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I am in the process of trying various setups to help prevent RSI while doing computer work; I was wondering if there is any data that helps me decide whether or not I should have the same setup at the home and in the office? My Granddad used to say "a change is as good as a rest" but is it? To put it into number, do we know which is better or if there is any difference?

60 hours a week at the most comfortable workstation I can find

or

40 hours a week at the most comfortable workstation I can find + 20 hours a week at a work station nearly as good, but quite different (or even very different)

update: I have not gone into specifics partly to try and get to the core of some ergonomic theory, (hopefully applying to as many people's situations as possible) but also because I have not decided on what is best for me yet, and I didn't want to start a discussion about specifics and get the topic closed.

Even if money is no object and you could get 2 identical top end workstations, is that the best thing to do? To put it another way which is more important, quality (or following guidelines to the letter) or variety?

Presume also that I am taking enough breaks, and getting enough stretching and exercise in; I just want to know the factors relating to the workstation.

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I find that getting out of your workstation, even just for a 5-minute stretch every hour or so, helps relieve cramps and stress, but as for the physical benefits/detriments of different workplace/home station setups, not sure. Will be following this to see what people suggest though, since I'm curious about this problem too. –  Zibbobz Feb 10 at 18:01
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What's your "confortable workstation"? Are you talking treadmill-desk? standup desk? Vertical keyboard, trackball? Is the investment too important that you can't have the same setup in both environment? –  Max Feb 10 at 18:52
    
Not really about specifics, more about the core of ergonomic theory, I have updated the question which will hopefully clarify –  CodeMonkey Feb 11 at 9:50
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I have a trackball which I use if I start to get signs of RSI from using a mouse too much. It helps. I wouldn't really want to change a keyboard though. I've tried standing desks etc, I liked the variety but more for 1-2 month stints rather than 50/50 every day. –  MattP Feb 12 at 12:06

1 Answer 1

My personal research has found most "comfortable" (ergonomically friendly) is better than simple change.

Theory For a focused single example you specifically call out RSI as a condition you're attempting to avoid. I'll pick out preventing Carpal Tunnel which is a specific form or RSI common in programmers.

Let's say over the coarse of 1 hour you move your hands a total 200' while typing, and lets assume all 40 hours are spent pounding away at the keyboard. You swap desks but both are pretty reasonable so no gain or loss in stress. While your specific patterns may change, you're still stressing the tiny sheath that holds the ligaments to your fingers and therefore creating the exact same effect as sitting at your same old keyboard would.

Now we have the 60 hour weeker... You're going ALL out against RSI... You've tossed your soft touch Qwerty keyboard for a very expensive ergonomic mechanical dvorak keyboard. According to what theory I have found this theoretically would reduce your hand motion 58% you are WAY over board and even get foot petals to handle your Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys. (Your feet are WAY better at handling RSI then your hands) In theory you've cut movement ~61% total...

This implies you induce 8000' of RSI inducing movement over 40 hours swapping desks. While going insane level ergo you only induced 4680' of RSI inducing movement over 60 hours.

Now this is all theory based around the research I've done based on others research as well as personal experience. I will say since I learned Dvorak my hands feel quite a bit better. (which is additionally impressive since I started playing guitar again shortly after which also causes RSI)

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