An ergonomically designed workspace fits its user and helps prevent repetitive strain injuries that can result in long-term disability. Not only does ergonomics improve health, it makes workers more productive. It is not difficult to convert any work desk into an ergonomic area.
You will need:
- Adjustable chair
- Computer monitor, mouse, and keyboard
- Gel-style keyboard wrist rest
- 2 gel-style mouse wrist rests
- 1×4 or 2×4 pieces of wood
- Empty cans or bed risers (if needed)
- Stepstool, foot rest, or box (if needed)
- Small box or CD rack (if needed)
Step 1: Adjust the desk chair so your feet rest flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do this every time you sit in the chair because the height will vary with the type of shoes worn. If possible, women should remove high heels when sitting at their desks.
Step 2: If the desk is too high for the seat to be adjusted so the feet rest on the floor, use a stepstool, footrest, or box under the feet. Adjust the chair so the feet rest flat on this item.
Step 3: If the knees are higher than the hips, place the wood scraps under the chair, as long as it is not a wheeled chair. Alternatively, purchase a taller chair. The knees and legs should be at a 90-degree angle to each other.
Step 4: Adjust the desk height until the elbows are at a 90-degree angle when seated at the desk. The shoulders should never be raised when working at the desk. Lower the desk legs or raise the chair so the shoulders are neutral. If you must lean over to rest forearms on the desk, raise the desk using the wood or bed risers or lower the seat.
Step 5: Keep the computer monitor at eye level. The neck should not need to be raised or lowered to view the monitor. Put the monitor on a CD rack or small box if it needs to be raised.
Step 6: Alternate hands when using the mouse and use the mouse pads when pushing the mouse. When the mouse is moved, the wrist should be straight. If may be necessary to put the mouse pad under the forearm near the elbow.
Step 7: When typing, the wrists should be straight and the keyboard wrist rest should be used. If the keyboard is placed far from the desk edge, put the wrist rest under the forearms near the elbows. A drawer holder for a keyboard may not be the proper height and should not be used unless it is ergonomically correct.