I recently had the good fortune to conduct ergonomic evaluations in Paris for one of our clients. Aside of the excitement of being in Paris, I was very curious to see if there were any major differences in work set ups, work styles and general approach to ergonomics.
Aside of the espresso machine and bottles of wine in the break area (I kid you not!), and the beautiful fresh cut flowers and sheer beauty of the office, the employees there, face pretty much the exact same ergo issues that we face in the U.S. After all, the body is the body and computers and laptops are computers and laptops.
One difference in this office is that there is no assigned seating, so employees chose to use their laptops without plug ins, even though beautiful monitors, keyboards and mice were offered and available. This meant that 3/4 of the employees were hunched over their laptops hour after hour and all of the folks I worked with had the typical “Laptopitis” – symptoms:
- Rounded Posture
- Tension and Pain in the Neck
- Tension and Pain Across the Shoulders
- Upper and/or Lower Back Pain
- Eye Straine
Three simple items did the trick for each and every one of these employees.
- Plug into an external monitor OR prop the laptop onto a laptop riser
- Use an external keyboard (preferably mini and wireless)
- Use and external mouse or trackpad
Once the monitor was raised, which changed the line of vision, immediately all of the folks that were once hunched over their laptop (after all, the eyes will win the posture battle – each and every time, since the head and neck will follow where the eyes are looking), immediately found a comfortable upright posture without any fuss.
So, if you are a laptop user and don’t have an assigned desk where you work, travel or change work spaces, and you too find yourself hunched over your laptop, you too can immediately improve your posture and find comfort with these simple changes.
Until the next time!