The Ergonomics of Mark Zuckerberg’s Workstation

Today we are going to examine the Ergonomics of Mark Zuckerberg’s workstation. To see our past posts, take a look at them here:

Mark-Zuckerberg

If you have never heard of Mark Zuckerberg before, then you should really consider getting out of that rock that you are under! Joking aside, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most influential people of our time who started his career with his ‘humble’ Facebook beginnings. He is a computer programmer, internet entrepreneur and philanthropist. Let’s put on our ‘ergonomics glasses’ and take a closer look at Mark Zuckerberg’s workstation.

Unlike many CEOs, Zuckerberg works amongst his colleagues in an open plan office layout. From my research, Zuckerberg has the following items in his workstation:

  • The main computer seems to be a laptop which he places on the top of his desk
  • Sit-stand capability for the desk
  • Fully ergonomic chair

Observed Ergonomic Risk

It’s so unique that the CEO of Facebook sits with his colleagues. Although Zuckerberg has chosen an innovative approach to where he sits, we are interested in how he sits. Let’s take a closer look at how he sits to determine if there are any underlying ergonomic risks present. Need to know what an ergonomic risk is? Check out this post.

  • There are some ergonomic risks associated with using a laptop for extended periods of time. It’s clear that the laptop is Zuckerberg’s main data entry device. As you can see in the pictures there are no external monitors, keyboard, or mouse. Since Zuckerberg is using a desk that is considered to be too high for him, using a laptop essentially compounds the ergonomic risk.
    • Let’s start off with what a ‘neutral’ sitting posture looks like, we’ve placed our dummy at the bottom of this section for reference.
    • Using laptops for extended periods of time can result in the user leaning forward (so the back is no longer in contact with the backrest) to view the monitor. Leaning forward in a sitting position places a large amount of stress and strain on the lower back area. This is a ergonomic risk that can either lead to or contribute to lower back discomfort.
    • There are two inter-related factors that can contribute to the identified ergonomic risk:
      • The monitor of a laptop is considered to be too low for most users. Ideally, the monitor height should be slightly below seated eye level and then tilted upwards at about 15 degrees (refer to the dummy below). In an ideal monitor position, the person is less likely to lean forward to view the monitor. A low screen height can also contribute in the user excessively bending their neck(also known as neck flexion) to view the monitor. Excessive neck bending is an ergonomic risk because it can contribute to upper back and neck discomfort overtime.
      • Using a laptop on top of a desk commonly results in the hand working height being too high for the user. Working in a position like this can lead to excessive elbow bending (flexion) and related discomfort in the elbow and shoulder areas. Ideally, the hand working height should be just slightly below neutral elbow height, so that the elbow can be at a 90 degree working position, as shown by our dummy below. Working in an neutral posture is considered optimal and the risk of developing an ergonomic injury is low.

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  • The lower back (lumbar) area on the chair needs to be optimized. As you can see from the picture below (refer to the red arrow!), the lumbar support looks like its at the highest position. It looks like it has never been touched. Based on my experience, this is much too high for Zuckerberg, meaning that his isn’t getting any lower back support. Having a chair that provides sufficient lower back support is one of the most important aspects of chair design, and inadequate lumbar support has been found to be related to lower back discomfort. It’s a BIG ergonomic risk that is just SO simple to fix.

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Suggestions to Improve the Ergonomics of Zuckerberg’s Workstation

  • Optimize the workstation. If Zuckerberg uses his laptop for a long durations, he should seriously consider supplying his workstation with:
    • An external monitor
    • An external mouse and keyboard (bluetooth is best to keep the workstation organized!)
    • Note: you can get really specific with the types of keyboards, and mice. Check out this post about keyboards as well as our Product Reviews.
  • Lower the lumbar support on the chair. The lumbar support should be placed in a comfortable position and support the inward curve of the user’s lower back. This is a relatively easy fix, all Zuckerberg would have to do is push the lumbar support downwards until he feels that it is supporting the inward curvature of this back. Want more tips on how to adjust your chair? Check out our Ultimate Chair Adjustment Guide!
  • Get into the habit of using the standing option of his sit-stand desk. Not only do you get the positive effects of a postural change, but you can achieve this without negatively effecting his productivity.
  • Lower the desk height to allow for an optimal hand working height. The desk should be positioned similar to how we have positioned our dummy’s.

There you have it. The ergonomics of Zuckerberg’s workstation. We hope that you got some value from the ergonomic evaluation of Zuckerberg’s workstation.

Through the administration of countless assessments in both private and public sectors, Darcie has gained a wealth of knowledge and built a successful practice in the field of ergonomics. She has extensive expertise in conducting office ergonomics assessments in large scale workplaces for all different types of scenarios, from simple adjustments to incredibly complex cases. Darcie also has vast experience in delivering training presentations on the various aspects of ergonomics “best practices” in the workplace. Darcie is a Certified Professional Ergonomist through the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics, as recognized by the International Ergonomics Association. She also has a Masters of Science, specializing in ergonomics. A little known fact about Darcie is that she once scored from half, off a free kick, in a university varsity soccer (football) match!

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