Here is how to start with a proper ergonomic set up.
Is your chair’s height adjustable?
- Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- The knees should be slightly lower than the hips.
- Do not compromise your correct seating position to achieve the correct height of the monitor and keyboard (see below for monitor positioning).
Do you have an adequate back rest with lumbar support?
- Your buttocks should be against the back rest.
- You should lean into the backrest to take some weight off your spine.
- The lumbar support must be against the small of your back.
- The back rest should be in a vertical or near vertical position.
Do you change positions in the chair frequently?
- Ideally, you should stand up for at least a short stretch every 20-30 minutes.
Is your computer monitor directly in front of you?
- Looking to one side in order to view the monitor is detrimental to your neck.
Is the top of the monitor screen below eye level?
- A downward gaze of 20-50 degrees below horizontal has been found to be easier for the eyes to focus and accommodate.
- This also helps reduce forward head posture.
How far is your monitor positioned from your eyes?
- In general your eyes should be about 25 inches or more from the monitor.
- It should be as far as possible while still being able to read it clearly.
Have you positioned the monitor so that glare is reduced?
Is your keyboard positioned to allow your wrists and shoulders to rest?
- Your keyboard should be at elbow height or slightly lower.
- Your knuckles should be level with, or slightly lower than, the wrists. This places the wrists in a restful position.
- The forearms should be horizontal or tilting slightly downward.
- Your shoulders should not have to creep up (tensing your trapezius muscles) in order to keep your wrists in a resting position.
Your mouse should be on the same level as your keyboard.
Note: The points in this checklist are to be taken as guidelines only. Each of them should be considered. Allowances must be made for individual physical characteristics and tolerances.
Suggestions made in this publication are no substitute for medical advice. If you have any pain or difficulty performing the described stretches, seek advice from your appropriate health professional.
About the Author
Domenic Lopez B.Sc., Certified Exercise Physiologist, licensed Massage Therapist, is owner and operator of Healthy Moves, a private practice where massage therapy and movement education help you achieve better living.