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The Strunch, Smart Lean, and other ways we're sitting these days

Posting in Design

It’s after 4 p.m. and I’m sitting in a modified Trance: feet crossed under my legs, chin resting on my left fist, scrolling with my right hand. That’s one of the nine new postures invented by our increasing use of laptops, tablets, and smartphones in the workplace.

Until recently, our computers have been bulky and stationary; everything else, human included, has been relatively flexible, The Atlantic describes.

Realizing that its products must adapt to this new mobile-enabled workspace, office furniture maker Steelcase conducted a study of how 2,000 office workers across 11 countries arrange their bodies and shift between different devices during the day.

They concluded that the way we compute changes the way we sit. And we are in pain.

"What we noticed," Steelcase’s James Ludwig says in this video, "was these new technologies, this new breed of devices -- and the new sociology we were seeing at work -- had driven nine new postures that we had never seen before."

  1. The Draw: leaning back while reading from a tablet.
  2. The Multi-Device: using a laptop and a phone at the same time.
  3. The Text: using a handheld device while sitting at your desk.
  4. The Cocoon: leaning back with your legs pulled up and knees bent, drawing your device close to your scrunched-up body.
  5. The Swipe: leaning over the desk directly over a tablet.
  6. The Smart Lean: checking your smartphone while retaining a bit of privacy (during a meeting).
  7. The Trance: slouching toward your computer with your arms on the desk.
  8. The Take It In: reclining in your chair, giving some distance between you and your big monitor.
  9. The Strunch: stretching out and hunching at the same time, using your non-typing hand to prop you up.

Most of these postures require different support for your neck, shoulders, back, arms, and even your legs. The solution Steelcase came up with is a new chair that takes design cues from all nine postures. They named it the Gesture and it will retail for $780 to $880 this fall.

[Via The Atlantic, WSJ]

Image: Steelcase

— By on February 26, 2013, 5:50 AM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure