Are you an 'Innee' or an 'Outee' ?

Are you an 'Innee' or an 'Outee' ?

  • Les Miklos

As kids at the swimming pool we used to look at each other's belly buttons and marvel at how some seemed to go in and some seemed to push out.Those were days of wonder when  everything was fresh, anything seemed possible and the summer stretched on endlessly like a dream.

Now we work in offices, things aren't quite as fresh and summer is nowhere near long enough. However one thing hasn't changed. Some of us are 'innees' and some of us are 'outees'. I'm not suggesting we look too closely at each other's navels. That could lead to misunderstandings. But I am suggesting that people working in offices divide into two camps. The ones who when seated, prefer to sit back from their worksurface and the ones who prefer to sit closer.

Look around your office and you will see some people using keyboard arms that stick out further and that are set a little lower than the worksurfaces they are attached to. Other people will be seated closer to their desks with their keyboards sitting on their worksurfaces. Now look at your own work area. Are you in the 'outee' camp or the 'innee' camp? 

Like belly button configuration, neither seated preference is right or wrong as long as it respects basic ergonomic guidelines for computer work:

  • wrists should be in a neutral position at 90­­° to shoulders for mouse / keyboarding
  • set monitor height to the area of the screen where the eyes most often focus 
  • keep monitor distance at arm's length or more
  • chair height should allow the feet to rest flat on the floor
  • change position often
  • alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day

Unfortunately, unlike belly button configuration which is more or less random, office configuration usually is not. Most office furniture manufacturers in North America have adopted an office worksurface height  of 29-30" (75cm) as a standard and that tends to favour the 'outee' camp by a large margin. Why is that?

For many people, a 29" high worksurface is too high for proper wrist positioning. The solution adopted overwhelmingly in North America is to accessorize worksurfaces with keyboard arm/tray combinations that allow for proper wrist heights. But this also wastes space, increasing the footprint of the work area by pushing the keyboard out in front of the desk. And it frustrates the  'innees', many of whom choose to remove the keyboard arms and do their keyboarding on their worksurface at a less than optimal ergonomic height.

How to accommodate your office 'innees' ? 

European manufacturers have one solution. They tend to build workstations with a lower worksurface height. As well as being better suited ergonomically, this design saves expensive space by reducing the workstation footprint because keyboard arms are often not necessary. 

Short of replacing existing furniture, a possible solution in North American offices is to lower the worksurface below 29" if the installed furniture system allows for that adjustability. 

Here is a lineup of products we offer to suit each of the the two camps

For the Innees:

For the Outees:

 

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