For last week’s #TweetAtUsTuesday, I went BIG. This week also calls for another big post. It’s a continuation of my suggestions for Casey Neistat. In last week’s post I made several ergonomic suggestions for Casey based on where I identified risk . You can see this post here.
Today is going to be a continuation of last week’s post. Last week Casey made a few new changes to his workstation that he posted after my original blogpost. I wanted to take some time to offer Casey some helpful suggestions on how to improve the ergonomics of his new set-up. Today’s blogpost is based off of this vlog.
Overview of Casey’s New Workstation
- The workstation is too high for Casey, about 10cm (5″) higher than his neutral elbow height. This can result in upper extremity and lower back discomfort over time. In this post, I offered a couple of really simple and cost effective suggestions for Casey that would reduce the ergonomic risk that he is exposed to.
- Casey purchased an APEX M800 keyboard. It is the ‘world’s fastest’ mechanical keyboard. Typically, mechanical keyboards require a lot less force to type on (ergonomic win), but you notice that with this design, the number pad is located to the right of they lettered keys. This design causes non-neutral shoulder postures for the mousing arm, which will be more thoroughly discussed later.
The Outstanding Item that I would like to talk about in this blogpost is… The layout of his work surface (although extremely cool looking) is now exposing Casey to even more ergonomic risk.
And, in my experience, this is an extremely common ergonomic set-up that is extremely risky for shoulder injury.
If you look at this screenshots from his vlog, you will see that he places his keyboard and mouse on top of his desk. To make better use of cord management, he drills holes into the surface of his desk. This is to thread the cords through as to not clutter the work surface. I don’t want to talk about these drill holes, I actually think that is quite an interesting approach. Personally I would have just purchased wireless equipment in the first place to avoid drilling.
Instead, I want to talk about the long and extended reaches that his new set-up causes because:
- The keyboard is wasting valuable real estate on the work surface due to its length.
- Ideally, a neutral mousing posture would have the mouse directly in front of and in line with the shoulder. Ergonomic risk becomes a factor as soon as there is any amount of outward reaching to the side.
- In many conventional keyboards (with the same length as Casey’s), the number pad on the keyboard is an ideal position to mouse from. In this position, the shoulder is relaxed, comfortable and in a neutral position. Also, due to its optimal positioning, it is very unlikely to result in shoulder discomfort overtime. This is a BIG WIN for anyone who is dependent on working productively to get a pay cheque!
But, there is more! And this has to do with the location of the drilled holes.
- This work set-up is magnified by the mouse located between 5-10cm (2-4″) to the side of the keyboard.
- There is an extreme amount of side reaching in Casey’s set-up.
- There are holes drilled that anchors the mouse into this outstretched position. This wastes the prime real estate for ideal mousing postures.
Risk is COMPOUNDING on itself.
There are now 2 different root causes leading to the ergonomic risk in Casey’s workstation:
- The workstation is too high for Casey. For solutions, check out this blogpost.
- The length of the keyboard AND position of the drilled holes result in over-extended side reaching. This is a BIG risk for shoulder pain.
I’m not going to point out the ergonomic risks without offering simple and cost-effective solutions to them! The root cause of Casey’s ergonomic risk is the length of the keyboard as it results in extended outward side-reaching that can place the shoulder at risk for ergonomic injury. Here are some suggestions to reduce the risk:
- Probably the most valuable suggestion would be to purchase a compact mechanical keyboard. A compact keyboard frees up valuable real estate by eliminating the number pad in its design so the user can mouse with a neutral shoulder position. There are many mechanical compact keyboards available on the market today, such as this one.
- To reduce some of the outstretched mousing postures, Casey can relocated the mouse so it is closer to the keyboard.
- To eliminate outstretched right-handed mousing postures without the requirement to purchase a new keyboard, Casey can simply switch to left handed mousing. It takes about a day to become familiar with and within a week of use, most people are pros.