Petite Office Ergonomics (and: How Does Your Office Handle Ergonomics?)

ergonomics - employer's responsibilityIf you’re petite and your office desk is too tall for you — enough that it’s causing you pain while you work — how much is your employer required to do to make your desk/chair setup more ergonomic? What if you work at a nonprofit? Reader A asks…

I wonder if you could address what my work place is required to do regarding ergonomics? About a year ago I started a new position where I sit at a desk all day. (For the last 5 years I worked remotely meeting clients 90% of the time.) Since then I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting weird pains in my back, wrists, hips, and neck. I’m just about 5’2″ so my desk is too tall for me, my typing and monitor alignment are all wrong. If I raise the chair to the right height, my feet dangle, and resting them on the chair base caused weird hip pain (and a footrest just wasn’t convenient.) I work for a nonprofit, so buying new office supplies isn’t really at the top of our priority list, but can I request one for health purposes? If not, do you have another suggestion? (I live in Ohio if that matters.) Thanks for the help!

Interesting question, Reader A. We haven’t talked about ergonomics in a little while, and I’m curious to hear what readers think about this, both petite and otherwise. What ergonomic hacks have you used for your office? What help have you gotten from your employer in the matter, whether officially (ergonomics consultant, ergonomics budget) or after the fact (e.g., being able to get a $36 footrest reimbursed)?  

First, though, we asked an expert for his take on Reader A’s situation. Paul Krewson, OTR/L, CEAS III — an occupational therapist, ergonomist, and president of Peak Ergonomics — suggested the following:

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Coffee Break: “Keep it Together” Stapler

kate spade staplerThis ghost stapler from Kate Spade is so, so cool, but it’s going to look horrible on your screen. It is a slightly blinged out ghost stapler: it has a gold plate on it that says “keep it together.” Lovely. The stapler is $28; the brand has a whole suite of ghost accessories. Strike Gold Stapler

Ladies, which are your favorite fun stores and brands for desk accessories? 

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Coffee Break: Agate Office Accessories

Agate OfficeOh yeah. I like these… a lot. So much so that I almost don’t want to post them so I can stalk them until they go on sale. I love the agate (I’m all about the agate right now), the clear plastic, and the general functionality of all of the pieces (except for the platter, which seems really large to be either a coaster or a paperweight, but that is me). Lovely. The pieces are $62-$360 at Bergdorf Goodman. Rab Labs Eiro Desk Accessories & Travessa Platter

I haven’t seen any similar and more affordable desk accessories, but here are two similar bookends.

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How to Organize Your Office

How to Organize Your Office | CorporetteLet’s talk about a subject near and dear to our hearts, ladies: how do you organize your office and your work (or otherwise get things done)? We’ve talked about cute office supplies, the best notebooks, planners, and office padfolios — as well as how to keep notes to CYA — but we haven’t talked about this directly.  Reader A wonders:

I would love to see more articles on the best ways to organize your work in the office, i.e., a folder with separate notes for each project or client v. one notebook for all meetings/projects, how to organize your day or to-do list, how to turn meeting notes into a to-do list, etc. I’d also love some suggestions on day planners, notebooks, and other office supplies.

Fun topic!  Personally, when I was a lawyer, I played around with having a single notebook per case, as well as having one notebook or notepad that I grabbed whenever I was heading out to take notes.  If memory serves I finally settled on a folder system — I would keep one “general” folder with all of my initial notes from prior pleadings and general strategy notes, and then I’d start a new folder for each major assignment I was tasked with (memo, research, portion of a brief, whatever).  I would keep the recent and active folders near my desk in a folder tower (where each case had its own little slot — something similar to what I had is pictured above), and then move them to a filing drawer or redweld once the case was Really Truly Over, or once the assignment got stale enough and I needed more room closest to my desk. (Oh, and I love my label maker.) [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Sweet Pea File Folders

Container Store Sweet Pea File FoldersI’m always a fan of colorful, happy folders — maybe not for submitting things to your supervisor, but they’re great for your own purposes. These navy/yellow/pink folders from The Container Store pretty much ring all of my bells — and they’re only $5.99 for a pack of six. Hooray! Container Store Sweet Pea File Folders

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Professional-Looking Padfolios

Professional Padfolios | CorporetteWhere can you get a great padfolio for the office?  Reader N wonders about a decent padfolio..

I have been searching for a decent padfolio for what feels like ages. It seems like everything out there is clunky and overly masculine. Where can I find a professional, but feminine or at least sophisticated padfolio? Help!

I remember hunting for something similar a few years ago.  I wanted: something zippable and expandable, something that could hold my Blackberry (ah, the late 2000s) if I didn’t have pockets or a belt and suddenly needed to carry a box (or 3) back to my office.  I also wanted something that I could keep “packed” with a notepad, pen/pencil/highlighter, lip gloss, hand cream, business cards, tape flags, and post-it notes and just grab and go.  Also key: I wanted something that looked nicer than a redweld or a Trapper Keeper.  I finally found it at Office Max or Staples, but I remember having to hunt for a while.  If I were looking today, these were the ones that I would choose (below).  Readers, do you use a padfolio at the office?  Whether you’re running to a quick meeting or working away from your office (e.g., in a conference room) all day, what do you grab with you to go? [Read more…]