Proper Ergonomic Desk Workstation Setup – What You Need to Know
Many occupations cause people to spend most of their day sitting at a desk which can be very damaging to the body over time if the proper positioning is not considered when setting up a workstation. It is very common to sit incorrectly for hours on end at a desk without thinking of the havoc you may be causing to your back, neck, shoulders, wrists, and other areas of your body. Proper Ergonomic Desk Workstation Setup can make a significant difference in your body conditioning.
You may not realize just how unfriendly the area that you work in may be until you begin to feel a strain from repetitively sitting in the wrong position. Repetitive strain injury or RSI can develop from constantly keeping your body in a slouched position, your shoulders tense, and your wrists in an unhealthy place for an extended period of time. You may even pinch a nerve from sitting improperly and causing your body discomfort at your workstation. Here are some essential items to keep in mind when you’re sitting at your desk at the office or at home:
Many people think that buying an ergonomic chair means spending an obscene amount of money when in reality you just have to make sure that your seat contains the following:
- Armrest: Your chair should have a place for you to rest your arms when you’re not typing. The armrests should be low enough to keep your elbows bent and your shoulders relaxed in as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.
- Comfortable cushion: The most basic feature to look for when thinking about a comfort is a proper cushion to sit on. A hard chair isn’t good for your body, especially when you’re sitting for 8 hours or more each day.
- Adjustable height: It’s way easier to adjust the seat height than it is to change the height of your desk. Adjusting your seat so that your thighs are parallel to your feet (which should be resting flat) and the floor. Make sure that your arms are also parallel to the top of your desk (or the area where your keyboard is).
- Back Rest: The very first thing you should look for when buying a chair, is that it will provide the proper support for your back. You want to make sure that you can adjust the angles on the backrest and not just the height of your chair. Generally, the angle of the backrest has the ability to be moved forward enough to keep your posture up. The further back it is, the more likely it is that you will end up slouching.
- Lumbar support: Our backs naturally have an inward curve so the back part of our chair shouldn’t be vertical. Instead, we should have something that pushes us forward for proper support of our lower backs. You can purchase a lumbar support add-on for your chair (very inexpensive) that will not only support your back but also prevent spine injury.
- Wheels: Your chair should have wheels that give you the ability to swivel so that when you’re reaching for an item or turning around to respond to someone, you don’t put any strain on your upper body. Widening your space can work wonders when your ability to swivel is smooth, and you can move around without having to turn your head in an unnatural way.
Ergonomic Desk Workstation Setup
Placing your keyboard, monitor, and mouse anywhere on your desk is not going to help you maintain a good workstation setup. You should put your keyboard and mouse as close together as possible with the alphanumeric portion of your keyboard centered on the desk. So be aware of the placement of the keys themselves and not just the keyboard as a whole. Focus on the “B” key, and make sure it is in the middle of your desk and right in front of where you’re sitting. If the desk has a sliding keyboard tray, you should adjust your chair’s position and height to match these instructions. If you do have a sliding tray, make sure your mouse lays right on the tray as well. The height of your keyboard and mouse must cause a 90-degree angle bend of your elbows so that your wrists aren’t bent when you type.
Monitors may not be super adjustable but if you have the opportunity to choose the monitor, try to select one that lets you maneuver the height and the position of the screen. Alternatively, you can purchase a monitor stand that will help you adjust the positioning of the screen. You want your monitor to be positioned at eye level and about an arm’s length in distance from where you sit. If it’s an adjustable monitor, tilt it so that there is no glare. If it can’t tilt, adjust the settings so that the lighting is just right for you and you’re not forced to lean forward or to your sides to see properly.
Besides keeping your workstation “ergonomic,” you still have to be mindful of your posture when you’re working, or you will never benefit from a proper ergonomic desk workstation setup. Pay attention to the positioning of your head, your back, your wrist, and your legs at all times. If need be, place a small post-it note on our monitor that read “check your position” so that each time your eyes cross it, it reminds you to check your overall posture.