisfaction. I just used two ordinary sliders from a drawer, separated them exactly as far as my keyboard is wide, worked out the optimal wrist-rest position and made that out of wood padded with dense foam and upolstered with velvet. It's classy and ergonomic. I sloped up the keyboard for optimal typing and made its height so that the function keys are about a milimeter below the table surface when the keyboard is pushed in. I also discovered that the s
    • 3) If the monitor is not at the right height (Your eyes should be level with the top edge of the viewable area when you are looking at it with your head tilted slightly down) either adjust the stand or place something STURDY and flat underneath the monitor to raise it to the proper height.

      The canonical monitor boosting platform is a few reams of paper. You may need two side by side to be wide enough, depending on your monitor base. You can stack them two high, if you need that much height. While they a

    • take frequent breaks!

      To add to parent poster: if you're working in X, the xwrits [lcdf.org] package is great for this.

  • by Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:01PM (#15103037)
    to the kitchen, and recycled the empty Mountain Dew (or Polyjuice Potion, as I call it) bottles. I have a lot more space now.
  • Surrounded. (Score:5, Informative)

    by quag7 (462196) <deepspace@dataswamp.net> on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:24PM (#15103154) Homepage
    I have an L-shaped desk with Gorilla Racks behind each long side of it and then one perpendicular to the short edge of one side. This allows me to put the computers up on the racks themselves, preserving desk space but still within reach (the lowest shelf is just slightly higher than the desk itself. This allows me to easily run wires for any equipment I do leave on my desk, such as the phone. Also, books and other equipment (like CD-ROM drives) are easily reachable.

    I think with chairs, I've just gotten lucky. The chair I use is the pefect size for the desk and I rarely feel any physical fatigue even over long sessions.

    I have most of my systems on the shelves oriented in such a way that the power supply fan blows toward the window, so I can easily open that up and exhaust the hot air that builds up. In addition, I have the machines which have cables I may need to unplug or switch on a regular basis on the shelf perpendicular to the short edge of the desk, so I can easily walk around behind the shelves and have full access to the back of the case.

    A picture of how I did this with shelves is here:

    http://www.computerrooms.org/viewer.php?pointer=11 41799282&year=2005 [computerrooms.org]

    Those Gorilla Racks are worth seeking out, by the way - I buy them at Costco and they have a capacity of something like 600 pounds per shelf (!) I never get close to this of course, but they feel steady in such a way that I don't mind piling equipment on there. The shelves can be adjusted to just about any height - you choose.

    Preserving desk space is key to my own sanity since I often have books or printouts I am working from, along with my lunch, etc.

    Another thing which helps is lighting. I have found that the best lighting for me is not very high above my desk. This allows my desk space to be flooded with light for reading, without diminishing the contrast of the monitor. Accordingly I use a light with a lampshade on it and have the lamp actually on my desk, at the edge.
    • Ah, that explains how you can keep your sun tan aswell.
  • Sit-stand desk (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mls (97121)
    If I were to do something about my office situation, I would probably get/make a sit-stand desk.

    An article from the other day about geek health problems [slashdot.org] brings up the issue of low back pain, an ergonomic sit-stand desk might be a great choice for long hours of computer work. If you don't want to shell out for the high-cost adjustable desks, you can sometimes make do with a workbench type desk that you can stand at and type, and a tall chair to go with it for the times you want to sit.
    • When I visited denmark, we stayed with a relative that works as a software developer.

      He had an amazing desk that was balanced with pneumatics. You simply had to grab the desk and pull a bar to adjust between sitting and standing.

      I have since always wished I had something similar.

  • Build a bed under your desk George Costanza style.
  • Maximum oc has a good article on this..... http://www.maximumpc.com/2006/03/outfit_your_wor.h tml [maximumpc.com]
  • darker wall (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fak3r (917687) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:44PM (#15103249) Homepage
    I don't think most are thing of it, but paint the wall behind your monitor a darker color, I use a dark grey. The difference in contrast really helps your eyes, you won't have the eye fatigue that you'd have otherwise. Next up is the chair, spend money on a chair, after that get a desk that's the right height, and go from there...
    • Wait, what? The difference in contrast HURTS my eyes. I find a bright screen in the middle of an otherwise dark wall to be terribly straining.

      Both at work and at home, I have a small desk lamp behind the monitor, illuminating the wall in front of me. There's absolutely no glare and my eyes don't have to work so hard to readjust between the bright screen and a dark wall. I know others have posted similar experiences here before. Consider why dynamic range is so important in everything from game engines
  • Several people have mentioned shelves in some form or another. I went the exact opposite route and had all shelves and cabinets above my desk area removed. It allowed me to push my display back further to a more comfortable distance/height and it makes my cubicle feel much larger and more open than it actually is. It just makes my work environment feel less cluttered/stressful and more relaxing, which helps me work more effectively.
  • I have found every deskI sit at to be too tall for me. My current desk required me to use two 2x4s to lower the keyboard to an acceptable height. I simply drilled wood to the underside of the desk and mounted the keyboard tray to the 2x4s.
  • I put my computer underneath my desk, so I can rest my feet up on it. Perhaps what I am speaking is blasphemy, but it's just _comfortable_. Make sure you have a case wher the top is flat, so those new dells aren't gonna cut it. Also, I opted to use a trackball instead of a mouse, so I don't have to do any of that 'moving my arms around' stuff. The only hassle is me moving my arm back and forth from the keyboard to the trackball, but even that is minimized as I try to make use of all the keyboard shortcuts o
    • I totally agree with you about the case-footrest thing. I have it that way at work and home - the only trouble is my Athalon makes my feet hot in summer.

      On ergonimics: I have appalling posture and used to get a bit sore, then I started doing lots of chinups. My posture is still terrible, but I guess my back can take it now.
  • Seriously. They cost a few hundred dollars at most, and you're going to be spending 1/2 of your waking life in front of it.

    If management won't pony up, make thinly-veiled claims of RSI (don't worry, you'll get it eventually). If they still won't pony up, just buy your own. Working at a terrible workstation isn't worth it.

  • A 500 watt (RMS) Logitech speaker system does it for me.
    • Ah yes. What I've made up with marginally better posture through extreme effort, I've quickly removed with destruction of ear drums. Gotta love how 50% volume requires earplugs to stay in the same room and reveals any rattling metal on the floor below. Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever.

      On a more serious note, my $15 wrist rest should have been purchased about six years ago. It doesn't help my cramped work area much, but my nerves aren't totally flat anymore. I could have done better with the mouse gel pad t

    • It just makes me cringe. What you really mean is "Produces 500W into an 8 ohm resistive load at 0.1% distortion given a sinusoidal waveform at 1kHz". Or you can just drop the RMS and say 500W because we know what you mean... you really mean average power.

      Please leave RMS measurements to the electricians.
      • Why not use the accepted terminology? I'm big into car audio, for instance, and when buying speakers there is a peak power and average power given. They are distinguished by the term RMS. What annoys ME is when someone doesn't say RMS when talking about their speakers and you're left to assume they may very well be talking about the peak power.
      • Thanks for the heads-up.

        I was just using RMS to distinguish it from PMPO, which is often used by unscrupulous vendors to make an impression on people who know nothing about audio.

        500W PMPO doesn't get very loud at all. My sound system however can deliver audio in volumes which make it seriously hard to get any work done. That's why I usually keep it turned down to 1.5 :-)

      • say 500W because we know what you mean... you really mean average power.

        Nah, you gotta be specific. Also, I wonder what happens if you drive that speaker at 4 Ohms.

  • If the word "hacker" (or perhaps the concept and the word's relation to it) is to be traced,

    A 'hacker' is "one who makes furniture with an axe". :-)
  • An Ancient Engineer, what a cool position... commanding all those Senior Engineers!
  • Then ship it to Kolkata and hire somebody else sit at it for you.
  • Weird... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Trracer (210292)
    Your employer doesn't supply you with a proper desk? Here in Sweden we have laws governing the workplace and my employer do listen if I need something new. I currently have one of those desks that I can either sit or stand at (goes up and down with motors) and I have a chair a chiropractor has fitted for me.
    When it comes to keyboard/mouse I can buy whatever I want and get reimbursed on my salary. I work for that big blue IT-company btw. (Excuse any spellingerrors etc etc, English is not my first language).
    • No apologies are necessary. Your spelling and grammar are better than an alarmingly high number of (presumably) native English speaking contributors to this site demonstrate. And no, in the United States there are no actual laws compelling employers to create a comfortable workplace; they only need to provide a workspace free of obvious, provable and widely recognized hazards. Many do go beyond the minimum requirement, either to foster greater worker productivity, or to avoid lawsuits.
  • Try reading this [hp.com](i used to have a hp workstations @ work a few years ago) or other similar guides on the internet.
    A few important points according to me:
    1. make sure that your chair and table height are correct/comfortable for you, you should not have to bend forward (refer to ergo guide for what correctness means)
    2. invest in a good chair with sufficient lumbar support & hand rest, should cost around $150 (adjustible arm-rests wud be great too)
    3. make sure that the keyboard and mouse are placed properl
  • WTF? dont you have Occupational Health & Safety laws? tell your employer you need some furniture that isnt going to give you health problems resulting in you claiming workers compensation in the long run anyway
  • When I told my supervisor that I was having wrist pain and could use a keyboard tray, instead of just getting a keyboard tray, they called in an ergonomics specialist to evaluate my work environment. Ultimately, what I got was the keyboard tray that I had asked for.

    I found out later that the company had just been sued by an employee for disability over a similar issue (though apparently that was someone with a history of questionalbe lawsuits).

    Note: not my current employer
  • by Phreakiture (547094) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:33AM (#15104818) Homepage

    When I was in my 20's, (about ten to fifteen years ago), I had an arrangement where the computer and monitor sat on a low coffee table at one side of the room. A 3m extension cord was added both to the mouse and keyboard. I then sat in a beanbag chair with the keyboard in my lap and the mouse sitting on a tray on my right. The tray had short legs on it, which lifted it up about 20cm off the floor. This was positively the most comfortable computing arrangement I have ever had, and I miss it.

    Unfortunately, my eyesight will no longer support me looking at a monitor from that distance without replacing it with a much larger model (I used a 14" monitor back then).

  • OSHA (assuming you're in the US) has regulations that should cover poor ergonomics in one's workspace.

    Even if they don't, most companies I've been exposed to make a point of telling employees about the value of good ergonomics and how to properly set up one's workspace. Until they eliminated the position, my former employer's company nurse would come to your desk, help you get everything adjusted, and if money needed to be spent (modifications, equipment, etc.), she'd get it pushed through your boss to mak
    • It is driven by good old fashioned economics. Worker's comp claims for ergo related injuries have soared - insurance companies now give businesses better rates if they have a good ergonomics program in house.

  • Funny thing: I'm doing just the same thing right now. I'm quitting my job to become a consultant (egad, I hope I get enough clients), and I'm in the process of setting up my own work area. I have an unusual office with limited space, so I'm actually building my own desk (it's good to engineer something physical, for a change). I'm going to echo what a lot of people have already said, but here's a few things I've learned about myself over the years:

    1. A lot of people have already mentioned it, but a good
  • only so much you can do to a desk, e.g. if its old and "expensed" on the company's books, drilling a few holes might be ok [for better cable routing] And wireless everything could save some deskspace for books and papers and coffee. But here is what I once did when I was stuck with one of those iron boxes. I removed the cushion from the arm rest and bolted on a plank cut from a shipping pallet. I made it so it could swing away or hover over my lap. then I fastened my keyboard to the plank. Since it was
  • Whatever you do, don't do this [ritilan.com].

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

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