The Environment Starts With You - InformationWeek
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Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
1/28/2011
05:41 PM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
Commentary
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The Environment Starts With You

Misuse of computers can hurt the most important part of your personal environment: your body.

Misuse of computers can hurt the most important part of your personal environment: your body.Twenty years ago you couldn't sit down in front of a computer without enduring a lecture about ergonomics. Those days have passed-but maybe we should relive them from time to time. Recently I got a press release about avoiding "computer burnout" among children through proper ergonomics. (Yes, things have come to that.) The tips differed from what's been printed elsewhere for adults only through the scale of the drawings, but that agreement seemed to emphasize the validity of the information.

Pay attention-the quiz will come the moment you next sit at your desk:

The computer screen should be 18 to 24 inches from your eyes.

You should be looking down at the screen at an angle of about 30 degrees.

The height of the chair should be such that your feet are on the floor, with your knees at a 90-degree angle.

Your wrists should be straight, and you should neither reach up nor down to get to the keyboard.

The backrest should be adjusted to support the lumbar area (i.e., lower back.) This assumes you are sitting upright.

I have also found it advisable to rise from the desk and escape from the computer at intervals, but you don't see the literature dwelling on that-there seems to be an assumption that you are fated to sit rigidly in front of the thing for an indefinite period, in response to your boss's tyranny or your own digital beguilement.

And that only makes the child burnout press release seem even sadder. It was touting knee-high office furniture from the German firm of moll Funktionsmöbel GmbH. The furniture looked nicer than what I have now in my office.

But what about swing sets? Tree houses? Bikes? Or maybe a puppy? No ergonomic burnout there.

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