Work Spaces & Ergonomics

June 28, 2010

Man, going from a laptop to a desktop presents all sorts of chaos! I can’t find email on this computer because duh, it’s on the other one. And I can’t access this and that software because duh, I don’t have the license for it to pop it onto this machine too. I mean hello! This is a pain! Thing is, ever since my doctor gave me an ergonomic lecture I’ve been working on my posture, doing all sorts of pretzel-like poses on my floor mat, and working at a real desk vs. anywhere I can open my laptop and start beating on the keys. No, I must work at a proper desk with a proper chair and with my eyes 18-24″ from the screen. BUT IT IS HARD. SO HARD. I want to blog in all rooms, anytime, anywhere, legs folded, crossed, standing, sitting… And I can’t.

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

I could not, would not, on the couch
I would not, could not, I may slouch
I would not type stuff on a stool.
I would not cos it just ain’t cool.
I would not blog stuff here or there
I would not blog just anywhere…

Funny thing about all of this is that I studied ergonomics as part of my job in Human Resources back in the day as I needed to schedule assessments for certain employees who I observed to be working in a way that would eventually transform them into slumped over groaning in pain employees. My job was to nip it before it grew into an issue. And now, years later, I’m the problem employee and my doctor is trying to change my evil blogging from anywhere ways. Go figure.

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

As I moved furniture around in my living room until midnight last night trying to create a workspace, I thought about all of those that I’ve seen or featured on decor8 before that have inspired me and other workspaces that I’ve not shared before that rock my world. Perhaps you will like these spaces, and if you are blogging from your sofa, kitchen table, or on some pouffe or stool perhaps you will think it over and read up on ergonomics and consider ways in which you can work more properly. Ways that will make you feel better and even look better because good posture does a lot for a person, doesn’t it? Here is a good ergonomics guide to get your started.

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

Work Spaces & Ergonomics

A simple day set aside to access and organize your room can work magic. It did for me… now if only I could figure out how make my move from the laptop to desktop easier!

(images: house to home with permission by Claire Toms.)


  • Reply Torrie @ a place to share... June 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Yes…the double edged sword of the laptop. I say that as I sit here (if you call what I am doing “sitting”) on my sofa, with my new laptop…having been “glaring” at the screen since the early morning hours. Perfect tips~perfect timing~imperfect posture (if I don’t change my MANY ‘unergonomic’ ways:).

    Seriously, thank you for sharing this Holly!

  • Reply Piper (DailyDivaDish) June 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Although I do work at a desk, from the diagram it looks like I still need to make a few adjustments. Love the photos of these work spaces, especially the second one with pops of turquoise.
    XO Piper

  • Reply Ludmila {} June 28, 2010 at 11:36 am

    ugh, I have the same problem! Although I have a home office with chair and desk, I can’t avoid grabbing my laptop and doing everything on the couch or bed or dining table – elsewhere except where I SHOULD do it! definitely must change this, so I think you are a motivation (at least I’ll think you are, hope it helps). have a great week, Holly! oh and by the way the ergonomic guide is what I needed! xoxo

  • Reply juliette June 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    commenting in shame from the chaise lounge… In fairness, my office was too hot to work in today….really! =P

    Good reminder though. I’m dying for a new desk chair!

  • Reply Christine June 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I totally just adjusted by desk at work… though I’ll admit sometimes I wish I was at home on the couch!!

    Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Reply Traveling Mama June 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I am so happy to see this post! I have spent the last two days daydreaming and seeking inspiration for a new desk and craft area. I need space saving ideas that are still beautiful and functional… which is asking a lot, but I am determined!! Now, if we can just get the apartment we want then we can get started!

  • Reply kristin jo June 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Holly, I am so glad you brought this issue up! I have seen lots of beautiful workspaces on the blogs that are SO not ergonomic.

    My clever mom alerted me to the importance of ergonomics years ago — she was a typing teacher. She cut off a few inches on the legs of her desk at home so the keys were at the right height for typing. Proof that you don’t need to spend a lot of $$$ to have a safe workstation.

    Laptops do present special challenges but you can get a docking station, monitor etc for when you are in the office.

    I lift light weights/high reps 2-3 times a week and that helps a lot.

  • Reply Nuit June 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    uufff!!! the second desk image with that absolutely gorgeous wallpaper is driving me crazy, I LOVE it!!!

  • Reply Adriana JzV June 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Ha! You are so right! I must admit my go to place when blogging is my bed in company of my laptop: nice & cozy. “It’s only for 10min” I convince myself, and before I realize I’ve spent the whole afternoon slouching… and then I wonder where that back ache came from! I think I should really really click on that ergonomics guide link! ;) Thanks!

  • Reply Shones June 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for this. I spend way too much time on my laptop, and usually it is at a desk or table, but I struggle with really getting comfortable. Any word on the use of one of those big exercise balls as a chair? I haven’t tried it yet…

  • Reply sideoats + scribbles (Lisa) June 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Holly! Here’s what I do — I have a monitor all setup in place and all proper and ergo-like, but I plug my laptop into the monitor. Then when I can’t stand being at my desk, I can unplug the laptop and voila! I only let myself do this once in a while, but just knowing that it’s possible is so great! And then you only need install the software on one machine, too. :)

    AND! I must add that I am swooning over that yellow chair. LOVE.

  • Reply Shelley June 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Holly.

    I, too, was given this lecture by my physical therapist when I started having back, neck and shoulder pain (not to metion associated tension headaches). Fixing the laptop problem really only involved an external keyboard and a few books stacked to bring the screen to eye level. You can still use it as a laptop when on the road (or watching a movie in bed!), as long as the bulk of your typing/computering is done properly.

    Good luck and feel better!

  • Reply Kristan June 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for the ergonomic tips! I’m definitely an offender at home, although my workplace situation is pretty good. I’m gonna check out that guide you linked to and see what I can do. Doubt anything I come up with will look even half as good as some of these pictures… but you know, you do what you can! :P

  • Reply Amber Jordan June 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    In my “past life” I was an Ergonomic Coordinator and Designer. I made several assessments a week. The best tip I have is to always have your back against the chair. Let the chair do the work to support your back. A simple angled footrest helps force your back against the chair and is a great “reminder” to sit up straight, even if your feet hit the floor. I love my beautiful workspace and grin and bear my ugly but ergonomic chair to go with it. The smallest things can make a huge difference! I also agree with Kristin Jo above..light weight work outs and stretching/yoga can do wonders to prevent and relieve common desk ailments. Great post!

  • Reply Wendie June 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I love the map of England and Wales, do you know where i could purchase?

  • Reply Brigitte June 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I’m so guilty of this…although I have a good setup at work.

    And I’m about to list my desk! shamed.

  • Reply Mary Grace Thomas June 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I recently had to remove the screen part of my laptop and put the keyboard/CPU part on a desk with a regular monitor.

    It has forced me to use my desk – one of my favorite pieces in my home. I have decorated it with lots of art and trinkets that I love to look at. So, it has made being less mobile/comfortable actually doable!

    Great post!

  • Reply Lizzie [Ten Thou Bride] June 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I LOVE all those spaces! I agree…it really breeds inspiration to have a great workspace…I never thought about ergonomics before, but it’s definitely an interesting topic, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Ani June 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for this. I think it’s a sign that you wrote this today, truly. Just last night, in the middle of the night, in pain, I was thinking that my situation is serious. I have been sitting badly for years and years without realizing it and think I’ve done some real damage to my neck. I’m very anxious about it and terrified to have it checked. I’m thinking chiropractor. And thanks for the links. Now if I could only be brave and face the situation.

  • Reply Pam June 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I wouldn’t mind working in any of these offices. The colors are inviting and there is no clutter!

  • Reply The Design Dish June 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I love lovely desks!!!!
    The Design DIsh

  • Reply The Design Dish June 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This is great! Love it!
    The Design DIsh

  • Reply Sally@DivineDistractions June 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I feel you pain. I hate working on two computers….well, actually, I love working on two computers, I just hate that I don’t have the same thing on both of them! I’m probably going to get that lecture on posture as well. So it’s either a straight back or blogging…not sure we can have both!

  • Reply Amanda June 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I LOVE that chalkboard calendar!

  • Reply the green gal June 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    What perfect timing! This weekend I moved into my new studio – I’ve gone from half a desk in the spare room to a whole space at the end of the garden. The pics you’ve featured here show some really beautiful spaces, I’ll be studying them when I’m thinking about how to decorate and organise my space. I already know I need more turquoise in the room but I also need to keep the white walls so the room is as light as possible.
    If you’d like to see what my new studio looks like (and I’d love opinions on it too) you can see it here

  • Reply Courtney June 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post sang to me!! After working from the couch miserably for months, I decided to rearrange my desk to a different room in our place. It has changed my world, now it’s difficult to unglue me from my new workspace. If you’re struggling with this, I highly recommend mixing things up to find the right, comfortable space where you feel inspired. I now get to overlook the Puget Sound from my new spot. Who wouldn’t feel inspired staring out at such a beautiful view?!?

  • Reply Sue June 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Sitting here commenting from my laptop on the couch, rather than go into my desktop and sit up straight!

    Love the desks featured above! Wish I could find a pretty chair that is good for your posture – so hard to find a nice one. That yellow chair in the first pic is sooo nice! Wonder where it comes from..

  • Reply Laura (youngDCliving) June 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Ergonomic chairs make SUCH a huge difference when you’re working at a desk for hours on end. My university put in a new library and generously put in a bunch of them and I would never get uncomfortable—even after studying for hours and hours.

  • Reply michella June 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I LOVE all these white chairs. I’ve been looking everywhere for amazing white chairs, they are so hard for me to find!

    know what you mean about wanting to sit anywhere while using the laptop. so horrible about that myself.

  • Reply pilgrim June 28, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    oh holly. i feel your pain! my excuse is too much sunlight at my desk = hard to see the screen. also, too much laziness to get off the couch haha. and sitting cross legged folded up on the couch is sooo comfy and pretzel like!

  • Reply Stacey June 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I immediately sat up straight when i started reading your post:-). Of course, i’m reading it from my couch and from my laptop with a not so desirable posture. However, i love those beautiful work spaces that facilitate a better posture and a healthier way to use the computer.

  • Reply Jen June 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I don’t think I could do it. Forgo my laptop I mean. Tidying up my work room would be hard too…probably because I’m never in there as I’m all around the house with my laptop. Hmmm.

  • Reply Lovelyfreckles June 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    WHERE, WHERE, WHERE can I buy delicious polka dot wallpaper EXACTLY like the one in the 2nd pic??? It makes my hear flutter, race, & swoon all at the same time.

  • Reply Leigha June 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Ah, the dead giveaway of a blogger – wilted posture! We are all so guilty of wilting over couches, ottomans, coffee tables, ironing boards (I know, I know), counters, beds (why blog if not to do it in pajamas?!?), etc.

  • Reply essential June 29, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I like that desk lamp in the photo that is on the left hand side of the 2nd row from the bottom – the lamp that is white with a big brown handle. Does anyone know what brand is it or where I can get it? TIA

  • Reply Ewelina June 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I really like wall decorations on those pictures! Lovely wallpapers and otherwise great retro interiors.

  • Reply Jutta June 29, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Oh ergonomics! I work at a desktop but still have the problem. It’s so difficult to remember to sit up straight etc etc. Especially since I have my wacom tablet in front of the keypad so every time I type my hands are in the wrong position. I know I should do something or else I’m looking at an early retirement. But it’s so difficult, don’t you think… sigh…

    BTW Jamie Shelman just did a great illustration on the subject, called t-rex posture :D

  • Reply Glenda June 29, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Love that adorable mug . . . love the poem . . . and hate it that I really should stop working with my computer on my lap (as I am doing right now.)

    Happy transition to a healthier computer time.

  • Reply Hayley Blease June 29, 2010 at 7:00 am

    well I must say I am glad you are not looking at me right now! I have been writing and slouching away on my chair that is way too high for the computer. But it looks good; love my space!!

  • Reply nancy monsebroten June 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Boy, that posture thing needs constant attention. I have been a potter for 30 years thus I find myself bending down alot. The last few years Yoga has helped me alot!
    I am sitting here at my computer trying to remain straight at the same time loving that I am here in my P.J’s. My computer repair guy was just here and informed me that my chair was way to low!!! So your feature came at a perfect time to be inspired to improve.

  • Reply Claire June 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I love the mug in the first image – anything with chairs is fantastic! I would definitely use this mug all day, every day.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente June 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Cutie pie! I love your little Seussian rhyme! :) So sorry you are going through that, these spaces are all lovely!

  • Reply EscapePod June 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’m still searching for the ultimate setup. The laptop has its own particular set of pros and cons, as does the bulky desktop model. Ugh.

  • Reply Carol@The Design Pages June 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Thank you for that reminder as I sit on my sofa slouched in a ball. I feel my back hurting but still don’t move. I need to get a desk!!!

  • Reply Erin @ Letter Soup June 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for this post! I’m rapidly developing a wrist problem since I started blogging four months ago. I think I need to study these resources asap!

  • Reply bussbuss June 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve been struggling with this too, to the point of my entire right side tingling and “falling asleep” one late night of working (um, for a hypochondriac like me, I thought I was having a stroke!) and then my face having that tingling feeling for more than a year after – scary.

    Anyway, it’s so hard to find a non-ugly ergonomic chair — plus ergo chairs are always so expensive. But I suppose it’s worth it (less than multiple visits to the doctor and chiropractor anyway)!

  • Reply Tee June 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I feel your pain Holly! I love being able to use my laptop all over the place. The bad part is that I have a little wrist problem now, so the doctor is definitely right. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I actually sat my laptop on a table or something, but I choose to sit it on my lap while reclining lol Thanks for sharing this!!

  • Reply Holly of So Chic Decor June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling the pain! Now that I’m doing more home decor projects, I have had more back pain than normal! I happen to live in a smaller apartment and I have taken over the basement for my craft room. Since I’m starting out and working on some bigger projects, I happen to be kneeled over on the floor working….this doesn’t do my back any good! It’s definitely important to be aware of your ergonomics, even if it may be hard.

  • Reply Bridgette at Picked Fresh Daily June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    my posture has totally gone to pot since i got my laptop. I guess i better start shopping for a new comfy desk chair!

  • Reply Tiffany June 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Oh so many ideas, I love them all, inspires me to do something about my tired desk, i think a revamp is in order.

  • Reply juliet June 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Oh my gosh, as I read the words “slumped over” I automatically straightened up. haha! I sit on my bed to work on my computer (about 4-6) hours an evening and your post just made me realize that I am slumping. Badly! Hopefully, this post along with the vision of little old ladies that can’t walk upright should help me straighten up!

  • Reply Alicia (Atypical Type A) June 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Ugh! It annoys me so much when I see beautifully styled offices that have completely impractical chairs. It’s fine if you only use it only occasionally, say for paying bills, but if you spend a significant amount of time at your desk, you definitely should have a proper chair.

    I have a Very Boring Grey Office Chair. I would LOVE to replace it with something prettier, but not if it is bad for me. It’s tough finding something that fits my motto: Pretty but practical.

  • Reply tiina { sparkling ink } June 30, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I know exactly what you mean. I have had issues with my shoulders and neck for a few years now, and the doctor ordered me to go to physical therapy. Working in the right position is so important for us who work at the computer all day (and sometimes all night) long! What a lovely set of office inspiration pictures. Got inspired to redo mine a bit! Hugs!!

    P.S I’m so excited to follow your book project – all the best with it. It’ll be amazing for sure!!

  • Reply Harpa June 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

    oh yum yum to all of this!

  • Reply Sofia June 30, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Oh my God I read this post and it seems the story of my life! I can’t find a proper way to work without getting too comfortable and at the same time with a horrible posture:/
    And by reading the comments before mine and listening to friends, this is a common problem among users of laptops. It has so many advantages but we seem to use it in such a wrong way:/

    The images are lovely! And they come in a good time for me because I’ve just bought a 2nd hand desk thinking about organizing my workspace after college and going into the real adult work life:p

  • Reply jenn July 1, 2010 at 8:12 am

    We all know it’s bad… but it’s just so darn easy to sit on the sofa or in a nice big comfy chair and type away. I’m SOOO guilty. I typed my entire masters thesis proposal on my laptop on my couch (slapping myself). I even have a desktop, but like you I hate that my files are not all easily accessible from both computer. I think if I had leopard on both of the macs I could make it work… but my imac is too old for it :-(. My mom just bought a new macbook with a large monitor and she hooks it up to that (like another reader wrote) and she loves that setup. I think that’s going to be my next move.

    Thanks too for the inspiring interiors! It makes me want to revamp my desk area!!!

  • Reply Melissa February 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you very much for these! I really do need to read this! I am starting to have backpain now because of the way I sit, it’s a good thing I came across this post. Will be reading about ergonomics now.

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