With more people spending longer hours working at a computer terminal, the rate of strains and pains is on the rise. Ergonomics is the practice of arranging your workspace to develop a safe and comfortable work station. Avoid eye strain, neck pain and more, by simply setting up and using your computer in the healthiest, more ergonomic way possible.
Choose an adjustable chair which will enable you to sit at the optimal position for your physical attributes. To correctly position your chair, begin by pushing your hips as far back in the chair as possible. Adjust the height of your seat so that your feet are touching the ground with your knees equal to or slightly lower than hip level – use a footrest if necessary.
If your chair has armrests, these should enable you to position your arm with relaxed shoulders. Remove the armrests if they get your in your way.
Place your monitor directly in front of where you are sitting, rather than off-centre, as this may cause shoulder and neck pain due to twisting posture. You monitor should be approximately an arm’s length away from the back of your chair in order to avoid eye strain, however if you work with a large monitor (20”+), you should sit even further back.
Position the top of your screen on level with your eyes by either slightly lowering your monitor or raising your chair. By ensuring your screen isn’t too low, you will avoid having to tilt your head forward, causing neck pain. Similarly, you can avoid neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches caused by glare from overhead lighting by ensuring that your monitor isn’t too high.
Position your keyboard directly in front your body, centring your keyboard at the section you use most frequently. The height of your keyboard should leave you with relaxed shoulders, elbows at an angle of around 100 – 110 degrees, with straight wrists and hands.
Use a wrist rest to help you maintain correct wrist alignment. However remember to only use it to rest your palms when not typing.
Breaks and Rest Pauses
Even with your workstation arranged ergonomically, you should still avoid remaining in a static position for prolonged periods, as this inhibits blood circulation. Take a minute or two for a quick stretch every 20 to 30 minutes, then after each hour of work, take a break away from the screen. As well as giving your body a rest, don’t forget to periodically rest your eyes by looking away from your monitor and refocusing them on something else at a distance.