For most of my nearly 25-year career, I have worked in large corporate offices in major cities. Occasionally I worked in a factory setting. In fact, it was from one of those experiences in a major company that I helped complete a published study, of which I was the principal author. But the office environment is my main habitat.

One significant difference between the factory and the office is the nature of injuries and perception of the risk of those injuries.


Sudden injuries are much more likely to occur in the factory, due to movement of heavy equipment and heavy loads, awkward postures with rapid movements, and the consequent fatigue from either—let alone both. Jobs in the heavy industry environment have an implicit element of danger, because of “what” materials and objects workers must handle and by “how” they handle them. But injuries to computer office workers typically occur more gradually, because of awkward postures and movement while maneuvering a mouse and because of the tension that results from prolonged stationary positions in awkward postures used to read a lengthy email on the monitor—for 8, 10 or more hours a day. There is no implicit risk of injury by moving a computer mouse 2 or 3 inches or from pressing a few keys throughout the day. So, the risk is much more associated with “how” a person sits, reads, types, uses a mouse and multi-tasks, rather than “what” a person handles. After all, how can a 3 oz mouse hurt someone?

While factory ergonomics preceded office ergonomics because of the greater overall costs from those sudden injuries, the increasing numbers of workers suffering from, say, carpal tunnel syndrome and the exploding costs caused employers to expand or initiate an ergonomics program for all their employees.

Bottom line: technique matters, in every activity in which we engage—including sleeping!

We can move and position ourselves properly with any task and do so in a healthy manner, or we can use postures and movements without any attention to technique, and suffer the consequences of pain, lower quality of life and…sleep loss!


“Tom, All good! Setup is working well. Productivity high, pain under control. Thanks for all your help, pre-pandemic and especially over the past year; it was invaluable for me and I’m sure for others as well. Thanks!”

PS (Senior Editor), NY

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“Thomas, the (ergonomic) setup is great. It helps me…without the work setup, I would definitely have a debilitating problem.”

TR, Advertising, NY

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“For the first time in almost a year, I have a truly functional desk setup and I can’t thank you “You’ve been my ergonomic guardian angel all this time and such an incredible help to the newsroom.”

MB, Platform Editor

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“Tom, You’ve been an absolute lifesaver for me. Thank you for all your help through the years.”

AT, Features Editor, NY

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“Just wanted to follow up to thank you for (the ergonomic improvement) — it has made a world of difference. I feel much better…now that I’ve finally gotten it all setup, and I really appreciate your help.”

DL, Senior Editor