Proper work station set-up is an important part of maintaining
proper postural alignment and to avoid orthopedic injuries.
Here are some tips to help you set up and utilize your work station
-Start by sitting in an adjustable chair with mid and low back
-Sit upright all the way back in the chair so that the natural
curvature in your spine is supported.
-The height of the chair should enable your feet to be flat on
the floor with your knees bent at about 90 degrees.
-Your hips should be slightly higher or on an even plane with
knees. Your hips should not be lower than your knees as this
puts excessive stress on the low back.
-If the chair reclines, it may be angled on a 10-15 degree tilt,
but an excessive recline will encourage poor postural
-When using the keyboard and mouse, shoulders, elbows, and
wrists should be relatively relaxed.
-This usually requires an articulating keyboard tray that lowers
and tilts the keyboard as needed.
-Shoulders should not be elevated and your upper arms and elbows
should be at sides when typing and mousing.
-Elbows should be bent at 75-90 degrees.
-Wrists should be relatively neutral without flexion or
-The chair should be able to slide in comfortably under the
keyboard tray so that thighs are positioned under the tray.
Therefore, avoid using chairs with excessively long arm rests.
-If the chair has armrests, then do not put constant and
excessive pressure through elbows and forearms while working as
this may lead to nerve compression and numbness, tingling, and pain
in the arms and hands.
-The monitor should be positioned on the desk directly in front
-The height of the monitor should promote upright posture so
that if you draw an imaginary line from your eyes to the monitor,
it should be at the top 1/3 of the screen.
-If your eyes are above the monitor screen, then a monitor stand
-If bifocals are used, then the monitor should be slightly below
eye level with the screen tilted upward.
-The monitor should be at a comfortable distance so that you are
not struggling to see. This is typically at about 20 inches
from your face and no more than an arms length.
-Avoid glare on the monitor screen. If this is a
persistent problem, then the office may need window blinds or the
room may need to be re-arranged.
-If you are consistently having difficulty seeing secondary to
poor illumination, then you may need a light fixture with an
incandescent bulb, (as opposed to fluorescent), on the desk.
Other Helpful Recommendations
-Laptop computers should not be used for long periods of
time. The compact size of a laptop does not promote proper
postural alignment. Docking stations with external keyboards
can be used to connect to your laptop for longer term
-If your job requires you to use the computer and the telephone
at the same time, then you need a headset.
-If you need to transpose information from a paper document to
the computer, then you need a document stand. Place the stand
at about the same plane and distance from you as the monitor.
An adjustable document holder in line with the computer is best as
it reduces eye strain.
-A footrest is typically not required to maintain good work
station ergonomics, but it may be comfortable and promote improved
positioning for some people.
-A back support on the chair is also recommended at times.
This may also be more comfortable and help to promote improved
positioning for some people.
-Try to avoid sitting in a stationary position for greater than
30-60 minutes. (Try to change tasks for a few minutes, such
as filing or standing to talk on the telephone.)
-Keep yourself well hydrated. This not only keeps muscles,
joints, and organs healthy, but it will give you an excuse to get
up to go to the bathroom once in awhile. Remember it is
healthier to change positions than to sit in a stationary position
-Items that you need to use frequently while seated, (such as
telephone, writing utensils, paper/pads), should be placed within a
comfortable less than arms length distance so that you are not
reaching an excessive distance and putting increased stress on low
back and upper extremity joints.
-Other items that you do not need to use as often should be
placed farther away so that you need to stand up and change
positions to get to them.
-Have lighting that adequately illuminates the keyboard, monitor
screen, and workstation in order to avoid eye strain. Avoid
glare on the monitor screen.
-Clean work surfaces weekly.
-Your therapist may also have some exercises that you should
perform intermittently throughout your workday in order to
maintain circulation, flexibility, and comfort.