Why, when the desktop computer has been ubiquitous in most offices since the 1990s, do furniture manufacturers still build desks to specifications that were established in the 1950s?
The ‘standard desk’ is too high for all but the tallest of office workers to use a keyboard correctly while still keeping their feet on the terra firma. In the 1950s such desks were intended for handwriting, reading and impressing others; if you used a typewriter you’d have a special desk, or a return, that was about 66 cm high. There was a reason for that.
For that matter – knowing what we know about ergonomics and the diversity of shapes and sizes in modern society – why does any responsible company still build desks for which the height can’t be adjusted? (Yes, I know, because other companies keep buying them.)
Why do computer manufacturers still make keyboards with little legs at the back, when the best angle for a keyboard is either flat or a slight reverse tilt?
Actually, I know the answer to that one. Early commercial keyboards were designed to mimic the rake of a typewriter in order to ease the transition for typists and improve “acceptance” in the marketplace. Raising the back of the keyboard achieved that end, but at the same time has encouraged users to cock their wrists and – complicating things further – rest them on the desk surface. I wasn’t surprised to read a year or two ago that someone in the States was setting up a class-action lawsuit about this. (Only in America!)
Why would an organisation with a staff ratio of two women to every man invest in a chair model that only properly fits people with thigh bones the length of Lance Armstrong’s?
Just wondering, that is all.