The perfect ergonomic workspace – right in front of you!
How often do you find yourself leaning over your desk with a hunched back and tense shoulders? What usually follows are aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and back, which can lead to long-term injury. A good office chair and the right desk are a good foundation for a better and healthier working position. These should be supplemented with ergonomic desk accessories designed to relieve strain.
How to set up an ergonomic workstation
1. Office chair with armrests
Having the right chair is essential when working in an office, so you need to choose a comfortable chair with many adjustment features. Armrests that can be adjusted in height and width are recommended. Ideally, the armrests should sit close to the body so you don’t have to extend your arms in order to rest them: just short of the elbow is a good height for your shoulders to rest naturally. You should also be able to adjust the seat height and position of the backrest to suit your body. Choose a chair with a mechanism that follows your movements and enables you to adapt your sitting position easily, such as a synchronous or asynchronous mechanism. A proper office chair will, of course, have wheels to prevent you overstretching while reaching things on or around your desk.
2. Sit-stand desk
Sitting in one position all day causes muscle strain that can lead to long-term health problems and pain. The best ways to address this are by sitting correctly in a chair that supports you properly and by switching between a sitting and standing position. Varying the strain placed on different muscle groups during the workday is important, as is making time for rest and recovery. This goes for both brain and muscles. A height-adjustable desk is ideal for modifying your work area to allow both standing and sitting work. It is also a good way to ensure your desktop is at the right height for you, no matter how tall you are or what type of chair you have. If you do stand at your desk, a standing desk mat is essential to prevent pain in your lower joints.
3. Monitor arm
Computer screens should be placed at arm’s length with the top edge in line with your eyes. This position means that your eyes are angled slightly downward and don’t dry out as quickly. If the screen is placed too high, you will shift your head and raise your chin to be able to gaze downward, which leads to a bad sitting position and pain in the neck and shoulders. To achieve good ergonomics, use a monitor arm that can be adjusted vertically and moved forward, backward, sideways so you can angle it correctly. This also means the screen can be adapted to different users more easily.
4. Document holder
Having printed documents to read alongside computer work is not uncommon. Placing a document holder between the keyboard and computer screen lets you read papers more efficiently without having to bend your neck. Then you can focus your gaze back and forth between paper and screen without straining your neck muscles.
5. Forearm support
Forearms and wrists should rest on the desktop while you are typing so the muscles can relax. Using a desk forearm support will help you achieve this ergonomic position easily when working at your desk. The support works with both standard and low-profile keyboards to prevent your wrists from tilting upwards while you type. This helps to relax the muscles in your shoulders, arms and wrists, and prevent repetitive strain injuries.
When sitting at your desk, you should be able to rest your feet flat on the floor while sitting back in your chair in order to take pressure off your thighs. This might not be possible if your desk or chair are not right for you, but a footrest can provide a simple solution. For the best support, the footrest should be height-adjustable and able to follow the angle of your feet. This improves your circulation and reduces pressure on the leg muscles and nerves. Plus, the raised position of your feet means a more ergonomic seating position as you’ll be able to sit back in your office chair without slouching, allowing the backrest to fully support your back in order to improve posture and reduce tension.