Cisco's new office layout could cause back injuriesCisco says its office's new cubicle-free design promotes efficiency, increases group work productivity, and makes the environment more pleasant. Which makes the redesign seem like a really good idea. Until you hear about the whole back-and-neck injuries thing.

IEEE's Tech Talk spotted this photo of the new office in the San Jose Mercury News and spoke to ergonomic consultant Lisa Voge-Levin to her take on the office redesign. She tore the place apart:

  • The chairs look like armchairs. They don't seem to be adjustable for different sizes of people. They are giving no lumbar support. That puts people at risk of lower back injury.
  • If you look at the people's postures, their elbows are bent at 90 degrees, that is good, but their wrists are bent up, and their necks are bent down; that's bad for the neck, and the taller the person is the worse he'll have it.
  • Notice the one man has water lined up on the ground. That is where he'll be putting things. So how many times a day will he be bending down? Will he bend down to put his laptop on the ground when he gets up to go to the bathroom? So much bending can cause back issues.
  • And look at the cords; they're a huge tripping hazard.