Author Topic: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?  (Read 1168 times)

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Offline alertArchitect

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So, I'll cut to the chase here. I work at a call center for my state's government, and at the job I'm regularly accessing people's private information for the purposes of identity verification. Understandably, this means that my office does not allow for employees to plug anything into their workstation computers that isn't directly provided by our employer, out of concern that a USB drive or other device that connects to the computer could have malware in it, giving some wannabe criminal access to information that could be used to steal someone's identity.

Unfortunately, this means that I'm stuck using the stock Lenovo peripherals that come with the ThinkCentre line of computers. ThinkVision monitor, membrane Lenovo keyboard, and terrible stock Lenovo mouse. Luckily, the desk chairs at the office are fairly nice, and have decent lumbar support, and I already have decent posture. However, I am still concerned about the longevity of my wrists, fingers, and eyes, as I do a lot of computer work both on and off the job. Gaming, personal projects like learning Blender, etc. So my question comes down to be rather simple, in practice:

Using stock peripherals, that I cannot change due to work circumstances to something even moderately more ergonomic, what are some things I can do to help with ergonomics? As mentioned above, I've already got pretty decent posture (though it can be improved upon - the lumbar support isn't the best, though it's a lot better than minimal support or no support, and I know I'm not perfect.), and as for the longevity of my eyes, I'm planning on getting a good pair of blue light-blocking glasses (though recommendations on ones that have clear lenses and actually work would be great, as we aren't allowed to wear tinted eyewear in the office). But does anyone have good resources for other practices, such as good wrist/finger stretches or exercises, that could help with preventing RSI or Carpal Tunnel?

Online yui

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 09 February 2021, 06:22:24 »
i thought i read somewhere that, depending on where you are though, your work may be be obligated to give you ergonomic options, so it may just be a story of asking your boss for it.
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 09 February 2021, 07:32:04 »
Isn't Lenovo made in China?  Big government orders are exactly where I'd place malware were that my business, rather than in every board where 99% would log links to facebook and the like. Not sure how this malware is supposed to 'phone home' anyway, what generic USB device driver supports this function?  Or do yoe have a planted operative with a wireless logger in his pocket?

Accepting paranoia it's a bit strange but could you get two boards and angle them in such a way it's comfortable to use one hand on each?  Depends how big the boards, your desk, and your shoulders are.
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Offline alertArchitect

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 09 February 2021, 10:06:58 »
i thought i read somewhere that, depending on where you are though, your work may be be obligated to give you ergonomic options, so it may just be a story of asking your boss for it.

It's a KY place, and specifically for government. Yes, it's contracted out to the company I'm technically working for, but in the end it's a government office with government spending practices, in a state I can't exactly call progressive when it comes to heading off this kind of thing. Only way they'll allow ergo options will be if / when I have a medical need for them, basically meaning "not until you already have RSI or Carpal Tunnel." I'm not normally the type of person to go out of my way for ergo anyway, but with so much of my time being spent using these peripherals, I had the concern. Simply put, I'm young now, but eventually all of this will seriously affect me, and I want to hold that off as long as possible; the problem is I know this office won't approve any ergo peripherals (especially since it would be on their dime) unless I demonstrate a medical need or doctor approval.

Isn't Lenovo made in China?  Big government orders are exactly where I'd place malware were that my business, rather than in every board where 99% would log links to facebook and the like. Not sure how this malware is supposed to 'phone home' anyway, what generic USB device driver supports this function?  Or do yoe have a planted operative with a wireless logger in his pocket?

Accepting paranoia it's a bit strange but could you get two boards and angle them in such a way it's comfortable to use one hand on each?  Depends how big the boards, your desk, and your shoulders are.

As far as the first part, given that the company that has the government contract for this office is global and fairly well respected from what I can tell, if that were the case Lenovo wouldn't even necessarily know that the order was for a government office even if they were to sabotage their own reputation like that. And as for the other parts of the paranoia, I believe the blanket ban on outside peripherals is to prevent someone from coming in, plugging in a storage device or something similar, and storing files containing people's info that's protected by HIPAA, as the office is for Medicaid. And trust me, no one wants to mess with HIPAA guidelines. The only papers allowed in the office are COVID health checks, call scripts, and some very limited other stuff I'm not sure of for supervisors; and none of it even leaves here. If it does, it's in a sealed bin that only gets opened for the paper to go into an industrial shredder. Information privacy, especially when it comes to information covered by HIPAA, is taken incredibly seriously here. Especially since it can be used for identity theft or fraud, if someone with... less than pure intentions were to obtain that information.

As for the second part, I have decently wide shoulders, but the problem comes down to the cubicle being kind of small, the keyboards being 100% size, and me needing room for the mouse for various job actions related to callers' needs in our systems. That's why I was specifically asking if anyone had any recommendations on stretches - as anything I find on the topic of arm / wrist stretches for computer work just mentions doing them, not what the actual stretches are - and blue light blocking glasses with clear lenses that actually work. I've already looked into what's possible with what I have here, and what's allowed & possible within the office, which is why I tried to make my question fairly specific. Thanks for the suggestion, though! If I get chosen to be one of the people who works from home, I'll keep that in mind to see if it'll help.

Offline micmil

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 19 February 2021, 20:53:51 »
Isn't Lenovo made in China?  Big government orders are exactly where I'd place malware were that my business, rather than in every board where 99% would log links to facebook and the like. Not sure how this malware is supposed to 'phone home' anyway, what generic USB device driver supports this function?  Or do yoe have a planted operative with a wireless logger in his pocket?

Accepting paranoia it's a bit strange but could you get two boards and angle them in such a way it's comfortable to use one hand on each?  Depends how big the boards, your desk, and your shoulders are.

https://shop.hak5.org/products/usb-rubber-ducky-deluxe

Anything the user has access to can be touched. The call center I worked in didn't allow personal electronics of any kind on the floor, for reasons such as this. The problem isn't with foreign governments, the problem is with individuals that want to steal information they already have access to because they already have a buyer.

This is just one example of an apparently innocuous piece of gear that could absolutely wreck an entire company if it was put in the right (or wrong, however you look at it) workstation.

This guy explains it way better than I can.

Offline alertArchitect

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 22 February 2021, 12:21:47 »
Anything the user has access to can be touched. The call center I worked in didn't allow personal electronics of any kind on the floor, for reasons such as this. The problem isn't with foreign governments, the problem is with individuals that want to steal information they already have access to because they already have a buyer.

This is just one example of an apparently innocuous piece of gear that could absolutely wreck an entire company if it was put in the right (or wrong, however you look at it) workstation.

Exactly this. People have been fired from this company (not this specific project, as it has the highest possible security because HIPAA is terrifying to mess with) for the most wild ways of trying to get the personal info of callers to sell or for identity theft. One person apparently would bring in a box of tissues every day, with paper hidden inside, and write down the personal info of other people. That person was immediately fired and reported to the authorities the moment it was discovered, because you don't mess with that ****. We're talking fines equal to life-changing sums of money for individual violations, not to mention if there were repeat problems or multiple violations from the same individual or department. There's a reason that if someone's fired from this company for any reason other than "amicable leave with a 2 weeks' notice" you get placed on an ineligble for hire list.

Offline micmil

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Re: Anyone have some ergo recommendations in a hardware-constricted setting?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 22 February 2021, 17:22:05 »

Exactly this. People have been fired from this company (not this specific project, as it has the highest possible security because HIPAA is terrifying to mess with) for the most wild ways of trying to get the personal info of callers to sell or for identity theft. One person apparently would bring in a box of tissues every day, with paper hidden inside, and write down the personal info of other people. That person was immediately fired and reported to the authorities the moment it was discovered, because you don't mess with that ****. We're talking fines equal to life-changing sums of money for individual violations, not to mention if there were repeat problems or multiple violations from the same individual or department. There's a reason that if someone's fired from this company for any reason other than "amicable leave with a 2 weeks' notice" you get placed on an ineligble for hire list.

Yup. HIPAA is the kind of thing that your career gets firebombed over if you're stupid enough to screw with it. Right now I work at a law firm and the kind of data I'm dealing with could destroy lives if it got into the wrong hands. No playing around with this stuff.