Tips on making your workspace ergonomic
When you work in front of your computer all day long, minor inconveniences can turn into painful problems. Things like screen glare, low chairs and narrow desks can all eventually lead to fatigue and muscle/joint pain.
Here’s a brief guide on making your workspace more ergonomic (comfortable) and avoiding injury and strain.
How high should my desk be?
Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your wrists level and shoulders relaxed.
Regular tables are often too high to find an ergonomic position, so height-adjustable desks or tables are best.
An adjustable keyboard tray is also an easy solution to the height problem but needs to have enough space for a mouse.
Which chair should I choose?
With an adjustable chair, you can stay level with your desk. Just be careful: your feet should rest flat against the floor or a footrest.
Avoid cutting off circulation to your legs, which occurs if your legs dangle over the edge because your seat is too high.
If it’s in your budget, pick an adjustable office chair with good back support that lets you change your position. Gaming chairs are also very comfortable, as long as they don’t prevent you from using your keyboard.
Remember that you’ll be spending most of your day sitting, so if you don’t have air conditioning, pick a chair made of breathable material such as mesh.
What is the best screen position?
If you wear glasses, it might be hard to position your screen ergonomically. (Tell your optometrist that you work on a computer the next time you buy a pair of glasses.)
Ideally, you should keep your screen at arm’s length (about 18 inches). The top of the screen should be at eye level. If it’s too high, you’ll strain your neck trying to look at it; too low and your posture will be affected.
If you use a laptop, get a laptop stand and keyboard.
If you have a big screen or multiple screens, adjust the distance so you don’t have to twist your neck.
Should I consider changing my keyboard and mouse?
Definitely! Pick a comfortable keyboard and mouse that fits easily into your hand. Since you use these two peripherals the most, they can become a major source of discomfort—ever use a mouse for a while that’s too small for your hand?
What should I do about lighting?
You need good lighting to stay motivated, be visible in video conferences and prevent eye strain. Take your time adjusting the lighting and add lamps, if necessary.
Make sure there’s no screen glare, otherwise you’ll quickly tire out your eyes. Likewise, avoid facing a window if it’s too close or bright.
Should I buy a standing office desk?
If it’s in your budget, it might be a good idea to get an adjustable standing desk. However, avoid spending the whole day standing, otherwise it can also become a source of discomfort.
Moving is important
It’s often hard to create a perfectly ergonomic workspace. Even if you succeed, it’s crucial that you move about regularly to stretch and stimulate blood flow. Just don’t walk near the fridge. That’s even worse!