Ergonomic Articles

10 Tips for the perfect workstation setup

By Angela Hendricks | Added 2015-06-11

In today’s work culture, people are spending more and more time at their desks or workstations, which can cause a lot of muscular problems and discomfort. Following our earlier blog where we outlined the causes of workplace injuries, we have put together a list of small changes you can make to your workstation to prevent such injuries. With the right setup you will be able to keep yourself comfortable and help limit unnecessary workplace stress on the body. 

Every item in your work area, including your computer, keyboard, mouse, phone and desk play an important role in making certain you have a healthy posture while working - as shown in the diagram above. When designing and arranging your work area, try to think about your daily tasks and the equipment you will be using the most. Here are 10 simple tips to aid you with organising your workspace, aiming to give you better posture and prevent aches and pains associated with the long hours of sitting:  


1: To help restrict the pain in your shoulders that is caused from being too low in your chair, the first thing to do is to adjust your chair height. This can be done in such a way that when seated your elbows are at the same height as your keyboard and that your forearms are parallel to the flow and not at an angle up or down. 


2: The ideal distance between yourself and your monitor is in between 45-65 cm. The further back your monitor is placed, the more you will find yourself leaning forward and pointing your chin out which can cause muscle tension. However, by moving your monitor to a comfortable distance and setting it at an eye level height will save you a lot of displeasure.


3: When setting up two monitors, if you work on them equally throughout the day, put them at the same distance and height and make sure the brightness and resolution are exactly the same.  For the best posture, place them as close to the middle of your workspace as possible. Should you work on one monitor considerably more than the other, place that monitor in the very centre, with the second one which you are least likely to use directly next to it.


4: For the best leg support, it is important that your hips are slightly higher than your knees when seated. If your feet do not reach the floor comfortably after the chair is adjusted to the optimum keyboard height, then using a foot rest will help keep your legs properly supported.


5: The closer your keyboard and mouse is to your body, the better your shoulder function will be. Also, ensuring that they are at the same height as each other will help keep an injury-reducing posture. 


6: To prevent neck strain, it is recommended that you don’t place your laptop or computer at an angle to yourself. Instead, if you place it in the centre of your workspace, it will stop your neck from twisting.


7: A phone headset is the best choice if you spend a lot of your day on the phone as this will keep your posture relaxed and natural. Should you not have a headset, using your phone with your less dominant hand will create more comfort when needing to take notes or continue working on your laptop/computer.


8. Keeping the area around your feet clear of unnecessary items and obstacles will help you sit comfortably and ensure your body is in a natural position that doesn’t cause soreness.


9: Placing documents that you may be working on between the keyboard and yourself, causes a roundness in the shoulders which can result in fatigued muscles. This can be easily prevented by placing paperwork at the same height as the monitor or using document holder.


10: Laptops, due to their lack of flexibility, can cause a multitude of posture problems which result in neck pain and headaches. With 90% of users complaining of such ailments, it is important to try to adjust how you work with your laptop to prevent this common stress on the body. The easiest and best way is to use a separate keyboard, monitor and mouse as this will offer you more angle adjustments than using the built-in hardware.  On the other hand raising the laptop by placing it on books can effectively improve working posture.


Now you have the tips and tools to ensure your work area is arranged for better posture and performance. Our next article will talk about the best way to use all your desktop equipment to help eliminate the chance of further injury.




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