How to Ergonomically Set Up a Workstation

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How to Ergonomically Set Up a Workstation


Working long hours sitting in front of a computer and typing the day away causes different parts of our body to hurt, mainly the neck, back, wrists, and fingers. We usually brush this off and apply pain reliever to ease our aching muscles when the day is done. But liniment oils and pain patches are just band-aid solutions to constant problems.

One way to ease muscle pain due to long hours of sitting and typing is to set up your workspace in an ergonomic way. Ergonomics means studying and making a person efficient in their working environment. This involves making adjustments in work stations—be it tilting the keyboard, moving the chair or monitor, or adjusting the chair height—to make the employee more comfortable in their workstation.

Note that it is best to speak with a doctor or an ergonomic specialist before making any changes, so the following are just some recommendations you may follow based on tips from ergo experts.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Find your posture

The best way to prevent backaches is to find your natural posture, according to CNet. To do this, you need to find the most comfortable sitting position that doesn't require putting a leg up over the arm of your chair. Memorize this position and keep it in mind, since your ergonomic workstation will be built to support this posture.


Photo by: Martin Vorel via LibreShot


To support your natural posture, having a chair that holds up the spinal curves is a must. You may adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor. A footrest may also be used, as long as the thighs are paralleled on the floor and your knees are slightly lower or equal to your hips. Your shoulders should also be relaxed so adjusting the armrest is recommended.

Doing this reduces exposure to awkward postures, contact stress, and forceful exertions, as per info services and tech company BLR.


Photo Credit: Amrish J. Kawa via Wikimedia Commons


As stated, you may use a footrest to ensure that your feet rest on a flat surface. This only comes when the chair is too high or the height of the desk requires you to raise the height of your desk. A small stool or a stack of books can be alternatives if there is no footrest available.


Photo Credit: Pixabay


If you find yourself craning your neck closer to your screens, then it's time to adjust the distance. The right distance should be an arm's length away, with your middle finger touching the screen. In case you're using two monitors, place them side by side. Use the same technique to measure the distance—arm's length with middle finger touching the screen—while panning your arm.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Keyboard and mouse

The mouse should be within easy reach and on the same surface as the keyboard. While using either of these tools, Mayo Clinic says the wrists must be kept straight, the upper arms close to the body, and the hands at or slightly below the level of the elbows. It adds that you may also use keyboard shortcuts to reduce the extended use of the mouse.


Photo Credit: Pixabay


Telephones and other communication devices should also be within reach. This is to avoid repeatedly reaching out that results in the shoulder, arm, and neck pains as well as awkward postures. You may also opt to use a headset or place a call on speakerphone to allow you to continue working even during long telephone conversations. Doing so will help eliminate cradling the handset between your shoulder and head, reducing the cause of stress and neck and pain.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Stretch and move around

Sitting in front of a desk all day is not an excuse to not avoid doing some physical activity. Take a break at least once every hour to stretch. Walk around the office, get a cup office, or go to the comfort room. An ergonomic workstation can only do so much, and stretching is one of the most important things to do to combat health issues due to prolonged sitting.



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