Ergonomics is the study and implementation of how to make work more comfortable and efficient. By assessing and changing a few key things, Ergonomists can prevent or reduce the pain and discomfort that arise from a work station that is not set up for you.


Here are a few conditions that can occur without proper ergonomics:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Back/neck/shoulder pain
  • Tendonitis/tendinosis
  • Headaches


Ergonomics apply to any work or play situation where you are in one position for over 2 hours. Although this can apply to driving, standing or sports, I am going to give you a few tips to assess and improve your computer work station set up.



MC Morgan flickr


1)         Your chair

  • Your knees should be in line with your hips or each at 90 degrees, with your feet flat on the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, tuck a footrest underneath your feet. This prevents low back strain, cramping in your legs and thighs, and the slumping of your body to one side.
  • Use an adjustable chair. Get comfortable with its features and make adjustments regularly. This ensures your chair is supporting you as much as possible. By knowing how your chair works and what is the best set up for you, you are more likely to apply it to new set ups.

2)         Your computer screen


  • The top of your computer screen should be slightly below eye level so that you look down with your eyes to the middle of the screen.
  • This prevents straining your neck and eyes.
  • Have the monitor about an arms length away. The bigger the screen, the further away it should be.
  • This also prevents neck strain and shoulder hunching.

Exception: If using bifocals, lower the monitor below eye level and turn screen upward, tilting it back 30° to 45°.


3)         Your keyboard


  • The center-line of the keyboard should be level with the height of your elbow.
  • Your elbows should be between 75 and 90 degrees. While you type, you should be able to comfortably rest your elbows/arms and type without having to hold up your shoulders.
  • This prevents tension and strain building up in your shoulders and neck.
  • Tilt the keyboard about 10 degrees. This allows your wrists to be in a neutral position while you type. This prevents Carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injuries.


4)         Extras

  • Keep moving! Get up every hour. Whether we are in the best or worst ergonomic position, we are not designed to sit for long periods of time. Moving around allows any stiffness build up to dissipate and you can recharge your energy.
  • Position whatever you are doing most directly in front of you. Twisting can create some nasty low back strains.
  • STRETCH!! Either sitting at your desk or while you are up and about. This goes hand-in-hand with moving around. Here is a great link that will help you keep up your stretching.


If you have an HR department, they often have an Ergonomists that they call in to help get you set up, so be sure to talk to them. Or you can look around and find someone to help.



For more information or questions, please feel free to contact me.