Setting up your workstation properly is crucial. Even with well-designed and adjustable equipment, if the setup is not correct, awkward postures are likely which will increase the risk for injury.
Ensure you follow the tips listed below to ensure the proper ergonomic workstation setup. Contact CSU’s Ergonomic Program Coordinator, (970) 491-2724 with any questions.
The chair is one of the most used pieces of equipment in the office and needs to be adjusted to fit correctly. A poor fitting chair can have many detrimental effects on posture. Ensure the chair adjustments are understood and it is adjusted and used correctly. Even when a chair is adjusted correctly to fit the body, it may not be used in the most beneficial manner. Movement is crucial. We often sit in static posture without movement and are told to ‘sit up straight’ when this is not the most ideal way to sit. Review the below video for a brief illustration on sitting and the use of “dynamic” postures.
The top of your computer monitor should be placed at or slightly below seated eye level and about an arm’s length away. Ensure the size of the text on the screen can be seen without straining the eyes and without leaning forward with the back or neck.
Use of more than one monitor requires consideration of the duration of use the monitor is used. If using two monitors they should be placed as close to one another as possible and if used equally, they should be arranged so that the split between the two is right in the middle of the body to help minimize neck twisting. If using one predominantly, that monitor should be placed directly in front of the body with the less frequently used monitor to either side.
Recommended Dual Monitor Setup
Document holders should be positioned at eye level close to the monitor. If using more than one monitor, it is recommended that the document holder be positioned below the monitor and above the keyboard to minimize excessive and repetitive awkward neck postures.
The keyboard and mouse should both be at about elbow height or slightly lower, allowing the shoulder and upper back to relax and the shoulders and upper arms to hang naturally by your sides. Elbows should be in ~90-110° angles with the forearms about parallel to the ground. An ideal desk/table with an ideal ergonomic design should fit a majority of the working population to allow for ideal working elbow postures. Without this adjustment, elbow and shoulder postures may suffer which will increase the risk for injury with extended durations. Postures at the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand should be much the same whether sitting or standing.
The keyboard and mouse should allow for a straight wrist posture without bending up, down, left or right. If a wrist rest or palm rest is used, it should be of soft foam or gel material and should ideally only be used during rest periods. Avoid planting the wrists/palms on the rest for extended periods. Consider trying equipment in the ergo lab prior to purchase.
Avoid cradling the phone for extended durations. Use a headset or use the speaker phone.
Learn to adjust and use all of the furniture and equipment features at your workstation to improve your workstation setup, improve comfort and decrease risk for injury. Even with changes, do not ignore the injury risks and it is highly recommended to seek advice from an ergonomics specialist. Visit the ergo lab to try available equipment and receive further education on tools, equipment setup and ergonomics.