Office Ergonomics


May 9, 2012

Do you ever feel achy, sore or painful after spending time on the computer? If you’re like many of us, your answer is, at least sometimes, yes! Thankfully, there are some basic guidelines that you can use to help yourself feel better and improve your tolerance.

Start with your keyboard. Ideally, this should be at your elbow level, so when your hands are on the keyboard, your forearms are level and elbows are at your sides. So adjust your seat height to that position.

If your seat back is adjustable, adjust the position to give you good low back support. Make sure the seat tilt is locked in the upright position. If you need additional back support, try a low back cushion or pillow.

The optimal position for your monitor is directly in front of you, with the top of your screen at eye level. If you use bifocals for computer work, the screen should be lower, so you can look through them without tipping your head back. If you are using a laptop computer and are having symptoms, try a monitor holder to raise the screen level and a separate keyboard.

Your distance from the monitor should be about an arms-length away but be sure to adjust it if needed so that you don’t need to lean forward to read anything.

If you use a separate mouse, its location should be just to the right or left of the Keyboard, to avoid overreaching.

With your hips all the way back in the chair, there should be 1-3 fingers of space in between the back of your leg and the seat edge.

Armrests are not mandatory for computer work. If present, should be slightly higher than the point of the elbow, and adjustable.

With your chair properly adjusted as above, if your feet are not supported well, use a footrest.

If you’re typing off copy (books or papers), they should be brought up to monitor height by using a document holder. In a pinch you can use a clipboard. Never flat!

For moderate to frequent phone use, a headset is recommended. Don’t hold between ear and shoulder.

Lastly, remember to sit all the way back in your chair and pull it up close to your work.

Happy computing!!!