Guide to Comfortable and Ergonomic Computer Station
Many of us spend hours at our desks every day, and while it may look like an easy thing to do, it’s no secret that this kind of lifestyle can wreak havoc to our body. Hundreds of researches and studies show the danger of sedentary lifestyle, and while more and more people are switching into standing desks, sit-stand desks, and even treadmill desk, many are still chained to their traditional desk. If for some reason you can’t or you don’t have the luxury to stand in your workstation, your best available option is to make your work space as comfortable and as ergonomic as possible. Here at Dual Monitors Guide, we always strive to provide our readers the best solutions for their workstation.
(image from Amazon)
Working on a computer can indeed, hurt our body in a lot of ways. With that in mind, this entry will teach you how to setup an ergonomic and healthy workspace to keep you comfortable and free from injury throughout your time at work. But before we go to the details, it is important that you know the things you should NOT do in your workstation.
- Don’t use a desk without a keyboard tray, or any setup that will not angle your keyboard correctly.
- Don’t place your keyboard on top of your desk.
- Don’t position your monitor above your head.
- Don’t sit in an upright and rigid position.
- Don’t lean forward as you work on your computer.
- Don’t sit for extended period of time on your chair without getting up and moving from time to time.
You should remember that ergonomics is personal. We all have different ergonomic requirements, and what works for others may not work for you. Also, only take ergonomic guidelines that are based on facts, experimentation, research and theories based on body mechanics. Now, let’s take a closer look on setting up your computer workstation the right way.
There are four areas you need to look for an ergonomic computer station; the monitor, keyboard & mouse, chair & sitting posture, and lighting. All these four should work hand-in-hand and should be in-sync with one another to help you maintain good posture and better your efficiency and productivity.
Acer B276HUL (image from Amazon)
- Put the monitor at the right angle in relation to your room’s light sources or windows to minimize glares and reflections. Glares and reflections can cause eye strain, which can definitely hurt your productivity.
- Position the monitor as far away as possible from your body, without compromising legibility. You should be able to maintain good posture and identify things and read the texts on your monitor without consciously focusing on it. Experts suggest keeping your display at 20-inches away from your eyes.
- Position the center of the screen at around 15° down angle from your eyes, your neck should be slightly bent with your head perpendicular to the floor.
- Align your monitor with your keyboard and mouse.
- Set your monitor’s refresh rate at 70 Hz to minimize flicker.
The Keyboard & Mouse
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard (image from Amazon)
- Your keyboard should be slightly below your elbow, at negative angle to allow your wrists to be straight when sitting in a slightly recline posture.
- Choose an ergonomic keyboard. It will help keep your wrist in the right position, alleviate stress from your wrist, and easy to type on, improving your typing performance.
- When active on typing, never use a wrist rest. Wrist rest, as its name suggest, is for resting your wrist, not for leaning while you work. Stay away from any hand and wrist support as you work on your keyboard, you need flexibility and freedom of movement.
- Do not tilt your keyboard up or and never tilt the keyboard tray so the back part is higher than the front. The stand located underneath your keyboard does more harm than good, as it forces your wrist to angle in an awkward position.
- Position your mouse on the same level and next to your keyboard.
- Your mouse should be in arc line of your keyboard, so you can easily reach for it by simply rotating your arm from your elbow.
- Like in the keyboard, never use a mouse rest for your mouse. Keep your forearm free from any restrictions to avoid any risk of wrist strain.
Capal tunnel prevention guide (image from spchiro.net)
SPACE Seating Professional Managers Chair (image from Amazon)
- Choose a chair with comfortable cushion system. This is the most obvious aspect you need from a chair – a hard chair isn’t going to be comfortable to work on. Also, choose a chair with breathable fabric.
- Choose a chair with arm rest and use that arm rest as you type on your keyboard and use your mouse. This is why you should keep your keyboard and mouse slightly below your elbow.
- Get a chair with good lumbar support. You want the natural curve on your back to be supported. Better yet, you can get a lumbar support and add it to your existing office chair. This accessory is as cheap as $5 to $10. Use your chair’s lumbar support slightly below your waist line.
- Opt for a swivel chair. The swivel function does more good things than you know – it lets you reach items on your desks easily, give you freedom of movement, etc.
- Your chair should let your feet rest completely on the floor. This is why it’s good to have an adjustable office chair. You can also use a stool to rest your foot.
- Allow at least 1 to 3 inches distance between the edge of your seat and back of your knees.
- If possible, choose a high back chair to get good support for your back and shoulders.
(image from PTRenew.com)
- Place your hips slightly higher than your knees while your feet are flat on the floor or on your footrest.
- Don’t keep your feet flat on the floor for long period of time, rather, move your feet often. Use your foot rest if you have, and never cross your ankles.
- Lean back to take stress off your lower back. Lean your torso back at around 100° to 130° parallel from the floor. This will take pressure off your pelvis by opening your hips. Make sure you choose a chair that will provide good support for your back and shoulders as you lean while still have that good lumbar support.
- Keep your head slightly perpendicular to the floor by holding it slightly up.
- Let your shoulders and arms hang naturally.
- Rest your elbow and forearm to your chair’s armrest at either slightly below or parallel to the floor.
- Keep your wrist at straight as you work on your keyboard and mouse.
- Your workspace’s lighting should be moderately bright (around 20 to 50 foot candles, similar to a nice day where you don’t need glasses).
- Never use task lighting when working on your computer.
- If possible, give your workstation a good light color by combining incandescent and fluorescent lights. This combination can also greatly reduce the flicker.
These are just basic guidelines that people from all body types and sizes can use. You should remember that we all have different body types and structure, which means each one of us have our own unique ergonomic requirements. Also, don’t forget to take frequent breaks when you work. A 10-minute break for every hour of work and 30-second micro breaks for every ten minutes can make a huge difference in your body’s health and energy level. Make sure you stretch frequently during your breaks, check out WebMD for office stretching and exercises tips. Also, don’t stay in one position for a long period of time. Rather, change your position often; move your body, your feet, arms, adjust your hips from time to time, and make sure you maintain the right posture throughout the day.
Here are some few reminders from CNET.
Get the freedom of movement you need for your workstation and save your body from the perils of long hours of sitting by being able to switch from sitting to standing with a sit-stand desk or sit-stand desk wall mounts. You can also choose desk mounts, wall mounts and workstations for a more versatile and ergonomic work space. These simple workstation upgrades can provide a big difference for your long-term health, work efficiency and productivity. For more computer workstation tips and workstation solution reviews, check out Dual Monitors Guide today!