How to Optimize Office Ergonomics

Many of us rely on computers to help us work. No two people are the same, and ergonomics strives to fit the task to the person doing it.

This office ergonomics post is intended to guide you in a self-assessment of the ergonomic design of your computer workstation. Both Physiotherapists and Chiropractors are able to look at photos of your at your work station and make helpful changes.

Adjust your seat height until your feet are flat on the floor. Your thighs are parallel to the floor, hips and knees are at 90 degrees.

Adjust your seat pan until there are 2-3 finger width of space between the back of your knee and the edge of the seat.
The seat pan tilt angle should also be parallel to the floor.

Adjust the back rest until the lumbar support fits into the curve in your lower back (if not possible, use a pillow or rolled towel). Your backrest angle should promote a hip angle of 90-110 degrees (have someone take a photo from your side). Adjust the armrests to achieve an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow, while your shoulders are relaxed.

Sit close to the keyboard and mouse so that your upper arms hang in a relaxed position.
The keyboard height should promote relaxed shoulders and elbow angle at 90 degrees.
Angle the keyboard platform slightly downward in a negative tilt, if able. This will help to keep your wrists straight.

Do not put the mouse where you must stretch to the desk or out to the side of a keyboard to reach it.

If the keyboard prevents you from bringing the mouse closer, consider a compact keyboard.

Move the mouse from the elbow, rather than from the wrist.

Adjust the monitor so your natural gaze falls about the top 1/3 of the length of the screen (where possible). The distance between you and the monitor should roughly be arms length away.

One of the best ways to prevent discomfort and fatigue is to take and ergo break - a position change every 20-30 minutes lets joints and tissues that have been working to recover and rest. Muscles that remain in a static posture will fatigue, circulation will decrease, and you will notice discomfort. This may mean taking a short pause in activity to focus on a different task, rest your eyes, and most of all, change position.