Wednesday, October 04, 2006


What is it about sitting at anybody's desk other than your own that makes you realize how horribly the desk is configured? Right now I am sitting at a workstation that can only be called a travesty. Would it be an exaggeration to say it is the worst thing ever? Yes, but not a big one.

The mouse is way back on the desk and has no slack whatsoever, as its length is used up in its journey around the monitor, to the faraway desk hole, under the desk, and all the way back to the computer tower at my feet. To use the mouse, you must lean forward until your face is practically pressed against the monitor. Amazingly, the mouse has no scroll wheel. When a co-worker took control of my computer to show me where to find a file, she too was shocked at the mouse's immovability.

My phone is to the left of the computer, which means that to dial right-handed I have to awkwardly reach my right arm across my body. Initially the phone was propped up to be nearly vertical, which made dialing on the keypad at the bottom of the phone difficult, but I managed to adjust it so that the phone now reclines at a comfortable angle.

I think this space could be greatly improved if one were to put the phone on the right and use the extra space to slide the monitor/keyboard left, thus freeing up slack for the mouse. But the person who really has this job will be back in two weeks, so this is not my decision to make.

Another incovenience: The networking program interferes with the use of the Alt+Tab shortcut.

It's funny how such a big deal is made of ergonomics, but most workspaces are still arranged with no regard for comfort whatsoever. (Maybe that is why Experts are always making such a big deal about ergonomics.) I know I do my best with my own desk at home, and still fall short in several ways. I suppose that is how it is for everyone, but when you sit down at someone's desk without their awareness of the compromises they've chosen to live with, the flaws are so much more glaring and illogical.

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