Develop and use complex spreadsheets
The discomfort that results from the awkward postures people assume when trying to reach or use their desk surface can be more serious than the discomfort initially alleviated by the adjustable keyboard arm. Trying to read documents from a greater distance causes discomfort that will only worsen as employees age and their visual acuity suffers.
Many employees will push the keyboard out of the way every time they need to move towards their desk surface. Eventually, they adjust their keyboard to a height where it can be easily retracted, rather than to the height they require to work without discomfort. When discomfort does return, it is usually in a place where it did not exist before.
Articulating keyboard support arms should never be used if they interfere with the ability of the employee to complete his/her work with ease or if they cannot be used properly. They do not save the cost of a properly designed ergonomic workstation—an employee who is prevented from working comfortably and efficiently will always cost more.
This is especially true for employees who complete a substantial amount of desk work that is not computer-related. If the desk surface remains at a fixed height, they will frequently experience discomfort while completing their tasks.
Looking down is not an unnatural position. Humans have evolved doing so while using their hands and while walking on uneven surfaces. People throughout the world continue to complete tasks by hand, looking down all day.
Computer use is one of the few functions where looking up can be considered, yet the recommendation to do so has been unique to North America. In Europe, the practice of elevating monitors was never adopted and, in fact, monitors are frequently recessed into the desk surface.
Neck pain and discomfort are becoming more common in the office environment and a major cause is deflection of the head and neck, but this has nothing to do with the placement of the monitor. The cause is the improper adjustment of the chair back and the growing tendency for people to lean back while working at their computer. They pull their heads forward and stretch the muscles up the back of the neck unnaturally.
People can reduce or eliminate their neck pain by sitting up straight—a posture on which every typing teacher has always insisted. Unfortunately, some so-called ergonomic chairs simply cannot be adjusted to support that posture. Their occupants are often seen sitting upright…