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9 Different Ways We Sit in the Office, All Thanks To Tech

Updated: Wednesday, February 27 2013, 04:16 PM CST

The Atlantic put together a list of nine positions we never sat in before technology evolved. See image here.

1. The Draw
The oft-discussed "lean back" experience of tablet reading, done in a chair. (This posture requires good back support from a chair, especially for the head and neck.)

2. The Multi-Device
You're using your laptop. And your phone. At the same time. (This requires good arm rests, provided by either tabletop or chair.)

3. The Text
You're sitting at your desk, but you're using your handheld device to read, email, or, yes, text.(Arm rests not required, but ideal.)

4. The Cocoon
This is a scrunched-body posture usually reserved for reading (though it can be used for typing, as well). The sitters lean back, pull up their legs, bend their knees, and draw their devices close to their bodies. This is, Steelcase notes, a posture used more often by women than by men.

5. The Swipe
The sitter leans over his or her desk, directly over the screen of a touchscreen device. This posture is pretty much exclusive to tablet/smartphone use.

6. The Smart Lean
A compromise between the lean-back posture of "The Draw" and a more standard sitting style, this posture allows the sitter to check his or her smartphone in a relaxed posture, while also retaining a bit of privacy when it comes to what's being shown on the screen. It's especially popular during meetings.

7. The Trance
You're absorbed in your work, leaning into your table and toward your computer, with arms placed either on a chair's armrests or on your desk. This posture often involves slouching.

8. The "Take-It-In"
This might also be called the "all the way back": It involves a nearly full recline in one's chair -- a posture enabled in part by the popularity of large, high-resolution monitors that allow people to read screens from a distance (and also ideal for smartphone-based reading, email-checking, etc.).

9. The Strunch
This is "stretching out" and "hunching" at the same time: When people get tired, they tend to push their computers away from them, compensating for the new screen angle by slouching down toward their desks. They then prop themselves up with their arms on their desk surfaces, sometimes propping their chins up with a free hand.

Office furniture manufacturer Steelcase believed its products would need to adapt to the mobile-oriented office. The company conducted a study of office workers, 2,000 of them in 11 countries, to see how they relate to the multiple devices they use to do their job.

Steelcase concluded that the way we compute is, indeed, changing the way we sit. "What we noticed," says James Ludwig, Steelcase's vice president of global design and engineering, "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."

Steelcase says the problem with these postures is that our current chairs, generally speaking, aren't well-suited to our new ways of sitting. And "because these new postures are not adequately supported, workers are uncomfortable, in pain, and doing long-term harm to their bodies," the company notes. So "while technology boosts productivity, it can cause pain that disrupts our work, our ability to concentrate, and our creativity."

This article originally published at The Atlantic.

9 Different Ways We Sit in the Office, All Thanks To Tech

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