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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Position To Work For Long Hours? 262

New submitter damitr asks: "What is the most ergonomic position if you are working with a laptop or a desktop (with or without wireless keyboard and mouse) for long hours at stretch? Is bean bag for sitting with a laptop a good option? What is the best way to use a desktop without causing tennis elbow and backache/neck problems?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Position To Work For Long Hours?

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  • missionary. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:45PM (#40958601)

    What were you thinking?

  • none (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:46PM (#40958617)

    there is no positition such that sitting still in it for a long time wont cause problems.

    • Re:none (Score:5, Informative)

      by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:56PM (#40958707)

      Yeah, the simplest answer is to keep changing positions. And take a break every 30 minutes.

      • Low chair (Score:5, Informative)

        by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:31PM (#40958933) Homepage

        Here's a position I can work in for 5 hours:

        Chair 17 inches from floor to what you sit on.
        Desk 30" off ground.
        Keyboard tray 25" off ground.
        Feet on a footrest 9" off ground. Or sometimes on the floor.

        I sit in highly unergonomic positions but still don't experience any pain.

        Be sure to center the F and J keys on you navel. (Don't center a whole 104-key keyboard on you navel: the numpad throws it off center.) Optionally put the mouse on the left so it's not too far off to the right (again, because of the numpad).

        The low chair allows you to keep your feet flat on the floor without bending your legs backward or feeling too much pressure on the underside of your thighs. Otherwise (with too high of a chair), your thighs are tilting downwards and you're forced to put your feet on the coaster assembly.

        Don't bother with the classic typing position of holding your arms above the keyboard parallel to it, and dropping your hands down perpendicular to the keyboard. That hurts. Rest your palms or wrist on the keyboard or a rest. (Typing teachers tell you not to do that.)

        Put your feet on the footrest, extend your legs to be straight and optionally lean back.

        The mouse should be on the same level as the keyboard (25").

        • At work I have a setup kinda similar to yours. It also helped that I lost weight, as a lot of my backache came from my stomach pulling downward.

          At home I do my best work in bed. LCD screen on an arm hovering in my view, keyboard in my lap (though I'm mostly reading so don't use it that much), TV in front of me so I don't get bored.

        • by Surt ( 22457 )

          As you age, the risk that holding such a position for 5 hours will kill you shoots up rapidly into territory most people would find unacceptable.

        • F and J keys? Looking at my keyboard I'm wondering how wide is your navel :)

        • You have about the right height for keyboard, give or take. That is the most important thing. 30" is for a business desk that was designed for writing. If you are mainly doing computer work, the desk height itself is not important at all... the FIRST thing to consider is keyboard (+ mouse ) height, which should be considerably lower than a "standard" desk. Trying to type for long periods of time on a "standard" desk (too high) is one of the most common causes of Repetitive Motion disorders of the arm, hand
      • Re:none (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:33PM (#40958955) Journal

        Here's what I think - hospital reclined bed position with the fancy anti-bedsore mattresses, if patients can survive that for hours, office workers can. The usual office chairs and fancy "modern ergonomics" are bullshit[1] - it's amazing how after thousands of years of making chairs, decent comfortable ones are still so expensive.

        As for that standing fad, there's plenty of evidence that prolonged standing causes problems. Simple rule of thumb, if it hurts don't keep doing it for a long time.

        Keep in mind the minimum amount of exercise to maintain reasonable health, supposedly short high intensity exercise is more time efficient. I won't be surprised if it's true - since most animals don't spend hours fighting or running. It's just a short high intense burst up to a max of a few minutes, then
        a) either they die or they survive to live another day.
        b) they catch and eat what they are chasing for dinner.

        So put it all together and perhaps we should recline while doing "office work", then every now and then walk about for a bit and then do very fast sprints. ;)

        [1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm [bbc.co.uk]
        Seems to imply they only tested up to 135 and said it was least pronounced at 135. While it does show that sitting up straight does put more stress (despite those stupid claims of sitting up straight being good), if they didn't test 180 (or more) then their study is still flawed isn't it?

        • Re:none (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:10PM (#40959275) Homepage Journal

          You call bullshit on something you know nothing about, and back it up with an article that cites a member of the British Chiropractic Association as if they were an authority rather than (as has been legally proven) a bunch of quacks and charlatans..

          I'll send you the bill for a new irony meter. The needle on my old one is shaped like a hairpin.

          • by TheLink ( 130905 )
            I said their study was flawed. Perhaps I used a bad example, but the other "ergonomic" studies I saw didn't even provide much proof for why their chair/position is better.

            If you bother to read my post, you'd see I'd prefer the "reclined hospital bed position". So far patients still do get bed sores (after very long periods), but they sure don't get injured as rapidly from those beds as office workers get from their crappy office chairs. If they did, the hospitals will get sued even more. So that's my justif
        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          I won't be surprised if it's true - since most animals don't spend hours fighting or running.

          Ah be we are not most animals.

          Humans big advantage in hunting is/was the ability to run down most prey, we (if in good shape) are not the fastest but we can keep up the chase longer than almost any prey we would want. Our bodies are somewhat uniquely efficient at cooling. Groups of prehistoric hunters would literally chase critters like elk until then collapsed from exhaustion. Supposedly a human in absolutely ideal physical condition can out run a horse for distance greater than ~26mi.

          Point is we are

          • We can outrun a lot of animals, and probably all the wild ones that don't undergo "training", but we are definitely slower than horses [stackexchange.com]. Human best marathon time is 2 hours for 26 miles, which gives us an average speed of 20 km/h. A horse on the other hand, can race at an average speed of 25 km/h, and do this for 6 hours. And that is carrying a person.
      • mod up the parent, please. One should never stay in the same position for an extended period of time. Move around, change positions, don't take root like a vegetable.
      • It is important to change positions in the correct way. If it's your lower back that starts hurting, you should switch chairs, stand up, or otherwise change your seating position. Everyone has favorite ways of dealing with this, or you simply don't become a computer geek.

        The upper back and neck are a different story. Pain in these muscle groups is related to bad arm mechanics and is only partially related to your chair selection. You also need to change the height of your keyboard and mouse relative t

      • While I generally agree with the notion, recently, I have been travelling by car a lot and have found sitting in one position for longer times increasingly easier.

        I think there may be something to taking breaks and all that, but also, POSTURE is an important aspect. And in order to maintain posture, muscle tone, weight and other factors also come into play. Posture is important for blood flow for example and I'll just go to the bathroom for a great example of good versus bad posture. Some toilets are hig

      • Gretchen Reynolds recommends a break every 20 minutes. Here's http://m.npr.org/story/152336802?url=/2012/05/09/152336802/stand-up-walk-around-even-just-for-20-minutes [slashdot.org]"> a link to NPR interview .
    • Re:none (Score:5, Interesting)

      by supercrisp ( 936036 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @04:08PM (#40959665)
      My lower back health and mood changed greatly when I started taking breaks every half hour to do push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, whatever would get my blood flowing. I also lost about 5 pounds in 15 weeks. I highly recommend getting up and moving around. It really brightened the day.
    • by goldcd ( 587052 )
      was about to say the same.
      Worked in a Swedish office, where they were taking their employee ergonomics very seriously. Desks had motors in them to raise and lower the work surface, plus there were a pool of excellent 'things to sit on' - basic idea was that you could very easily switch from sitting, to sitting on a swiss-ball that was the right size for you, to working standing up.
      I fortunately seem to have been rather blessed in never having so much as a twinge from a desk-job, but actually found it qui
  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:47PM (#40958625)
    Here is a log of a 3-week experiment [fastfedora.com] using a stand up desk. FYI for comparison.
    • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:17PM (#40958833)
      "Standing for a long time and having increased pressure in the abdomen may make you more likely to develop varicose veins, or may make the condition worse." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002099/ [nih.gov]
      • If I am making a choice between varicose veins and blood clots [sciencedaily.com] I am choosing to live with ugly veins.
        • Ugly veins? (Score:5, Informative)

          by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:19PM (#40959333)

          I am choosing to live with ugly veins.

          Not just ugly. Varicose veins divert returning blood to recirculate and pool in the lower legs. Consequences can include blood clots, edema, and (in my case) tissue necrosis leading to ruptured Achilles tendons.

      • ... and they didn't come from working standing up.

        However, using a stepper to work the leg muscles will reverse the effect: increase deep veinous circulation to better than sitting. Best of all, use compression stockings to force blood up out of the legs -- whether you work sitting or standing.

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      I've been using a standing desk for about a year now. I like it. With a chair, it's all too easy to be glued in place without moving a muscle for hours at a time. With a standing desk, you do tend to shift your weight around a bit from time to time. I don't tend to stand up all day. I have a stool that I sit on for about a quarter of the time, so I alternate between standing and sitting every so often. When I've been standing for a while, it feels good to change to sitting, and when I've been sitting

      • As crazy as it sounds when I really get "in the zone" on a project I'm working on at the computer, my physical sensitivity drops through the floor. I didn't realize how dangerous that could be until a little while back I sat with my forearm flat on the desk for so long I lost circulation in my pinky and didn't notice for about 6 hours when the tingling sensation finally broke through. For about a week, the tip of that finger was purple and you could see little blood splotches at the end of the fingernail.
      • Yeah, I like my standing set-up, too. I tend to dance around a bit, sort of stretch, do leg lifts and such while I'm working, and I really don't even have to think about it. In addition, I do multiple muscle tension exercises as well - tightening my abs and stuff like that.

        I'm considering adding a treadmill to the mix as well - for the times when I'm not too focused to be able to walk, walking and reading web stuff would be brilliant.

        Obviously that set-up won't work for everyone, or in every office, but I f

      • Same. Here. I found a great old drafting table with a top that adjusts up and down and for tilt. I stand all day but I have an industrial anti-fatigue mat. I agree with your observations. People give me strange looks because it looks like I'm doing yoga while working. Sometimes I'm standing straight. Sometimes hunched over. Sometimes I put a carboard tube on the floor and balance on it.

        I am 5'9" and used to be 210 lbs and my legs hurt from poor circulation and my back hurt. I decided I was getting old and I

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      That's great and all. Now for those of us with sciatic nerve problems, that's not even an option.

      Personally, I'm a bit of an oddity. I have an extra vertebrae and scoliosis, and I find myself leaning to one side all the time. It's not severe scoliosis but it's bad enough to be uncomfortable and make certain exercises (eg. pushups) pinch nerves. Here are the positions I have found to be the most comfortable, long term:

      * Don't just sit there, get up every hour or two and stretch, move around, etc.
      * A slightly

  • Recumbent. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:50PM (#40958645)

    There is good reason modern jet fighters have recumbent seating, and it's not just for G forces.

    I inherited a power recliner and can spend many hours surfing in it with zero discomfort.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      There is good reason modern jet fighters have recumbent seating, and it's not just for G forces.

      I inherited a power recliner and can spend many hours surfing in it with zero discomfort.

      The most comfortable position for your body isn't necessarily the one that's best for your body.

      Standing (or sit-stand) workstations are getting a lot of press as being better for your health:

      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/stand-up-while-you-read-this/ [nytimes.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        Only if you don't bother getting any other exercise throughout the day. If you're the kind of person who gets regular exercise outside of work, you probably won't mind sitting down for a few hours at work. Standing at work is better than sitting at a desk and then walking to your car, sitting in your car, walking to your couch and sitting on your couch. But no amount of standing will make up for real exercise. Also, I remember that last time I had a job where I spend 8 hour days on my feet, I would come
        • False. What the studies are showing is that long periods of sitting are bad for your health EVEN IF you are getting plenty of exercise at other points in the day. The only real solution is either standing desk, or getting up and standing every half hour or so.
  • Apart from the position, it is always do some regular exercise so your muscles can stand your weight better.

    Also, don't forget to move a little (even if it is just goig to the water cooler) once in a while.

  • There's no such thing as a simple answer to this. Yes, you should sit with your back and legs straight - but it turns out that if you encounter any problems, there's no magic way to sit that will solve them.

    This is why good quality office chairs are adjustable in various ways - you're expected to adjust the various bits to suit your own body and what feels comfortable to you.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      This is why good quality office chairs are adjustable in various ways - you're expected to adjust the various bits to suit your own body and what feels comfortable to you.

      And not just once. It's not a matter of buying it and adjusting it "so it's just right for me." If you later start feeling fatigued in some way, you adjust it again. Maybe a few times a day, if it seems necessary. The human body just was not meant to sit upright and tense, arms outward, for long periods of time. Any furniture that's labeled "ergonomic" but isn't adjustable is putting you on.

      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        Good point - extra banana ration, that ape.

        A good office chair - once you adjust it, it'll stay adjusted until you adjust it again.

        A cheap one may not.

        If you've never priced it up before, you will be astonished how much good office furniture costs. While I don't think it's necessary to get silly with how much you spend, I do think it's necessary to spend a bit of money and have something half-decent; it may be expensive but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than having to stop working for a period of time or - w

  • get an interface implant directly to your brain. Wired or wireless, though wired be sure to give your self enough cord to get to the fridge and bath room.

    The downside is you may get sudden mental crashes.

  • Many positions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macman408 ( 1308925 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:56PM (#40958711)

    I have a standing desk. I find it most comfortable to use when I change my position frequently; I'll stand for a while, sit for a while, put my feet up on a cabinet for a while, go back to standing, etc. Half my postures (especially sitting) would probably make an ergonomics expert cringe. But I find it nice to change things up regularly. Sometimes I'm too lazy to stand for long, and I can tell, because my back gets sore. Once I spend a day or two standing more, I feel fine again. But only standing would never be comfortable for me either.

    Maybe if I could be walking on a treadmill... I find walking much more comfortable than standing...

    • Yes, switching positions is the best. I have a 27" monitor mounted on this arm [amazon.com]. I swing it between a standing and sitting position. I cycle through about two hours standing and one hour sitting.

      I have a padded knee/shin brace for the standing position to steady my stance, and make it more comfortable.

      For sitting, I have a recumbent chair, so I am almost laying down when I use it. Most of the pressure is on my back and thighs rather than my butt.

  • swiss ball (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cnastase ( 1504381 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:01PM (#40958759)

    Sit on a ball and get up every hour and walk for 5-10 minutes. We tend to lean somewhat when sitting in a chair, with the ball that's not very handy since you'll lose balance. Also you can bounce and annoy everyone else in the room. I have some back problems and a swiss ball has been strongly recommended for my recovery after a herniated disc surgery. I use it at work. Takes a while getting used to it at first, since the back muscles are lazy due to sitting in chairs, but eventually you'll get there if you really want to. And don't forget to get up and walk every once in a while.

  • Sometimes I sit with one leg folded under my thigh. I got this really nasty kink in my left knee right now. I know it will work itself out in about a day, but I have a temporary limp for the day. Also it cuts off circulation when you fold your foot under your thigh. It is just a bad habit to do.
  • by Tom ( 822 )

    One of the most common causes for problems is a cheap chair.

    An ex-girlfriend of mine had chronic back pains, so we went out and bought her are really good (and really expensive) office chair. I'm not talking leather, I'm talking "they deliver it and an expert adjusts it to you and your desk for optimum comfort".

    It helped a lot. Why wait until your back hurts when you can prevent it?

  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:28PM (#40958901) Homepage Journal

    All positions before upper management or CEO are not best for working long hours.
    Only when you touch top in your company, its best for working long hours because you make lot of money. Lower than that you always get same salary, so no point.
    When you become somebody in top position, its the position to be.
    However, in this particular position, if your position is not the topmost position(i.e. you are the owner), you need to work very long hours in 90 angle position.

    This is how to attain this position
    1. Stand straight, arrow straight
    2. Bend forward 90 degrees, so your lips are facing ground
    3. Now lift neck 90 degrees so your lips can be in perfect position for ass kiss

    This position is best if you are in very good long hour upper management position

    • Or: my boss. Last week, BEFORE taking a week of vacation, she worked about 18 hours. It is not uncommon for her to work 3 and 4-day weeks, and I can't recall the last time she worked more than 35 hours in a week. Now THAT is a comfortable position to be in!
  • I've been a keyboard jockey for many years. It's been my experience that holding any single position for hours at a stretch hurts something -- back, shoulders, wrist, spine, or all of the above. The "best position" is usually "something other than the one I've been in for the past 60 minutes".

    To address this, I recently got a sit-stand workstation [ergotron.com]. I love being able to stand up occasionally while I work. Standing relieves the pressure from my sit bones and legs, and since standing takes more energy I feel

  • Get a Monitor Stand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VernonNemitz ( 581327 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:32PM (#40958943) Journal
    If you can raise your monitor so that you directly face it without leaning or bending your neck downward, this will help you retain a vertical posture, which in turn leads to being comfortable longer. I've built myself a number of monitor stands over the years; all it takes is 3 pieces of wood (some even looked professional, because I bought quality wood). The one I'm at now lifts the monitor about 10 inches off the desk. Your preference may be different, of course.
  • Personally I work best in my hammock, notebook on my lap, head propped up on a pillow, with occasional breaks to run or paddle. Many people look horrified when I tell them about working in a hammock though (isn't it bad for your back!?) and then hit me when I tell them about the rest. ;)

    • I agree... I love hammocks...

      However, the biggest problems with a hammock/beach/dock is that laptop displays still suck in the sun. E-Ink is the closest thing, so far, to a solution. But it's taking them forever to come up with a decent color screen with a good refresh rate and low cost.

  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:38PM (#40958993)
    If you don't move for long periods of time you could cause deep vein thrombosis, and die from blood clots.
  • I've been kind of curious about this idea lately: What if we sat in hot tubs at our desks?

    I predict the buoyancy would reduce the weight supported by our buttocks, so that we would be more comfortable.

    I suspect the pressure of even 24 inches of water would assist in pushing venous blood out of our legs. This would improve our circulation and reduce the chance of blood clots forming.

    In conclusion, desk workers would gain the benefit of at-work hot-tubbing. What could be more awesome?

    In order to avoid

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:46PM (#40959069) Journal
    Most comments here talk about taking breaks to do minor calisthenics to keep the circulation and other minor ailments away. Or about eye strain etc. But one of the most important thing doing the heavy lifting during coding is the brain. And one has to rest and sharpen the brain too. Long hours are brutal on the brain. Brain during waking hours keeps lots and lots of stuff in local temporary memory. These experiences and lessons must be transcribed to long term storage. That happens during the sleep. Continuing long hours without sleep will dull your brain and the code will be buggy. I have my pet theory almost all the bugs are coded in between 1 PM and 3 PM, when the body is digesting lunch and brain wants to go to sleep. So try to work at least a power nap in it. Slogging for long hours without break would lead to very low productivity near the end.

    This is especially true while debugging. Only when you stop looking at code start thinking about something else things work out. Countless number of times, I log out at 5PM to catch the 5:15 trolley, while walking back thinking about "pick dry cleaning, running low on coffee but can last another day, today is karate class day for the kid.." it would suddenly strike me, "wait a minute, in this function I am deleting invalid bodies, but the caller's caller of this function is looping through the body list, that is why the grandparent's loop is crashing in the next increment of the loop index". Such things have happened so many times. I think coding is done in many small bursts of activity with lots of thinking in between. Long coding sessions are not likely to be very productive.

    • I agree that coding is done best with breaks to think about your code in between if it is hard code. They teach you in college that coding is best if you plan it out all before hand. But as I have veterancy now, I think the most important thing to do is architect your data structures right, then you can just sprint along and wing it with the rest of the code. By data structures, I mean your OO classes and memory allocation. If you can architect out your data structures to be sufficient for your project,
  • What Is the Best Position To Work For Long Hours?

    Isn't it obvious? From home, while lounging, with a Cisco 891 router somewhere at home which provides VPN tunnels to the corporate office for voice and data, And of course, with hospital-style trays at various levels and angles suspended over you, to hold your laptop, monitors, keyboard, mouse.

    With of course, various liquid-dispensing tubes (water, caffeine, alcohol), suspended from hospital-style "trees", which you use as needed/justified *grin*.

    I'm not s

  • For a desktop, I recently started using a combination of an ergomoue and a touchpad, in almost an ambidextrous manner. I've always been right handed, but I have started to use the touchpad with my left hand and only fall back to the ergomouse when I need to copy and paste things or need better control than the touchpad will give me. My right arm and shoulder had really been bothering me and this has helped in just a few weeks of use.

    The vertical mouse is a much more natural position than a normal mouse for

  • by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#40959135)

    Step 1: Get a good quality, highly adjustable chair. Lumbar and height adjustments to fit your body are a must. Set your chair to perfectly mimick the natural curves in your lower back, and sit leaning back about 15-25 degrees from upright, with both feet square on the ground in front of you. Don't slouch! Lower the armrests so you can't use them... slouching to the side is tempting and is terrible for your spinal health in the long term. Your monitor screen should be positioned directly in front of you at eye level so you don't have to strain your neck at all.

    Step 2: Stand up and stretch your legs, back, and neck at least once every two hours. I also like to go for a short walk around the office.

    Step 3: Do core strengthening for your lower back 2-3 times per week. It doesn't need to be a complicated ordeal; light calisthenics for 10 minutes will keep you in much better shape than no exercise at all. Bridges, supermans, leg raises, and crunches all factor into my routine, and there are many variations on each so I like to switch it up. My only equipment is one of those inflatable exercise balls. You may want to visit a professional physical therapist to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts.

    Following something like the above plan is almost necessary for anyone sitting long hours in front of a screen each day. For me, with my tall narrow body shape, it is doubly so. I manage to get by with minimal discomfort using this plan. If I get lazy for a few months, sit slouchy and neglect the exercise, I pay with constant discomfort. The difference is huge.

  • Well in my experience, like so many other's here, changing position is the best. I don't have any fancy research to support that with, just the average "geek since age 6, spend pretty much every woken hour by a computer for the past 25 years" background that most people here have. At times I've had back problems or such, and then I've had to get serious about it, changing my position more regularly. When I was tied to a desktop it was the worst, but I found occasionally switching between one of those seat-b

  • That's what I did.

    I got a spare plank of wood left over from some cabinet work in the kitchen, square-ish in size and a bit bigger than my back, and plopped it right between me and my cushion. I can adjust it to a vaguely upright position(good for typing), or reclining according to my mood(browsing, watching videos etc), and I am sure my back is mostly straight rather than curving in to the cushion and going all humped.

    Oh, and I got a smaller cushion for my neck/head. Make sure their is no neck strain, or i

  • Even given the most ergonomic chair, it's unhealthy to sit for long periods of time. Try this: Have your main workstation at a desk with a good chair, and have a separate laptop (to which you can remote into your desktop if necessary) at a height sufficient to stand while you work. Alternate periodically.

    A co-worker has his desk set unusually high, and typically stands at his desk to work. When he gets tired he sits on a bar stool.

  • Get a Swopper [swopper.com]. Expensive, but worth the money. Have heard only good things about it. Forces you to sit 'actively'. Switch the Swopper with standing every once in a while. I'm using a barstool as a poor mans Swopper and it ain't doing my back any good. I'll be getting a Swopper as soon as I can afford one.

    The third option would be a recliner. However, setting up your workplace to be able to type and UI navigate comfortably in a reclined position probably is such a hassle that it is impractical.

  • The hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlienIntelligence ( 1184493 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:53PM (#40959523)

    What the fuck man.

    Ridiculous question.

    At no point in our evolution was it designed for us to sit a long time. Your question has no answer.
    ie, the answer is, what ever position works for you and doesn't kill you.

    I'm sure others have mentioned standing. But... once again... we weren't designed to stand either.
    We are an animal that was expected to be on the move at all times.

    Standing will give you:
    Varicose Veins
    Popped capillaries
    and still even the chance of DVT

    Only thing that can be added, take daily aspirin, 80mg or so, to prevent the stroke you are going to get one day.

    (My wife died from too much sitting. Literally. DVT behind her knee, broke off, went into lung, Pulmonary embolism
    was a result. Upon surgery, part of the clot made its way to her brain. 3 blockages... coma. Few weeks later, and
    I'm a widow. Extenuating circumstance? None that Dr would ever admit to. My consolation prize? Nearly 100 grand
    in stuff the insurance wouldn't cover. )


  • There's more and more research about the benefits of standing - or rather, the harm that comes from sitting.

    I started standing for work four years ago. Only the first couple of weeks were challenging, but I quickly became able to stand for 12+ hours non stop. Granted, I don't stand like a statue; I shift around (but not so much that I look like some freak).

    Within a week of changing from sitting to standing, my lower back problems went away. Those lower back problems developed despite my proper ergonomic

    • After back surgery years ago I cannot stand for long periods at a time, even when I'm relatively fit. I do make attempts to get up regularly and go for short walks. Having a cup of water on my desk (not an entire jug) keeps me up every hour or so - a trip down one hall for relief, then a trip down another hall for fresh H20.

  • I position my desk so that my entire forearm can rest comfortably on the desk surface with upper arms in a mostly downward position. I type with at least one forearm mostly on the table (and use a standard querty keyboard). My monitor sits about even with my eyes.

    I also make a point to drink a LOT of fluids so that I am forced to get up at regular intervals. Humans were not designed to remain in a seated posiiton for long periods at a time.

    Also, no overhead florescents for me - those are off. I have a s

  • The original post mentions tennis elbow and sore neck and shoulders. About 12 years ago I thought I was getting carpal tunnel, and had sore neck, back, and shoulders. Independent of these issues I took up Olympic style weightlifting, and within about three months all the pain issues were gone. At 46 now I'm about 2x as strong as I was at 24. I can not recommend it highly enough, and for the issues mentioned, dead lifts, back squats and front squats would take care everything.
    • by rycamor ( 194164 )

      Ditto here. 46 (male) and even though I thought I was in OK-ish shape a couple years ago, I was starting to get worried about the aches and pains, and my cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate were starting to climb. A few months of basic stuff with dumbbells (dead lifts, squats, power lifting, bench press) and getting rid of most grains and sugars from my diet, and it was like a whole new me. And the weekly (sometimes daily) headaches I was getting disappeared also. Now I don't ever let 48 hours go by

  • This is one of the most important things you should know - independent of any other factors, such as getting regular exercise, etc., sitting for long stretches will increase your chance of a heart attack by 54 percent [yahoo.net].

    * Go for frequent short walks. Go to the water cooler a lot, drink lots, go to the toilet regularly.
    * When you're on the phone, stand.

    Other than that, sit in a good position - shoulders back, arms parallel to the desk, etc.

  • My office has an adjustable, motorized desk. When I work I can sit, or stand. And switching back and forth is good.

    However, please note that you should not maintain any posture static for an extended period of time. Make sure to take micro- and macro breaks, and walk away from the desk every once in a while. This is critical if you do long hours. I would recommend looking into an ergo timer such as the open source Workrave.

  • I've found that the best way is to have several options and vary between them.

    For instance, at my desktop, I've got a keyboard with a trackpoint, a mouse and a trackball.
    I have a chair adjusted for ergonomic sitting, a balance board, a height adjustable desk and the monitors are adjusted for a relaxed, upright neck position.
    I vary between which input device I use and I vary between sitting, standing and standing on the balance board.

  • You can get a standing desk that's is adjustable and allows you to use it with the chair when you want. Stand when you want and sit when you're tired.
  • I can't tell much about placement of hands, screen and keyboard, but there's one type of chair that lets you sit in it for hours without problems - precisely designed for that purpose. Car seats.
    Visit your local junkyard and grab a neat car seat for peanuts (very low demand as replacement part, no valuable components to be recovered, and even getting the metal is a pain, so they cost very little). Screw on some plywood base sticking out backwards so that it doesn't tip over. You may add some more elevation

  • variety (Score:4, Informative)

    by dbc ( 135354 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @06:04PM (#40960257)

    A recent news article (sorry, don't have link) reported that a recent medical study shows that heath risk rises dramatically if you sit for more than 3 hours a day. Wow! Getting under 3 hours a day of sitting is tough to do as an office drone of any kind.

    If you can, get an adjustable desk. My wife has issues (pinched nerve) that caused us to invest in a computer desk with a motorized mechanism to raise and lower the top. It is really slick. My advice would be to sit as little as possible, work standing up as much as possible, and generally have the option of selecting from multiple ergonomically correct work positions. A motorized desk greatly facilitates those kinds of adjustments. We bought a complete desk unit, but after doing that I found that the manufacturer will sell you just the leg/motor/controller parts so that you can slap a custom top of your own onto it. The controller can handle up to 3 legs, so you can do large L-shaped tops and what-not.

    Also, get rid of your visitor chair. If someone needs to talk at the whiteboard, both of you should stand. I bet the meetings will be shorter and more focussed :) Years ago I worked for a V.P. whose personal conference room was arranged with a stand-up conference table and zero chairs. It worked wonders for his schedule -- nobody lingered after the work was done.

  • ...manager

    i could designate work to others all day from home in bed with just a cordless phone, while my wife is in the cowgirl position :)

    a good manager would be a little different
  • by forgottenusername ( 1495209 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @07:34PM (#40960773)

    No position is good to hang out in for hours. You really should take a few little breaks, stretch and get some blood flowing.

    I've always wanted to try some sort of circle desk that you can strap you/laptop into.. work flat on your back, sitting up, roll forward facing down.. always seemed it would feel a lot better than sitting around stationary or just standing up.

  • What Is the Best Position To Work For Long Hours?

    There is no best position to work for long hours since the human body did not evolve to remain stationary for long hours day after day. Whether you work while standing or sitting, being immobile is worst thing you can do to your body.

    Put it another way, your question represents a solution looking for a problem. The thing to do, which has been known for years in the "office space" is to take breaks. Put a timer that goes off every 20/30 minutes. Everytime the timer goes off, get up, rotate your torso and

  • I don't care about the style, hipness or price

    I can sit in that thing all day and be comfortable

  • Drink water... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seifried ( 12921 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:15PM (#40960919) Homepage
    Drink a lot of water and you'll be hydrated (good) and you'll have to get up to go the the bathoom. People can't really make a fuss over that, so you know have an excuse to get up, walk around, stretch, etc.
  • Skip chapters 3, 6 and 7.

  • by ansak ( 80421 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:47PM (#40961057) Homepage Journal

    In 27 years of professional software development I have watched numerous co-workers succumb to various RSIs, require ergonomic keyboards just to be able to bear the pain of working. The one difference I notice between me and these unfortunate folks is this: I avoid using the mouse.

    I use keyboard shortcuts, I prefer a text editor that allows me to do everything including navigating from a standard QWERTY keyboard (in my case, the One True Editor, vim but there are other options -- I've also used BRIEF, OS-9's stylograph and IBM's Personal Editor in my time). Hot-keys, short-cut keys, accelerators, anything that keeps my hands on home row have been my safeguard.

    It's also fair to say that I have been playing piano since I was 5 but I still think that "stay away from the mouse" is the best advice anyone will give you.


  • We didn't have an ass until we lost our tails, so we had to squat on our haunches the way monkeys still do. But now that we have an ass to sit on, that's what I prefer.

  • I both work and play on computers. I sit in the same chair averaging about 14 to 16 hours a day. I've been sitting this long every day for about 15 years and the trouble it causes is no-longer subtle. I even bought a really nice (BodyBilt) chair to try and help my back but after a few years it hasn't helped all that much.

    One of the main ways I've been able to get relief is by alternating between sitting at a desktop, and using a laptop in bed propped up with my elbows. This position tends to reverse th

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