Anyone who sits at a desk for most of the day knows that it can soon get uncomfortable. Sitting for long periods, especially if your posture is wrong, can cause back pain, shoulder pain, and other issues. You can make a workstation safer and more comfortable by setting it up correctly. With the right equipment and arrangement, you can easily make an ergonomic workstation setup.
When you’re looking at a selection of ergonomic office chairs, make sure you choose one that supports the curves of the spine. You should adjust the height of the chair so that your feet are resting flat on the floor or a footrest. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor. If your chair has armrests, adjust them so that your arms gently rest on them when your shoulders are relaxed.
Any essential equipment that you need on your desk, such as your telephone, stapler, or any printed materials, should be kept close to the body to minimize the need to reach for things. If you can’t reach something comfortably while sitting, stand up to reach it to avoid strain.
Keyboard and Mouse
Position your mouse with easy reach. It should be on the same surface as your keyboard. When you are typing or using the mouse, try to keep your wrists straight, your upper arms tucked close to the body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. To reduce how much you use the mouse, use keyboard shortcuts. If you can, adjust how sensitive your mouse is so you only need a light touch to use it. Switch the mouse to the other side of your keyboard occasionally so you can alternate which hand you use to operate it.
If you use the phone a lot while typing or writing at the same time, put your phone on speaker or use a headset, instead of trying to cradle the phone between your head and your neck.
If you can’t put your feet flat on the floor when you sit, either because your chair is too high or your desk height requires you to raise the height of your chair, use a footrest. If you can’t get a footrest, you can improvise with a stool or stack of sturdy books.
Your knees, thighs, and feet should have clearance under the desk. If your desk is too low and can’t be adjusted, add boards or blocks under the legs. If the desk is too high, raise your chair and use a footrest to support your feet. If your desk has hard edges, pad the edge or use a wrist rest. Try to avoid storing things under the desk.
Position your monitor directly in front of you, at about an arm’s length away. The top of your screen should be at or slightly below eye level. Your monitor should be directly behind the keyboard. If you wear glasses that are bifocals, lower the monitor by an inch or two to make it more comfortable to look at. The brightest light source should be to the side of your monitor.