Office Ergonomics – Carrying Laptops and Work

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Last night, August 7th, on World News with Diane Sawyer, their research team collected evidence to show how carrying purses and other items can cause harm if too heavy. According to their research, a single shoulder strap bag, such as a purse, messenger bag, duffle bag, should not weigh more than 5% of your body weight on a consistent basis. So, if you’re a male weighing in at 200lbs, your bag shouldn’t be more than 10lbs. I wanted to see what that meant for me. I currently carry a 17” Dell Precision M6700 that weighs in at 7.76lbs. That’s hefty, but it’s something that I feel is needed for the line of work I use. I’ve been using a backpack, but I’ll cover that in a bit. For this example, I’ll use the weight of the new messenger bag that I purchased for me and my team. Over on Amazon, we had purchased the 17.3” Microsoft Impact Messenger Bag for $43. Amazon states that the shipping weight is 2.9lbs. I didn’t weigh it, but the bags I purchased with shipping packaging weighed on average 3.5lbs. So, I’ll assume this bag weighs in at 2.9lbs. That’s already 10.66lbs before adding pens, paper, tablets, and anything else I may normally carry in my bag.

The more I thought about this, the more I started to think that I was an exception, right? So I looked around the office at some others that have laptops. Let’s assume another office worker has an ultra-light 13” Lenovo Yoga. According to their site, this comes in at 3.3lbs. Again, visiting Amazon, I came across a $17 Case Logic laptop bag/sleeve that weighs in at 14.4 ounces. So, at this point, we’re up to 4.2lbs. If that was all we were carrying, we’d likely be fine unless we weighed in less than 84lbs. However, once we start adding in a notebook, writing utensils, and a few other items, you’ll soon find that even going ultra-light, we can push the weight of our bag to the limit.

To solve this problem, we can always look to use lighter equipment or rolling bags minimizing the amount of carrying we do. We can also switch over to backpacks which are recommended for heavier equipment. Patch.com estimates that back packs should not exceed 10% to 15% of your body weight. For the office crowd, a 17” SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack is ideal.

Aug 8 2013 5:41 AM