Breaking! 'Times' Decides On New Chairs!

Ah, the Knoll 'Life' chair! It's like an Aeron, but without that Silicon Alley taint. It's a chair that says, don't worry, darling, this company will still be around in 18 months! Light, yet solid. Just like the ones they have in the Harvard law library—so many of your next crop of interns will feel right at home when they schlep from campus life to the new Times building. What's more, the Times' ergonomist approves of them for "the vast majority of body types"!

From today's Ahead of The Times, the intranet lifestyle porn site of Times choice:

April 3, 2007
Chairs & Keyboard Trays

Here it is — the chair for the new building. Charlotte Evans of News Admin explains its many features.

By CHARLOTTE EVANS

It's called the "Life" chair, and it's from Knoll, the well-known manufacturer of office furniture headquartered in New York and East Greenville, Pa. Established in 1938, Knoll has 30 of its products in the Museum of Modern Art. The "Life" chair was designed by Formway Design of Wellington, New Zealand.

The chair's major features:

an active, adjustable lumbar support system
cushioned, supportive armrests that adjust in and out, up and down and front to back
a seat designed to support flexing and stretching
a breathable, flexible seat back with tension preference settings
a base that supports your feet

It is adjustable for seat height, of course. There are individual controls for sliding the seat and for locking in the degree of tilt you desire.

Because of these features, the chair can accommodate the vast majority of body types, according to Tom Caffrey, The Times's ergonomist. And, because arm, wrist and hand problems are the most common repetitive strain injuries, he said, the armrests may prove to be the key benefit.

For the environmentally aware, the chair uses little foam, and what is used is free from chlorofluorocarbons.

"It's a terrific all-around chair, just what we were looking for ," said Hussain Ali-Khan, vice president for real estate development. "It's supportive, strong and highly adjustable, and certainly a vast improvement over what we have at 43rd Street."

For detailed information, please go to www.Knoll.com/products/life/life.html. And be sure to click "menu" and then individual icons for the most complete descriptions.

On Thursday, April 19, and Tuesday, April 24, several "Life" chairs will be in the cafeteria for inspection. A Knoll representative will be with them from 1 to 6 p.m. to answer questions.

Everyone will find one of the new chairs at his or her workstation at the new building, including those who currently use specially outfitted "prescription" chairs recommended by Tom Caffrey or one of his predecessors. The expectation is that everybody will give the new chair a try. But all of the specially outfitted chairs will be kept and stored for at least a month. And if you and Tom decide that the new chair does not work for you as well as the old one, Hussain and John Geddes want you to know that you may have the old one back.

In other news, Hussain has announced that all workstations in the newsroom, up to and including the ninth floor, will have keyboard/mouse trays attached to their desks. Above the ninth floor, all copy desks will also have the trays installed. Anyone else above the ninth floor can request a keyboard tray to get one. The keyboard trays are made by Humanscale, model number 5G990HF, and have an 8-inch mouse platform.

"The Humanscale trays have been used for years in various high-intensity settings," said Tom Caffrey, "and have been a valuable tool in the successful management of R.S.I. They are adjustable but sturdy, encouraging much better postures and movements than is possible when the keyboard and mouse are used on a desk."

You may send questions or comments to Charlotte Evans in news administration, xxxxx@ nytimes.com, who is in close touch with Occupational Health.