Author Archives: Michelle Judd

Rhode Island schools take active approach to learning


It’s a new day in Providence, RI, for 360 High School and West Broadway Middle School. Volunteers from the schools, Nortek, Inc., and Ergotron installed LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desks in a unique pilot designed to help the schools test the sit-stand concept in real-time. @BiancaBuono covers the story at ABC6 News.

For more information on other schools around the country visit Ergotron.com/spotlight or hear about Virginia’s Alexandria Country Day School and their decision to adopt sit-stand on a broader scale in this USA Today report.

 

Innovations in Learning from the EdSpaces Education Show

 

Edspaces

I just returned from the EDspaces 2015 show for education furniture. The attendees were largely educators, architects and designers, and resellers seeking to use new furniture concepts to improve learning objectives. Among what I expected to see there, there were also a few surprises. Here are my “cliff” notes from the event if you couldn’t attend:

  • Introducing motion into the student’s day. There is significant interest in this topic, most certainly fueled by all the recent research proving the benefit of reducing sedentary time. One of the award winners had a wide range of bicycles, walkers and elliptical mechanisms built into desks—a seemingly good idea, but expensive, complex and space-intensive. Perhaps a good specialty solution. Hat’s off to them for their efforts.
  • Standing desk solutions are starting to emerge. Ergotron’s Bob Hill gave an excellent talk surveying the research supporting the value of standing desks, and discussing how the early adopters have achieved success in their schools. The questions being asked by the audience were not exploratory, rather they had detailed questions about how to successfully implement, such as deciding how many chairs need to be planned in a classroom of standing desks. A key point was the need for student-adjustable desks.  In a recent article in FastCompany, the principal of Vallecito Elementary says, “Our current favorite desk has some of the things we need, but is cumbersome to adjust and requires an army of parent volunteers to adjust the desks in each classroom to fit each child. This is obviously not scalable across the country. …”
  • Collaboration is a top educator priority, but solutions are haphazard. There is clearly a strong desire to provide flexible, re-configurable desk solutions. However, ironically, the most common desks that are touted as collaboration solutions appear to be odd-shaped regular desks. Kidney shaped, trapezoidal, interlocking organic shapes. They look nice, but few are mobile, few allow for height adjustability, and few readily allow the students to reconfigure the classroom quickly.   Also there appears to be more attention to color than to performance. The key to developing the ideal collaboration products will be to provide prototypes to innovative educators, and cooperatively work on developing new solutions.
  • Cheapo tablet/laptop charging carts…yikes! Among the exhibitors there, there were lots of manufacturers with cheap charging carts with power strips. Some even were made of particle board. Please understand that computing devices and their power bricks give off a lot of heat during charging, and they also can draw enough power to blow a circuit breaker or overheat. At a minimum, these carts can reduce lifetime of your computing devices by overheating them, but more seriously, they can be fire hazards. Buy a safe cart with power management and a metal or flame retarded housing please!! The number of fires allowable in a school is ZERO. Look for UL certification labels.
  • Knockoffs. I was surprised to see copies of one of our products and some other top manufacturer’s products. Please don’t buy copies—it takes a lot of research and development to create a ground breaking product.

I am convinced that this is the beginning of a major trend towards standing desks that will improve our student’s health and learning outcomes. Check out emerging research on juststand.org.

By Pete Segar, CEO, Ergotron Inc., President, Nortek Ergonomics and Productivity Solutions

PSegar

Counter-balanced sit-stand for employee well being

I just read a very practical research review article in Ergonomics in Design entitled, “Is Standing the Solution to Sedentary Office Work?” by Jack P. Callaghan, et. al.  It provides a suggested ratio of 1:1 alternating between sitting and standing, with no more than 15 minutes of standing at a time.  That is good practical guidance supported by a number of research studies.

This is certainly consistent with one of the basic tenets of ergonomics, that frequent re-positioning aids comfort by avoiding repetitive stress or static overload.  However, for a typical knowledge worker that computes for six or more hours per day, this means moving between sitting and standing positions 24 times per day.

Is this reasonable?  It depends on the desk.  When one is using an electric desk, the workflow is interrupted by waiting for the desk to reach the proper ergonomic position to start computing again. An electric desk that takes 20 sec to re-position will waste a total of 8 minutes per day if it is re-positioned according to the guidelines.

In American Journal of Preventative Medicine, an article by Dr. Lucas Carr et al. entitled “Cross-sectional Examination of Long-term Access to Sit–Stand Desks in a Professional Office Setting” observed Swedish call center workers with access to counterbalanced spring or electric hoist sit–stand desks for a longer, albeit unknown, duration, and concluded, “It is possible that use of sit–stand desks declines over time and is dependent upon lift type, as more convenient lifts may translate to greater standing.”

This is one of the main reasons why I believe a counterbalanced workstation (where the weight is supported by a spring lift mechanism), promotes health more effectively than an electric desk.  A good counterbalanced desk can be re-positioned virtually instantly, and can be done without disturbing the worker’s thought process. If the worker perceives the effort of re-positioning is too great, they will revert back to sedentary behaviors and begin sitting for longer periods of time, or perhaps standing all the time and experiencing leg or back discomfort.

Wellness experts advise that when you start standing, aim to start in small regular intervals, rather than forcing yourself to stand all day for the first day. The aim should be to get to the point where you can spend half of your working day standing within four weeks.  This can be accomplished with a gradually increasing schedule of standing from 10 minutes per hour in Week 1, to 20 minutes each hour in Week 2 and finally 30 minutes per hour by Week 3. If you experience fatigue or discomfort, ease off a bit. A counter-balanced workstation allows the worker to accomplish this, by easily moving as the worker moves. The workstation becomes an extension of the worker, without a lot of thought need to keep it working with them.

Electric desks still excel for very heavy weights, and highly variable loads; however for a normal office worker with dual or triple monitors and normal levels of paperwork, a counterbalanced desk is going to be substantially easier and quicker to lift and lower, and therefore will be more effective promoting comfort. Furthermore, they do not require electrical power, and are quieter.

Some people will continue to sit longer than 15 to 30 minutes. Some will continue to stand more than two to 30 minutes. But whichever position they are in, switching to the next position can be, and should be, instantaneous.

By Pete Segar, CEO, Ergotron Inc., President, Nortek Ergonomics and Productivity Solutions

PSegar

October – Worldwide Month of Ergonomics

Ergonomics Month

The International Ergonomics Association (IEA), an international federation of ergonomics and human factors societies around the world, has designated October to be a Worldwide Month of Ergonomics!

Break out the party hats and balloons? Why not! Raising people’s awareness about the importance of good ergonomics goes a long way to preventing pain and combating rising healthcare costs.

We’ll be offering up some tips of our own throughout the month (on the blog and via @ergotron on Twitter) focused on how to make computing more comfortable. Until then, take the first step today by checking the ergonomic fitness of your workstation. Confetti is optional.

[Video] Ergotron LX & Wacom by Lawrence Mann


Lawrence Mann is a freelance illustrator living in England and a 2015 Corel Master Painter, with credits ranging from book covers to creative work for the likes of Sony, Nokia, Mattel, the BBC and more. In this video he invites you into his studio for a glimpse at some of the key ingredients in his artistry: a Wacom Cintiq mounted on an Ergotron LX Arm. Enjoy the time lapse video or listen in for his personal overview of the LX for Wacom Artists.

[Video] iPhonedo on the dangers of sitting


iPhonedo Reviews
is on the case with an entertaining look at how too much sitting creeps into every area of your life. Sit back and enjoy this fun and informative review of the Ergotron WorkFit-P Sit-Stand Desk, Platinum, and learn something new about living a healthier lifestyle. Or tune into his Turkish Channel.

WorkFit-S – Now available in white!

33-349-211-inuse1_lgErgotron’s popular WorkFit-S Sit-Stand Workstation is now available in a bright white finish, designed to give your desktop a fresher look and you a healthier approach to personal or work computing.

Available in multiple monitor configurations, including:

WorkFit-S Dual Monitor – for two monitors up to 6–12 lbs each (2.7–5.5 kg)

WorkFit-S Single LD – for a lighter monitor up to 18 lbs (8.2 kg)

WorkFit-S Single HD – for a heavier monitor up to 29 lbs (13.2 kg)

Want to use your laptop as a second monitor in the dual configuration? Start with the Dual Monitor Workstation and add the WorkFit Conversion Kit: Dual to LCD & Laptop (white)

Available to ship in late August 2015.

 

 

Best of Show: LearnFit Adjustable Standing Desk

ISTEBestinShow15_LearnFit

Great news! Ergotron’s second-generation LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desk for students earned a coveted Best of Show 2015 by Tech & Learning at ISTE!

When asked how the desk was received at the event, Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Education Industry Manager replied, “How many times have we heard a teacher ask a kid to stay seated in the classroom? Teachers get it.” What they “get” are children’s impulses to move. And how that movement is linked to brain development and ultimately performance. Read the news >

Celebrate Nurses Week in Plain-Speak

NurseDay

When you are visiting a loved one in the hospital, it is not hard to get distracted by the drama surrounding you. If you are like me, you compare it to the latest hospital show you are watching, and find yourself uttering things like, “He needs some water, stat!” with strange assurance.

When my dad was sick, I took on a very Sherlockian view of things. Deductive powers gone amuck, i.e., “Surely that beeping sound means something!” Although my dad’s nurse never said it, I imagine “nervous Nelly” was one term that could have described me.

Amidst the chaos of changing shifts, moving patients, and impatient families, one thing was missed. What’s that you say? An ingenious Nurse code according to scrubsmag.com.

It is often a waiting game, right? Waiting for results, waiting for the doctor, waiting for the “all clear” sign or even, “here’s what’s coming next” plan. However, during it all I can’t honestly remember hearing code like “Line & Lab” or “walkie talkie” when the nurses tending him were heroically moving heaven and earth, my dad, and my own heightened sensibilities about the place.

Maybe dad was a “frequent flyer.” Still, I was glad when the nurses seemed to be happy to see him again, although maybe not happy to see him back. I kind of wish now I would have known about nurse slang. And I wonder…there are codes for dramatic patients apparently, but what about dramatic family members? I might have earned that code once or twice, the name of some horribly gone-wrong reality star I am sure.

What nurses may not realize is that the family often has a similar unsaid code. It’s not too fancy, usually along the lines of “ministering angel” or “life saver.” Frequently it’s “wonder worker” or a “sensible Sally.” Sometimes, in the midst of a Jerry Seinfeld-ish “Newman” moment, the still small inkling lingers. Even though this nurse is giving me some tough love right now, the honest thought behind my blank/angry/tired or sad eyes is TGYH. Translation: Thank God you’re here.

Here’s to an amazing National Nurse Day today and a wonderful National Nurses Week ahead! And to all the hard working men and women who make up this field, let me speak for the patient and the family alike here…just call us “grateful.”

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

MJudd

 

 

Safety First – A Super Bowl Reminder

Football

Last night, the wall of melty cheese greeted me as I walked into my local Walmart. Must be the Super Bowl, right? With the big day fast approaching, people all over the country are getting their supplies together.

In the spirit of game day, here’s our list of the top three things to do to help ensure that the party is a safe day for everyone invited:

  • Try standing for part of the game. Sure, you might pop up for the occasional high-five when an outstanding play occurs, but most of time you’ll probably be sinking back into the couch, snarfing down the carbs. Standing, even for a short time every twenty or thirty minutes, will keep your metabolism moving, and give you more energy for the after the game play-by-play rehashes.
  • Encourage your guests to stand too. It’s never too late to help spread the message about reducing sedentary time. Make a game out of it for the whole family, like musical chairs after every commercial. Or try tracking how many Fritos® you just burned by standing with our Caloric Burn Calculator. Be the role model for your kids and help them learn healthy behaviors early in life. This way, maybe future Super Bowl parties can be healthy ones too.
  • Assess the needs of your home theater, and in particular, your TV mount. TVs in a room full of moving people can vulnerable to upset if not properly mounted. Check out OmniMount’s blog on TV safety and take time to remind the kids that TVs can tip.

Of course, I might even add, watch the sodium intake, but what am I, your mother? Maybe I am just trying to remind myself. Have other tips to share? Let us know!

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

MJudd