Saturday, 16 February 2013

Lying down desk

The future of work will continue to involve interaction with a computer workstation (potentially until such time as the concept of work becomes obsolete). Most offices give employees a regular desk, keyboard, mouse and monitor setup. Progressive employers offer a few more options, but often these are actually worse for the worker from a posture and RSI point of view.

The ideal workplace needs to have multiple different types of workstation, that employees change between during the day. These could include:
  • Kneeling chair/chair/stool/exercise ball, desk, keyboard, mouse, monitor
  • Standing-height desk, keyboard, mouse, monitor (or Minority-Report-style holographic screen + standing)
  • Couch/armchair/beanbag with monitor on an adjustable arm (like a balanced-arm lamp) and wireless keyboard
  • Treadmill desk
  • Cycling desk
  • Lying down desk
There are a couple of lying-down-desk products around, but they tend to be holders for laptops, resulting in awkward arm positions. What would be ideal is a monitor on adjustable arm (like a balanced-arm lamp), that can be positioned directly overhead (or at a different angle if preferred). And then two half-keyboards that go one each side of the body (by the top of the thigh). This way the arms are almost entirely at rest.

All of this is possible with existing technology. The ideal is to have desktop virtualisation that allows workers to move their logical workstation quickly and easily between all these positions.

Potentially, the number of positions will reduce as voice-recognition supercedes keyboard input. However, the need for a pointing device (mouse or finger) is like to remain for quite a while (potentially to be replaced by eye tracking).

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