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
- 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
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.
- 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