It's all in how you ask

This entire organization is moving to a new building -- a really new building, says a pilot fish making the move.

"The offices in the new building would have built-in furniture, and someone was assigned to work with us on customized furniture plans for each office," says fish.

His own desk in the old office has a stand that lets him adjust the keyboard for both height and tilt. But he can't take that stand to the new building, so to make sure his new setup has similar flexibility, fish talks to the furniture planner.

She tells fish that the new offices will be equipping with keyboard drawers under the desks.

That won't work for me, fish tells her; he knows from experience that a drawer will be at the wrong height for him, and its frame will get in the way of his wrists while he's typing. Does the catalog list any other keyboard supports with better adjustments?

Planner tells fish that there is: it's an articulating support that folds under the desk, and it's adjustable for height and tilt.

But that isn't on the list of approved items for the new offices, she says.

Fish looks planner straight in the eye and says, "I have been working in the computer field for more than 25 years, and one reason I have had no hand or wrist problems is that I have always been very careful to keep my keyboard in the right position for stress-free typing. I believe I just heard you tell me that the furniture manufacturer we are using makes products that are intended to help employees avoid workplace injuries, but our management will not permit us to use those products. Do I understand you correctly?"

After a very long pause, planner says, "I'll see what I can do."

Reports fish, "When we moved into our new offices, mine had the adjustable keyboard supports I had requested."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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