The starting point for Office/Workstation Ergonomics

Posted on June 15, 2015


Throughout our day many of us are required to spend hours performing seated desk work, causing us to experience fatigue, muscle soreness, headaches, and other posture-related ailments.  The solution to our discomfort may oftentimes be found in our workstation positioning.  The English word Ergonomics is derived from the Greek terminology Ergon (meaning: work) and nomoi (meaning: natural laws).  Understanding the language behind the word Ergonomics assists us in getting to the root of what has become a hot-button topic: how to perform our work (and life!) duties while maintaining the most natural posture.

It’s All About That Base!

The starting point for Office/Workstation Ergonomics is our base: the desk chair.  When sitting in an office chair our feet should be able to comfortably reach the floor while maintaining the knees and hips at a 90-degree angle.  Footrests or improvised footrests such as several reams of paper, telephone books, or a box may be used if the individual is petite and unable to reach the floor.  You should be positioned in front of the computer and monitor, rather than turned in a way that causes you to twist your body throughout the day.  The chair should also offer support to the natural curve of our lower back, which may be added with a small towel roll or over-the-counter lumbar roll.


Arm yourself for success…

Working the way up the chain, our keyboard and chair armrests should allow for the elbows to rest at an approximately 90-degree angle, with the wrists supported in a natural, neutral position.  As we type we should maintain this neutral position of the wrist and keep the mouse close to the side of our keyboard and within easy reach.  In general, all frequently-used objects (i.e. telephone, pens, stapler) should remain within comfortable reach at the work station.


Let’s monitor your Ergonomics progress…

Your computer monitor should be located approximately 20-28 inches in front of you, with the top of the screen just below your eye level.  Adjusting the screen with a 10-20 degree tilt allows you to easily view the entire screen and assists in reducing glare from overhead lighting.


Sore neck or proper posture?  You make the call!

Finally, for individuals that spend a great deal of time on the phone, a headset may be critical in reducing strain on the neck caused by attempting to cradle the phone while multi-tasking on a computer.


Remember that ANY posture can create fatigue and/or discomfort if held too long, so don’t forget to take breaks, perform light self-stretching, and stand up throughout the day to reduce the wear-and-tear on your body!

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