Ergonomic Computer Workstation Setup

THE IMPORTANCE OF
CORRECTLY SETTING UP YOUR WORKSTATION



Prolonged computer use has the potential to cause physical discomfort, visual discomfort, stress and fatigue.

Physical discomfort can manifest as: pain, fatigue, muscle discomfort, stiffness, burning feelings, weakness, numbness or tingling. A correct ergonomic workstation set-up can minimise the likelihood of developing these symptoms from daily computer use. While a good set-up will encourage good posture and movement patterns, it is not a guarantee. Being mindful of your posture during the working day is equally vital, as is sensible management of your working hours to include task changes, position changes, scheduled breaks and regular pauses.

The information on this page provides you with a guide on how to set up your workstation to avoid the problems mentioned above that can arise from a poor workstation setup.

In the right-hand panel below are two links to PDF documents that you can print off and keep near your computer. The first is a PDF containing all the information found on this page and the useful diagram illustrating all the points explained below.

The second link is a useful collection of exercises you can perform throughout your working day to prevent the adoption of prolonged static postures that can lead to discomfort and bodily fatigue.

YOUR GUIDE TO ERGONOMIC WORKSTATION SETUP


Use the guides and illustrations below to help ensure your chair, computer monitor, mouse and keyboard, and any other items you utilise your working day, are correctly aligned to prevent physical discomfort, visual discomfort, stress and fatigue.

(1) The top of the computer monitor is at, or slightly above, eye level (your may need a riser to elevate the computer monitor to the appropriate height)

(2) The monitor is approximately an arm's length away

(3) The monitor and keyboard are centred in front of you (G & H keys in line with nose)

(4) Source document holder is between the monitor and keyboard or just beside the monitor

(5) The keyboard is close to edge of desk and not tilted

(6) The mouse is immediately next to the keyboard and loosely gripped

(7) A wrist-rest, if present, is used for 'resting', not leaning on while typing

(8) Your feet are flat on the floor (or on a foot rest)



(9) Position your hips as far back in your chair as possible so that your back is against the seat-back

(10) Your seat is at a height where your hips are slightly higher than your knees (your seat can be tilted forward slightly)

(11) Your spine is in an 'S' shape

(12) Your seat-back is upright or with a slight rear lean (90-110°)

(13) Your head is straight and eyes are looking at top 1/3 of the screen

(14) Your shoulders are relaxed but not slouched

(15) Your elbows are at your sides and at, or slightly above, desk height

(16) Your forearms and hands are supported with your wrists straight (not up/down/sideways)



TAKE REGULAR TASK BREAKS:


These need to be more often than morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. Short breaks away from the computer will prevent muscle fatigue. These could involve doing other work-related, but not computer-based, tasks. Aim for 5-10 minutes every hour. Breaks are a good opportunity to perform stretches or exercises too.


THE IMPORTANCE OF MICROPAUSES:


These are brief pauses taken while still at your workstation. Micropauses give your arm muscles a chance to relax. Get into the habit of fully relaxing your hands and arm muscles on the desk, arm rests, or hanging down at your sides when they are not in use. Make sure you do not continue to hold your hands up after typing has ceased or 'hover' over the mouse.