Working from home? 3 tips for the ideal ergonomic desk setup
Why does it matter?
A well set up workspace is essential for a long career at the desk by reducing the amount of strain placed onto the neck, shoulders, back and legs. Let’s break down the 3 key components required for the perfect ergonomic setup.
When it comes to monitor setup there are a few tweaks you should think about, such as the monitor position, screen display and screen height.
Monitor position should be placed in such a way where it does not cause arching of the neck or protrusion of the chin. By having this adjusted properly it reduces the amount of tension your muscles have to put up with.
The font size on the display screen should be large enough so words can be read easily without the need for squinting or straining of the eyes.
Much like the monitor position, correct screen height is important to prevent poor neck posture which may lead to injury if not addressed properly.
Those who prefer a Dual monitor set ups should apply the single monitor adjustments and should ensure the main monitor is placed directly in front to decrease the amount of twisting. Additionally, if you are using two different devices for example a desktop and a tablet both screens should be of equal height.
There are two components of the chair being the backrest and armrest which you should consider adjusting to achieve the perfect ergonomic setup.
The back rest should be positioned in a way where the entire back should be supported. Especially the lower back such that the lumbar support fits snugly to match the curve of the lower back.
The back rest should also be tilted backwards so that it sits at an angle between 100 – 120 degrees. This allows for the body to be in the best position for proper spinal alignment. For jobs that require long hours of sitting you may benefit from “free-floating” back support. This allow the back support to move between a certain range as you lean into the back rest and keeps you moving.
Chairs can come either with or without arm rests. Whether you should have an armrest is dependent on how it impacts your workspace, let’s go through that now. The primary function of armrests is to allow support for your forearms while working and to help you get in and out of the chair.
Important things to look out for when considering whether your armrests are doing more harm than good is if they:
- Stop you from getting close to your desk
- Prevent you from using your keyboard and mouse comfortably
- Stop you from turning the chair
- Cannot be height adjusted
- Cause you to lean sideways because they are too low
If any of the above apply consider removing your armrests.
You could have all the best equipment measured out perfectly to fit your body but without good sitting posture your ergonomic set up won’t be nearly as effective. Let’s breakdown the key things you should be thinking about when you’re sitting at the desk.
For ideal sitting posture you should be thinking about the position of 4 key areas. In particular the head, shoulders, hips and feet. The head should be comfortably positioned between the shoulders without tilting towards any one side. Additionally, the ear should sit in line with the shoulder and the shoulders positioned above the hips.
Lastly, the feet should be planted flat on the floor to provide a stable base of support for the rest of the body.
If you’re considering a standing desk make sure that you’re getting one which can adjust between a standing to a sitting desk. Either sitting or standing in one position for too long is less than ideal! The key takeaway is to keep moving and to try minimise the amount of time you spend in one position.