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Ergonomics on the Go: Creating a Safe, Functional Mobile Office

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
By Anne Kramer

As advancements in technology make it increasingly easier to work from anywhere, more and more people choose alternative working arrangements. Now, employees can work from anywhere, including their cars. With attention to ergonomics, these mobile offices can be safe, productive places to work. These three simple steps ensure a functional and injury-free mobile office.

  1. Convert the passenger seat into usable work space. The passenger seat is the most accessible work space for someone on the go. Turn it into usable space with an organizer that has a surface for writing or laptop use.
    • A well-designed mobile organizer has places for storing standard-size files, a laptop, and other office supplies, so that they’re within easy reach from the driver seat.
    • An organizer with a laptop plate enables the user to swivel the laptop toward the driver seat, minimizing the need to twist the body.
    • Many mobile organizers and workstations offer added versatility, with features like printer stands and power inverters.
  2. Incorporate ergonomic accessories for added comfort and injury protection. Space limitations in a mobile office can make it difficult to create an ergonomically ideal workspace. The right tools and accessories, however, can help prevent repetitive stress injuries (RSI) and make the mobile office more comfortable.
    • Proper back support is critical for long stints behind the wheel. Adding a back rest provides lumbar support and takes the strain off back muscles.
    • Travel-friendly keyboards and mice can be plugged into a laptop. These accessories make it easier to customize a workstation and reduce the risk of RSI from extended laptop use.
    • To eliminate twisting of the back, neck, and head, a Wheel Mate provides a writing surface directly in front of the driver seat.
  3. Make the mobile office easy to transport. For a mobile office to be truly functional, it needs to be portable, both for safe transport and for use in rental cars. It is important to protect oneself from injury when lifting and carrying. Many mobile organizers and other accessories are specifically designed for portability.
    • Collapsible mobile organizers offer the same functionality as their stationary counterparts, but can easily be folded up and carried like a briefcase.
    • File totes with sturdy shoulder straps and handles make it easy to transport a mobile office while leaving all files and supplies in place.
    • Any luggage handle can be fitted with an ergonomic tow handle, to reduce unnatural or excessive twisting of the wrist and arm.

Incorporating the right equipment makes it easy to set up a mobile office. By adapting the passenger seat, using ergonomic accessories, and choosing easy-to-carry pieces, anyone can create an ergonomically friendly mobile office.

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