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H
ealthy Computing Tips
 

Healthy Computing: Beer Budget Ergonomics

© Erik Peper PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by Erik Peper PhD. View all columns in series
Have you heard the saying, "Champagne tastes on a beer budget"? We often feel that way when we think of ergonomics. If you find that you look at your workstation and think, "If only I had more money, I could have a better ergonomic set-up," you probably have a beer budget. Ergonomic changes don't necessarily have to cost a lot of money-what is usually required is creativity. Help reduce discomfort caused by poor ergonomics and increase creativity when you implement BEER BUDGET ERGONOMICS.

How to Implement Beer Budget Ergonomics:
Take a moment to assess your workstation. Then explore the following simple and inexpensive ergonomic problems.

Desk too low:

  • Place 2x4 boards, bricks, etc. under the legs of the desk.

Desk too high:

  • Trim the legs.
  • Raise your chair and use a footrest or create a platform upon which you can sit.

Footrest:

  • Use phone books or firm pillows.

No room for a mouse on your keyboard tray:

  • Place a mouse bridge over the 10-key pad.
  • Use a c-clamp with a small board next to the keyboard tray to create a mouse pad.

No document holder:

  • Prop a 1-inch 3-ring binder between the keyboard and monitor--use a small piece of anti-skid material or a large clip to keep documents from sliding (anti-skid material is often sold at hardware stores or Target, where it is sold as shelf liner).
  • If you are reading a book, use a fork to keep the pages open-place it across the top with the prongs slipped through the pages on the right and the handle pressing against the pages on the left.

Slant table for writing:

  • Use hard cover 2-inch 3-ring binder with anti-skid material.

Chair:

  • Use a pillow for better back support.
  • Remove the armrests if they get in the way of working at the keyboard.
  • Roll a towel and hang it over the back so it supports your spine and helps you to maintain a neutral posture.
  • Wrap the armrests with soft, spongy material if they are too hard.
  • Sit on a large gym ball instead of a chair.

Negative keyboard tilt:

  • Place a row of post-it pads underneath the front of the keyboard.

Sharp edges on the desk:

  • Glue a strip of weather stripping to the edge.

Monitor too close:

  • Move your desk away from the wall and push your monitor to the back.

Regardless of your ergonomic situation, always remember to take your breaks-micro-, meso-, and large movement.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney

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About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco State University. He is President of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (2005) and past President of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.......more
 
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