Ergonomic Tips

  • Sit back fully in your chair with your spine against the backrest, hips slightly higher than knees, and your feet on the floor or footrest.
  • Shoulders relaxed with armrests providing support but not interfering with movement.
  • Keep upper arms in alignment with your torso; no forward reaching.
  • The keyboard/mouse height should be at or just below your elbow height.
  • Your wrists should be straight and not bent up/down or toward your thumb or little finger.
  • Your monitor(s) should be aligned to your keyboard without neck rotation.
  • Your monitor should be slightly above eye height without neck extension or flexion.
  • Your monitor can be about an arm’s length away.
  • If you use the telephone while writing or typing, you must use a headset or ear buds.
  • Document holders can assist with maintaining neutral neck positioning.
  • When standing, focus on movement rather than duration.
  • Sit in the chair with your feet, preferably, on the floor or on a footrest.
    Keeping your feet on a firm surface helps keep you back in your chair and receiving the full benefit of the backrest.
  • Sit back fully in the chair with your low back touching the backrest.
    Keeping an “intact lumbar curve” is your foundation for proper sitting posture.
  • Sit with your thighs slightly sloping downward, keeping knees below hip joint.
    This position promotes the natural lumbar curve.
  • Adjust the back of your chair so that the lumbar support is positioned at or below belt line.
    This is the location of your lumbar spinal curve.
  • If using armrests, allow a slight space between the elbow and the armrest.
    This avoids compression on your “funny bone” and avoids shoulder elevation.
  • There should be 2-3 fingers width between the edge of your seat and the back of your knees.
    This avoids compression on the backs of your thighs and calves.
  • Adjust your keyboard height (on the desk or keyboard tray) so that it is slightly lower than your elbow height.
    This promotes relaxed shoulders and neutral wrist position.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and your wrists straight while using the keyboard and mouse.
    Working in a neutral posture optimizes circulation.
  • Avoid “planting” your wrists on the wrist rest or desk.
    Compression or contact pressure is a risk factor for Repetitive Strain Injury.
  • It is best to use a “free floating” technique while keying (moving from your shoulders).
    This avoids compression.
  • With your upper arms at your side and your elbows at 90 degrees your fingers reach “home row”.
    This is a relaxed and neutral position.
  • “Connect-the-Dots” – Ears above shoulders above elbows.
    This is neutral position of the upper limbs and torso.
  • Lightly hold mouse or trackball.
    “Death grip” or “static holding” can cause strain on the hand, wrist, and forearm.
  • Be careful not to bend your wrist from side to side while using the mouse.
    Use the larger and stronger muscles of the shoulder.
  • Keep your mouse next to the keyboard.
    Over-extending your shoulder by reaching forward or to the side can cause strain.
  • The keyboard should be in line with the monitor.
    Be “squared” to your task. This avoids neck rotation.
  • Your “second set of eyes” (i.e. hip bones) must see the same thing as your eyes do.
    This avoids neck rotation and spinal torque.
  • Adjust the top of the monitor at eye level.
    This avoids neck flexion or neck extension.
  • If the monitor is larger than 17”, then the screen height may need to be slightly higher.
    This avoids neck flexion or neck extension.
  • If wearing progressive or bifocal glasses, the monitor height may need to be changed.
    Notice what part of the lens you are viewing the monitor from to avoid neck extension or neck flexion.
  • The monitor should be approximately arms length away from you.
    A good “rule of thumb” but does depend on your individual focal distance.
  • Orient the monitor perpendicular to a window.
    This avoids glare.
  • Avoid direct light from a task lamp on the monitor.
    This avoids glare.
  • Exercise your eyes: Eyes need to focus at different distances periodically. Use the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20 second break, look 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.
    This exercises your near and distance focus eye muscles.
  • Avoid cradling telephone handset between the neck and shoulder.
    This position causes compression and is a high-risk awkward posture.
  • Use a telephone headset if simultaneously using telephone and computer.
    Promotes optimal positioning and allows for free hand movement.
  • Keep frequently used items within the primary reach zone.
    Avoids over reaching.
  • Do not twist or reach for items.
    Avoids strain on the torso and shoulder muscles.
  • Incorporate micro breaks into your workday.
    Research supports this as a means to prevent repetitive strain injury – “Every 30 minutes, take a 30 second stretch break”.