Tips for setting up your ergonomic workstation:
Correct placement of you monitor and keyboard can reduce eye, arm, back, shoulder and neck fatigue. Improper posture caused by an inadequate chair or a chair that is improperly adjusted along with awkward hand and keyboard positions can result in early day fatigue. Long periods of repetitive work can lead to hand, neck, and back pain and ultimately injury. Ergonomics is the applied science focused on human use. Ergonomics provides an array of information critical to the design and proper use of office equipment, furniture and computer accessories.
Adjust the height of your chair so your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust the back support so your back is firmly supported and angled slightly backward while your feet are fully supported on the floor or a footrest.
The height for your keyboard and mouse, should be set so your hands, wrists and forearms are in a straight line and are level with your elbows when your arms are comfortably at your sides.
The top of the monitor screen should be even with your forehead and directly in front of you. A good rule of thumb is an arms length distance. Your eyes should look slightly dowward, approximately 15º to 30º.
If you use bifocals, lower the monitor below eye level and turn the screen upward, tilt the screen back 30º to 45º.
Remember that even if your workstation is set up properly, you can still experience muscle fatigue from being in the same position too long. Muscles are meant for movement not to hold static positions. It is important to periodically adjust your chair and change positions to help avoid fatigue. Be sure to stand and stretch your back and arms periodically.
Features of a quality ergonomic chair:
- Steel frame construction is the foundation for the longest lasting and most durable chairs. Automotive inspired designs provide the best overall support and must be strong to pass government safety standards.
- Firm backrest design with angle adjustment. Many chairs have backrests that "flop" around. The backrests based on automotive designs lock into position so the backrest and seat cushion become fixed. This provides solid back support.
- Air lumbar adjustment. A triple chamber design is preferred. This design tends to be self-equalizing as it will spread the support and not feel like a ball pressing on your lower back.
- Height and angle adjustable headrest. A good design allows you to kick-back and relax your neck periodically.
- Adjustable armrests that can be lowered or flipped up out of the way. The best designs offer a solid feel when pressure is applied. Poorly designed armrests can feel "springy" or flop back and forth. Many persons use the armrests to help themselves out of the chair. Inferior designs can move unpredictably when pushing yourself out of the chair.
- Seat height and tilt adjustable. Nearly all manufacturers offer adjustable seats today.