Guest blogger: Why your Coffice can be a real pain (and what to do about it)

By Dwayne Hoskins, Chiropractor & Cofficer
Ergonomics is a very large word that means even bigger things to you Cofficers when your choice of ‘desk’ chair is limited to your Coffice’s furniture selection – almost like those poor suckers stuck in their cubicles…I mean…your colleagues who are assigned semi-permanent places to work.

The term ergonomics is used to describe the way we utilize the things around us, how we move, how we ‘work’ and how we adapt our motions to the tools, furniture and other obstacles in our varied environments.

We Cofficers are a bright bunch – usually after the first cuppa joe – but that’s besides the point. So I’m going to overlook the obvious issues that any of you out there could list. You are Cofficers, with above-the-norm skills and knowledge – I don’t need to talk down to you (unless
you’re on my table). So let’s get right into the nitty grind-y.

Ergonomics of the Coffice

One of the most overlooked ergonomic conundrums that really gets me annoyed is seeing a Cofficer typing away while seated in a low-to-the-floor, plush couch-like piece of furniture. You know who you are, Coffice comfort seekers! Cardinal rule: if your knees are higher than your butt, your seat is too low.

Like anything else, if your foundation is weak, screwed up or misaligned, everything else will be too. If your knees are too high while sitting hunched over a laptop in one of those pillow-y soft couches, it pulls the arch (curve) out of your low back, which puts unusual stresses on the supporting muscles. It also pulls the arches out of your upper back, and then your neck. None of this is good for you. Get off that couch and sit at a table with a sturdy chair.

Fancy footwork and pelvic power (<- it’s not that kind of blog…)

I’ll bet many of you didn’t know that foot placement is another simple, but essential piece of the ergonomic puzzle. Both feet should be on the floor, but one foot should be out further in relation to the other – both feet should further out in front of you instead of the common 90 degree angle or less.

This foot placement allows your hamstrings muscles to relax and release, thereby preventing any cramping and trapping of unwanted and harmful fluids within those muscles. You should be switching your foot position on a regular, but not-too-frequent basis. Frequent foot switching may cause your Coffice staff to “accidentally” switch you to decaf; or your Cofficer neighbors may escort you to the restroom.

(Editor’s note: I tend to keep my legs bent below 90 degrees directly under me. I tried switching it up, and If I got the foot positioning correct based on Doc’s recommendation here, I could actually feel my legs relax. Consider me a believer. And I’m pretty sure my coffee remains fully caffeinated.)

The obvious ergonomic strategy that most people recognize is to maintain a ‘low back arch’. In other words, you should have one. Think of your chair’s backrest as a mere ‘suggestion’ – not a crutch. If you’re relying completely on the backrest of any chair (except your Barco-Lounger at home in front of the Plasma), you’re looking for painful problems.

You should sit with your pelvis rocked forward (belly button pushed forward for you visual types), your shoulders pulled back (chest out soldier!) and head sitting squarely above the rest of your body. Mom was right: quit slouching! Sit up straight! (Editor’s note: This felt weird – clearly I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!)

Some keys to typing

We cannot talk about Coffice ergonomics without giving consideration to your two most crucial tools – the coffee cup and the keyboard. These two items should NOT mix, unless you have one of those waterproof keyboard thingies on your laptop. Your coffee cup should maintain an optimal level of liquid gold for maximum output, while keeping its contents hot for the appropriate amount of time. That is determined by your…oh wait. Off track – hold on a sec.

Here we go…

Your keyboard should be large enough for YOUR hands – not the the mitts of the company engineer who designed it. In case you were wondering, not all keyboards are of uniform shape, size and design. If you have small hands, you can likely get by with standard keyboards on most laptops – but I’ll pray for you anyways.

On the other end of the hand sizing chart, if you’re like me and you have manly hands (size XXXL gloves, thank you very much!), you might consider a portable, specially designed ‘ergonomic’ keyboard, a split keyboard, or you might try a very large keyboard on a large laptop.

If you feel like your elbows are squeezing your ribs you while you’re typing, your keyboard is too small, or you should really try the split kind. Regardless of the size of your keyboard, or its layout, you must protect your wrists with optimal positioning. We ‘seasoned’ Cofficers may remember the first day of our typewriter (<- You Millennials can Google that) classes with the teacher
demanding we maintain proper hand position on the
‘home row’. She was right too.

Your pointing devices (mouse, mouse pad if you use one, trak-ball, etc.) are also important – but that’s a whole other blog post – and my wrists are getting tired! (Editor’s note: That’s okay Doc. We can wait…)

And that’s the nutshell of Coffice Ergonomics from a nutjob Chiropractor. Remember, I’m not just a highly educated health practitioner, I’m someone who understands the pains and perils of the Coffice. I proudly salute the critical jobs you Cofficers are doing; in your honor, I’m going to let you go get a refill on your triple-mocha-latte-skinny-soy-frappuccino-venti-with-extra-shots. Mine’s already too cold.

BONUS: A Heart-felt Coffice Public Service Announcement

As a Chiropractor who is familiar with the stresses the Coffice’s furniture can have on a body, all Cofficers would benefit from adding your Chiropractor’s office to your Coffice rotation – and not just for the free wifi and hot coffee. The stresses on your body are best alleviated by your Chiropractor – not by medication or much else. I get adjusted weekly, and my staff gets adjusted 2 or 3 times a week. I would get adjusted daily, but I can’t adjust myself. So be a well-adjusted Cofficer and book your appointment today.

Dwayne Hoskins, Chiropractor, practices his craft in a small town in central Indiana. He’s been in practice for almost 20 years, but spent some time on the road helping his father-in-law with an ‘Independent Manufacturer’s Representative Firm’. Dwayne has first-hand knowledge of the Coffice. He’s also in the process of opening up a Coffee Shoppe in the same space as his current office. The Coffice is my model, and all Cofficers are welcome. Find out more about Dwayne Hoskins , and as a contributor to, in the RockRadio section.

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