Ergonomics is a scientific principle concerned with improving health, safety, comfort and productivity. It’s fitting the job to a person instead of a person to the job. Many of us sit at a workstation for eight (or more) hours each workday. If we aren’t sitting correctly, we can end up with sore necks, backs and wrists or, even worse, a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) or repetitive strain injury. Setting up your workstation ergonomically will help prevent these issues and keep you comfortable at work.
If you are already coming home at the end of the day with a sore neck, back or headaches, it’s time to set up your workstation to prevent this. Even if you don’t have symptoms yet, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures. Follow the steps below to make sure your workstation is fit to your body.
Step one: Chair setup
You need to have a good chair that supports your back, legs and arms. Your chair should not place you in awkward positions and it should be adjustable. Your feet should be flat on the floor or a footrest and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. The lumbar support should be at the small of your back and the backrest should be between 95 and 105 degrees. Lastly, your arms should rest comfortably on the armrests with your shoulders relaxed and your arms bent at a 90 degree angle.
Step two: Keyboard, mouse and monitor setup
All the items on your workstation should be within easy reach. Place your most frequently used items, such as your telephone and stapler, closer to you in order to minimize reaching. Your keyboard should be kept at elbow height with your mouse situated immediately to the right or left. The monitor should be placed directly in front of you and the top of your screen should be at your eye level or slightly below to prevent moving your head up and down. Make sure that you are not squinting at the screen. If you are, you may need to move the monitor closer or adjust your computer settings.
Step three: Take breaks
Our bodies are not meant to be in a sitting position for hours at a time. Take stretch breaks every 30 minutes to an hour. Stretching aids in combating health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and clots that could arise from sitting at a desk all day. You should also rest your eyes by looking away from the screen periodically to avoid eye strain and fatigue.