I think most of us realise that sitting is not very healthy for us, for our spines and for our heart/circulation. However, if our job requires us to be at a computer then read further for some ways to optimise you body. I will be going through some of the more common improvements in your desk ergonomics that you should be aware of.

Firstly, sit up straight (not over doing it, but no slouching please). Try to find pelvis neutral. You can have a chair with a back support if this works for you. Most desk and ergonomic assessments require this. However, personally I do like other types of chairs. Read below. The seat can often be tilted to different angles. Adjust if needs be to more horizontal level. Try not to lean more one side than the other. Keep 50/50 weight distributed through each of your buttocks.

Knees should be at the same height or lower than your hips. So have a look at your chair height to see if it’s adjustable, or use a saddle chair or what I call a ‘kneel sit’ chair. I’ve added some links to see what these look like, however, I am not affiliated with these brands- they are just for ideas.

Then set the computer monitor up. The top of the screen should be about eye height and your arm length away from you. Typically we find people look down too much. If using two screens then either have them equally to each side, or if you really only use one 90% of the time then have that in the midline. You can put your laptop up high and then have an external separate keyboard (you can find one of these pretty cheaply). Laptop heights are probably the worst thing I’ve found generally for desk ergonomics.

work ergonomics

The desk height and any arm rest should be elbow height (if you hung your arms down beside your body). Often these are too high, which is a risk factor for getting tennis elbow/golfers elbow. They should not be bent more than 90 degrees.

The keyboard should be easily reachable, with your elbows tucked in at your waist. Anything that you use frequently should be easily within reach without over stretching. This will ergonomically improve your shoulders and reduce rotator cuff issues, and neck strain.

Wrists work best when in a neutral ergonomic position, with no bend or twist in them. This prevents carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI in the forearms. Having gel wrist supports can help if prone to dropping your wrists when typing. The mouse is another piece of equipment to factor in. I have found many clients like other versions inc vertical mouse, tracker ball mouse, and joystick. This can give you options especially if you are prone to carpal tunnel or RSI.

Don’t forget about your feet! They should be placed on the floor flat. Not crossed, not knee over the other knee, flat on the floor! There are foot rests that desk workers find helpful, especially if you have little legs that can’t reach the floor or feel like they need support.

If you use paper documents whilst on the computer, think about the lighting, reflections, and position of the document. Place it directly underneath or to the side of your screen, for minimal neck movement. Use a document holder if you can (or fashion from a cook book recipe holder).

So, whilst this might look beautiful, tidy and clean….I’m screaming inside, going nooooooo, awful desk ergonomics!

bad desk ergonomics