This morning, it gives me great pleasure to share the writing of my friend, Sue Vincent. Fellow blogger, one of the directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, owned by the canine, Ani (a novelist in her own right!) – and general good egg, Sue is one my my favourite people. Enjoy this (as I know you will) and then click on the link for more! (https://scvincent.com)
Avoiding the slouching that causes back pain and bad posture has to be up there at the top of the list for any computer-user. In the office environment, one expects the employer to provide adequately ergonomic workstations, complete with adjustable chairs and, if necessary, footrests. In the home however, this becomes your responsibility.
And, for all those bloggers who come in more compactly designed packages, this is a problem.
Take myself. At a mere five foot nothing (there used to be an extra half inch, but it appears to have migrated to somewhere less useful for breeding purposes) there is a delicate balance to be attained…usually on the edge of my chair.
This particular computer chair, a gift from a friend to the seat of literary inspiration, as it were, is the most comfortable of chairs. It is padded, it has arms, is adjustable… both up and down and forward and back… and it tilts for those moments of contemplation when the ceiling becomes more inspiring than the screen. Perfect.
My desk is a beautiful affair with thick panels of oak, a spacious top, drawers and a kneehole space for working close to the keyboard. Into this kneehole a small dog inserts herself as footwarmer. It is the perfect, writerly set up.
Then I insert me.
I began by setting up my chair to the perfect height. Feet on the ground, back straight, armrests at the ready… Only to find my hands were a foot too low for the keyboard.
I started again, this time, working back from the problem. Hands level with the keyboard… check. Seat raised and foot-high footrest added… check. But my knees were now up against the front of the oak, holding me too far away from the desk to type.
Back to the drawing board.
By lowering the seat so I could get the knees in the kneehole and accepting that the armrests were to be abandoned, I could reach the keyboard. Granted, my arms sloped upwards at around forty degrees… with the hands at around eighty and drained of blood… but I could still touch the floor. At least with a toe.
The footrest, at this point, is way too high and cuts off all circulation from the knee down by squishing the front of said knees against the underside of the desk. The backrest may as well not be there at all and, if I dispense with the footrest in order to restore some blood to my nether appendages, the circulation is cut off behind the knees by the edge of the chair while my feet dangle in the void.
I have tried adding a booster cushion, but then I can’t reach the footrest, let along the floor. I have tried to get the dog to stay still in a half-crouched position, but found it impossible to type whilst holding the slice of ham that was the only thing that kept her transfixed for long enough.
I have, however, found a solution.
It is not pretty. Nor is it precisely ergonomic.
- Raise the seat up to its full height so that the keyboard becomes accessible. Though still requiring the upward slant of the hands, the elbows can now balance on the extremities of the armrests.
- Draw the chair as close to the desk as possible, leaving no room for legs.
- Use the footrest as a step to actually climb onto the chair in its newly elevated position.
- Assume lotus position.*
*Please note that the author accepts no responsibility if it takes three strong men to untangle you. Please also note that this is not recommended for anyone who wishes to be able to actually walk again for the next several days.
It is, however, excellent for maintaining correct posture.