A good power wheelchair means the freedom to work! It can also mean sore shoulders, knotted back muscles and the risk of an expensive over use injury. No worries, though, when you follow these tips for creating an optimum work environment for wheelchair users, or anyone who spends long hours in front of a computer monitor.
The soles of the feet should be flat or tipped slightly toes up. Both feet should be moved forward enough to keep the hips back on the seat cushion and the lower back pushed against the seat back. This position will provide a solid base and help reduce strain in the upper back.
For regular computer users, the arms should be supported. The height of the keyboard should be set so the arms are bent at about a 90 degree angle and the wrist is flat. A split, or “ergonomic,” keyboard will keep the wrists in a more natural position. Many people do well with a gel wrist pad. If workers can learn to swap off using the mouse with both hands, there will be fewer complaints of sore necks and shoulders.
Finally, the center of the computer monitor should be even with the eyes or a bit lower. The neck can handle looking down much better than it can handle looking up! Of course, there is no question that anyone who is on the telephone all day should be using a headset and not a handset.
Remember that people need frequent short breaks and a chance to stretch their limbs. Everyone needs plenty of sunlight and water, especially in an office environment. Master these essential and have fun with the rest of your day. Roll on.