For those on the far ends of the height spectrum (the very short and very tall), even the fanciest ergonomic chairs may not offer the right support. While short and tall workers can certainly ask for a custom made chair, many feel stigmatized away from requesting this. This is because they know the costs would be high. Not to mention, they fear the disdain of their co-workers and employer as much as anything.
The most urgent solution to this problem, as we’ve discussed many times before, is to change the office culture around ergonomics. After all, if short and tall workers feel so unsupported, it’s likely there’s a wider mentality problem in their place of employment, and it’s also likely that there is no concerted ergonomics initiative in place.
A key part of fixing this is helping managers and executives to see the clear economics of ergonomics. Doing something as simple as investing in an ergonomic keyboard can dramatically cut costs in the long run. It will lower the chances that employees will develop Repetitive Strain Injuries and bring workers compensation claims against the company. Imagine how much more money a company could save by investing in an entirely ergonomic workspace — chair included.
However, if this kind of change doesn’t seem imminent, there are still a few strategies short and tall people can implement on their own to remedy this situation. These include:
1. Buying your own special equipment.
You shouldn’t have to, but if you’re really desperate and it’s starting to affect how you work, it may be worth simply bringing in your own custom-made chair.
2. Hacking your workspace.
Something as simple as a box can provide excellent support for the feet and legs of a short person. On the other hand, a taller person might consider stacking bookshelves on their desk so they can stand rather than trying to squeeze their knees beneath a desk that’s far too short.
3. Getting to know the OSHA guidelines
Once you do, you just may brainstorm a solution even more creative than the ones we’ve listed so far.
If you’re looking for more solutions either for yourself or the for an extremely tall or short person in your life, we highly recommend reading, When Your Office Chair Just Doesn’t Fit: Ergonomics for Everyone Else.
If you have any particularly effective hacks to share, please let us know in the comments below!