Magazine article Sunset

Has a Home Computer Moved in with You?

Magazine article Sunset

Has a Home Computer Moved in with You?

Article excerpt

Why doesn't a regular desk work for computers? There are two reasons.

The simpler one is that a standard desk is not designed to accommodate the bulk of the peripheral equipment a computer needs. Monitors, disk drives, cassettes, joy sticks, and a library of programs, manuals, and magnetic files will tax the limits of most conventional work surfaces. Printers--and the accordion stacks of paper they spew out--take up a lot of room. These devices need special stands, slots, and cubby holes, plus provision for their interconnected wiring.

The second reason is ergonomics. This buzz word came into its own as office planners began to realize that working at a computer makes different physical demands from working at a desk. Basically, it refers to human engineering--to designing tools, equipment, and work spaces so people are comfortable and can perform efficiently.

In last July's Sunset, we asked for your ideas on how you store your home computers. The even installations you see on these pages--selected from more than 50 responses--present a range of solutions, from the simple conversion of a typing or television stand to finely detailed, built-in cabinetry. All are designed to make using the computer and its accessories as convenient as possible.

We also show you what the professionals consider acceptable standards for such installations. More problems created than solved?

As microcomputers moved into the office, employees who spent most of their time working on them developed stiff necks, back pain, eyestrain, and other related ailments.

Studies revealed that chairs, work centers, and lighting designed for the paper office were becoming indirectly responsible for medical problems in the electronic office. Computers were being shoved into any available space, and the ignored ergonomic considerations took their toll.

AT home, you can incorporate lessons learned in the workplace. Guidelines set down by many groups (The National Institute for Occupational safety and Health. The National Association of Working Women, domestic and international trade unions, and government panels in Germany, Sweden, and Japan) specify the same basic requirements. Any effective design should take them into account, particularly if you're planning to spend a lot of time in front of your VDT (video display terminal). …

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