Workstation Ergonomics

Many office employees sit at their desks for long periods of time. Using ergonomic principles to set up their workstations can help prevent soreness and injuries.

Take a Break
Some office workers may have problems with their backs, shoulders, hands, wrists, and eyes. To help prevent these problems, remember to pace yourself at work—a steady pace can actually help you get more done in the long run. Mini-breaks help your body to recover and rest, even just for a few minutes a day. Make sure you take time to stretch and vary your posture—sitting for long periods of time is hard on muscles and can cause fatigue.

Workstations
Arranging your workstation properly, so you don’t have to strain to reach needed objects or use awkward body positions to access your computer, can prevent injuries from occurring.

  • Your workstation should be slightly above your elbows.
  • Your in-basket and other frequently used items (telephone, stapler, etc.) should be within easy reach without having to stretch for it.
  • Your keyboard should be flat so your wrists are not bent in order to use it. Keep you fingers slightly curved in a natural position. Don’t stretch your fingers for hard-to-reach keys, move the whole hand. Never hit keys with more force than necessary.
  • A foot rest should be used if your feet don’t touch the floor while you are sitting.
  • Adjust your chair, if possible, so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Readjust your chair during the day to suit different tasks.
  • Don’t use your armrests while typing; they are used to rest your arms only.
  • Keep your head up; don’t lean into your monitor or tilt your head back to look at the screen.
  • Your shoulders should be relaxed and let your upper arms hang loose at your side.
  • Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your wrists should be unbent at all times.
  • Sit back in your chair so your lower back is supported and your knees are bent.
  • Your knees should be slightly higher than the seat of your chair.
  • Position your monitor to avoid glare from windows and lights—tilt the screen slightly to help with this, if necessary.
  • Sit back from your monitor; sitting too close is hard on the eyes.
  • Give your eyes a break—look away from the screen at an object in the distance and blink to keep your eyes moist.