We decided to go BIG for today’s #TweetAtUsTuesday.
We are BIG fans of Casey Neistat’s daily vlog series. You can check Casey out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/caseyneistat. Casey is a super accomplished filmmaker who is just rocking Youtube right now. He has over 2 million subscribers and many viral videos. Currently Casey is in the process of re-vamping his incredibly useful studio and we couldn’t help but notice the ergonomics in his new workstation. So, let’s be frank here. There is evidence of ergonomic risk in Casey’s new set-up. What I want to do today is identify the risk (via screenshots of his vlog) and then based on the risk’s root cause, suggest a simple, cost-effective solution that I think Casey would love. I originally tried to tweet and email Casey to give him these pointers. Then I thought that this information would be better served in a blogpost!
So, Let’s Talk About The Cause of All This Risk.
There are three main ergonomic risk factors: Force, Posture and Repetition. There is also firm evidence that the presence of ergonomic risk factors result in discomfort/pain/injury overtime. For today, since I am only using screenshots of Casey’s set-up, all I can comment on is the ergonomic risk related to awkward postures.
The ergonomic risk in Casey’s workstation is all related to one thing: The new workstation set-up is TOO high for him.
The keyboard and mouse are placed on top of his desk, which is too high for Casey, refer to the picture below. You can see that there is likely about 10 cm/5″ between his seated elbow height and the top of his work surface (keyboard/mouse height). Ideally, Casey’s neutral elbow height would be slightly higher than the work surface in order for Casey to work in a neutral/optimal working posture. A neutral or optimal elbow position is where the elbows are bent at about 90 degrees when typing or mousing. With the proper set-up, this should be extremely comfortable because a neutral posture is considered to be the most ideal working posture.
Since the workstation is too high for Casey, these 3 secondary risks are also present.
- Casey is perched forward in the chair:
- Because the desk is too high, Casey leans forward in the chair. Leaning forward is a big risk factor for lower back discomfort is it increases the amount of strain in the area.
- Casey uses extreme elbow bent positions:
- Casey’s elbow posture is about 60 degrees bent, whereas, a neutral elbow posture is about 90 degrees. This is considered to be an awkward posture. Extreme flexion in the elbows can lead to pain and discomfort overtime in not only the forearm/elbow region, but even the shoulder area if there is an overcompensation.
- There is soft tissue compression between the edge (sharp?) of the work surface and Casey’s wrists:
- Soft tissue compression (contact stress) can lead to a reduction in circulation to the hands in addition to hand/wrist pain from the contact between the desk/wrists.
What I Would Recommend for Casey
Casey’s workstation is WAYY too high for him, above his neutral elbow height. Ideally, Casey’s neutral elbow height should ideally be slightly higher than his work surface. So, basically we need to CHANGE (hack?) Casey’s workstation to allow for a better hand working height.
An additional work surface for both the keyboard/mouse below the original work surface. This surface can be mounted below the work surface with Keyboard slides. This solution is something that Casey would be able to do himself (which I know he loves to do). Here are some other benefits of this new work surface, via keyboard slides:
- Significantly cheaper than installing a regular keyboard tray (Keyboard slides <$50 vs. Keyboard tray >$150)
- Ensures that valuable desk surface real estate is being used to its full potential!
- This secondary surface should be able to slide out from underneath the desk to ensure maximum usefulness
- Keyboard slides to be installed underneath the desk.
- Make sure to get Keyboard Slides with some height range built in (as found in the link above). This is to allow optimal height placement of the tray.
- A work surface between the mounts/slides. You really have some flexibility here. It can be a shelf, scrap piece of wood from another project, a piece of wood from Home Depot, etc.
Note: These screenshots are from this vlog.