It used to be my kids that introduced me to new words. My son’s friends new mobile is ‘dope’. Apparently. According to urbandictionary.com this means ‘something that is cool‘. Which is vastly different to it’s meaning when I was at school. Urbandictionary’s definition of ‘agile’ is: ‘a generalised term for a group of anti-social behaviors used by office workers to avoid doing any work while simultaneously giving the appearance of being insanely busy.’
So I did my own research on agile working, and this included taking a look at co-working office space, which there has been proliferation of in recent years. It seems Urbandictionary’s definition was spot on. There’s lots of pictures of cool funky interiors, pool tables, even beer being served and consumed, but not a lot of people working. I’m in the wrong job!
But what this piece is really about is the need to consider ergonomics for agile workers. Most employers now provide their most valuable asset with at least the basic requirements in seating, monitor stands, footrests etc as necessary in their office. But there seems to be a large vacuum in the correct equipment for those for whom work is an activity, not a place.
We now have people working on a laptop at their kitchen table, writing reports sitting on a train, and making casual use of co-worker office space as they need it.
Laptops, notebooks, call them what you will are a convenience tool, designed to be used for brief tasks that can’t wait until you get back to the office. But the office is disappearing, and with them the correct ergonomics we all need to work pain free. If you’re using a laptop for long periods, adapt them to work for you. Or at least, not working against you. Your head weighs approximately 5 kilos, and the small muscles in your neck and shoulder just don’t have it in them to hold that weight for long. Ensure it stays on top of your shoulders, where it was designed to be.
Make sure your seated at a desk, avoid working in the car. Take it into McDonalds if you must (other temporary desk/coffee facilities are available).
Use a portable laptop stand. Ergonomic Cafe have a terrific range of stands that fold as flat as the brochure for your next company car and weigh less than a match box.
Use a separate keyboard.
If your using co-working spaces consider what you really need from one. There’ll be a pub nearby; an adjustable monitor arm and a quality chair at the desk your paying for will provide far greater benefit while you work than a pool table.