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Ultimate Office Setup/staying healthy

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by digibucc, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. digibucc

    digibucc

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    First,
    I'm not sure if system builders was the best place - It's not really a project or general hardware. I could not figure out where to put it so if it has to be moved , np, and sorry :)


    I, like a lot of you I'm sure - work on a computer all day long , in addition to playing on a computer all night long :)

    For the time being at least, most of my time is spent in front of this thing. And I enjoy it.

    But spending that much time in front of a computer can cause problems. General health, ergonomics, eyesight, etc. There are general tips for office workers all over the net, but for people like us that can easily spend well over 10 hours in front of a computer in a given day -

    • What tricks have you found to keep healthy and comfortable?
    • What does your office setup look like?
    • What chair/type of chair do you use?
    • what custom mods to your desktop area/office have you done to make it better?

    I'm looking for any and all tips/ideas/thoughts on creating a perfectly comfortable and functional office setup.

    I make sure to get up for at least 10 minutes every hour or so. to stretch and walk the dog a few times a day. when we get back into summer i go rollerblading with the dog, which is fun:) Other than that basic ergonomics.

    I screwed up my shoulder in Basketball a few years back, and still have not fully recovered, this causes me many problems most people don't have to think about. just sitting in the wrong type of computer chair for an hour can put me in pain for the rest of the day.

    post pics of your area, and anything else relevant.

    my workspace:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    as is seen, I don't use a regular office chair anymore. I tried to find a smaller recliner,but the desk was big enough that even a big one fits in there well. It works pretty decent, and I tried to velcro/zip tie different things under the desk, like a usb hub, and the keyboard wires are fixed to the desk so they don't get wrapped in my legs or anything.

    obviously with a chair with no wheels, I have to get into the chair, not sit on it. it takes more effort and I am sure it will get more difficult as I get older :) but for now it works well for the amount of time i sit in front of this thing. I had a considerably top-line office chair but after about half a day it got bad. with my shoulder/back problems this has worked the best...

    so, any suggestions/ideas? It's a lot better now than my old setup just 2 months ago, but I think there is still room for improvement and I want some ideas! i'm not very original or creative for the most part, so help!
  2. SnoopKatt

    SnoopKatt

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    Not a bad setup. Just use a setup that you find comfortable. For typing, just make sure you're in a setup where your elbows are slightly above your hands. A pad for resting your wrists isn't a bad idea either. Just make sure your chair is high enough (or your desk is low enough).

    Keep taking the breaks. If you don't, you'll surely end up with hand problems.
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  3. digibucc

    digibucc

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    no one does anything like this?
    not important enough?
    or wrong section?

    I assumed there would be more people who decked out their office area as well, not jus ttheir rigs.
  4. SnoopKatt

    SnoopKatt

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    We're all putting our money into our rigs, not our desks :p
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  5. TIGR

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    Digibucc, a good and important topic. A powerful computer can't be fully appreciated in the wrong environment, and homo sapiens didn't evolve in a lifestyle of sitting around computers all day, so the impact on mind and body has to be considered.

    1. I change it up, going between desktop and laptop, which means changing the room I'm in, the keyboard and mouse, my posture and the chair in which I sit, and the monitor. Staying in one position too long just doesn't do one a lot of good. My desktop is in a temporary setup, with monitor on a card table and with me sitting in a folding chair. :laugh: Not ideal. With the laptop, I usually sit in a recliner. I make sure to look out the window often, and get up frequently, play with the dog, make some food, work out, go outside for some target shooting, whatever.

    2. With the laptop I'll probably always be in the chair.

    Desktop, however, is going to the basement. I'm setting up a studio down there for recording music, for photography, and as my "computer room" and computer building area. My main rig and Folding@home rig will be in a different room (I'll be using KVM extenders). Noise is a very important consideration; noise does wear a person down over time (which is why I also have gone to great lengths to sound deaden my car). Fortunately, since the computer area will double as a recording area, the room will be built for quiet, including sound absorbing acoustic foam, and with the computers located in another room, the noise problem is eradicated.

    Lighting is also very important. Humans evolved under sunlight, not light bulbs. That's why 5500k "daylight" or "full spectrum" bulbs seem natural to us; 5500k appears white to our eyes as it is the approximate color of sunlight on a summer afternoon. So lighting as close to 5500k as possible, and with a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) if using fluorescents, is a wise choice. One must also take care in choosing lighting fixtures, as some fluorescents have an audible drone/buzz.

    Keyboard and mouse typically feel most comfortable/natural at a level that puts your elbows at a 90-degree angle. The card table I currently use puts mine too high. Changes my entire posture. Having the main monitor set so its center is at eye level is about ideal too. I have mine on top of a dictionary and a couple other thick books to get it up there. :laugh: Chair ... well the ergonomics "experts" have their opinions but I think whatever you're most comfortable with.

    3. My current chair for the desktop is, like I said, a folding chair. Not much cusion but a little bit. Not ideal. The recliner I sit in with the laptop isn't ideal either, as it is too soft and provides no lumbar support. Sometimes I just lie down on my stomach on a futon mattress with the laptop in front of me, but that's not comfortable for too long; the main thing is changing it up.

    4. Mods aren't done yet, but first for the desktop setup in the basement I intend to get an actual office chair, something cushioned but firm, good lumbar support, etc. I'm replacing the drop ceiling with one built to both block and absorb sound. Light fixtures will be four fluorescent fixtures that hold four 48" bulbs each, and the bulbs will be 5500k with a 93 CRI. The basement setting is unfortunate since I won't have a window to look out, but it's the best option for me. About half of the walls will be covered in acoustic foam, and there will be carpet (often this is not advised for a recording area as it can make the sound too "dead," but I'll be compensating in other ways). One wall will also be painted as a projector screen, for watching movies, etc.

    Much of this is probably not quite hitting the main focus of your questioning on the topic, but I hope some of it helps. The right environment can enhance the computing experience considerably.
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  6. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    About lighting: TL bars are the worst for a room you're constantly in. They all flicker, even if it is very slightly, on the AC frequency.
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  7. Fourstaff

    Fourstaff Moderator Staff Member

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    Beautiful setup you have there! I always keep my laptop on the table, as long as I dont feel strain I think I am allright. As much as I can, I would get the hard wooden chair, not the most comfortable but it wouldn't give you back problems either. And I sit so far forward that only half of my butt is on the chair.
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  8. DRDNA

    DRDNA

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    One of the key things I do for Carpal tunnel prevention is I keep my elbows to my wrist on the desk at all times when using the mouse or keyboard.

    At work I am on the 6th floor so I always use the stairs when going up!

    At work I do push-ups and Dips and crunches while I am on my brakes!

    At home when watching any movies (which is AWAYS on the PC as I have not owned a TV in over 18 years) I walk on the tread mill at least 3 miles an hour.
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  9. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    if i were you i would invest in a really nice and expansive desk. put the desk i a corner AWAY from window light. that has to kill your eyes staring at all those monitors and then having the bright windows right behind them. in fact, eliminate all light and just put in a few nice stand lamps that have those directional swivel head things so you can adjust where you want the light. put in those soft 60 watt bulbs to help diffuse it. unless you are working on graphics turn your brightness on your monitors WAY down. this has helped me avoid headaches. get a high end erganomic chair. you may have to spend $1000 on it BUT IT IS WORTH IT! you will never have to buy another chair again and your neck and back will thanks you! finally, get a yoga matt :laugh:i know this sounds silly but you can actually do some pretty good stretches to avoid things like carpal tunnel.
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  10. digibucc

    digibucc

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    it(yoga) does sound silly to some people but that is actually one of the things i do. at least 2x a day I stretch my back and arms, as well as doing my anti-carpal exercises my phys. ther. taught me.

    as for the window, it does bother me but I never really put two and two together. most often I just shift to the side so the monitor covers it (not a solution, obviously) that is a good consideration.

    I get exercise, at least enough that keeps me generally healthy. I'm lazy but it's important so I have no choice!

    and with an expensive chair - I am more than willing to spend a lot of money on it, it's my health - every day! but I can't justify spending it without sitting in one to test it. I don't know where to go to do that. I've been to staples/etc , as well as actual furniture stores. but the crazy cool computer setups that have you semi-inverted - look comfortable, but I want to sit in one first and don't know where/how.

    thanks for the tips guys... keep em coming :)
  11. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    I have these gloves to battle carpal tunnel, and I have to say they take the strain off quite well.
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  12. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    Good topic... you're not alone!

    Everyone is different, but some general suggestions:

    1. Posture... mix it up. Try standing or moving to a different location from time to time. Many developers I've worked with in the past stand and sit. Some like standing only. I surf the net and work sometime on a laptop from my couch, legs up and even watch TV at the same time - it's just more comfortable.

    2. Eyestrain - move your monitor as far away from your face as possible.

    2. Chair... spend good money on a GOOD chair. It's the thing holding you, your back and neck up for all those hours.

    That's all I got for now.
    digibucc says thanks.

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