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Can't get comfortable at your workstation? Follow these Ergonomic tips by an Ergonomic Consultant!

Updated: May 17, 2021

These tips will help how your desk should be set


Your Feet

Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a foot rest if the chair height means you can not reach the floor with your feet. If your legs are hanging down it puts stress on your back and pulls you forward on your seat into an incorrect posture. If you need your chair up higher due to the desk height then use a foot stool to place your feet on.


Hips and Knees

Your knees should be a little below your hips or at the worst level with your hips. You may need a wedged cushion to achieve this posture but it is much more comfortable. The end of the seat should not push into the back of your knees.


Bottom

You need to sit right back in your chair with your bottom firmly wedged in. This allows the posture support of the back of the chair to support your low back and improve your posture. Do not perch on the front of the chair under any circumstances, sit back in the chair and move it closer to the desk.


Back

Your lower back should be supported by the backrest of the chair and your upper back should be upright and straight. This will help to stop upper back and shoulder pain.


Elbows and Wrists

Your elbows should be at a right angle or slightly down sloping with your wrists a little below your elbows. Your wrists should have minimal bend and you should not be resting your weight on the wrists while typing or using the mouse. Your keyboard should be directly in front of you and the screen to stop you from twisting your body to reach it.


Head and Neck

The top of your monitor should be at eye level so your can look at the whole monitor with minimal head movement. If it is too high or low then having to look up or down for periods of time puts strain on your neck and can cause pain. The monitor should be straight in front of you so you are not looking to the side and twisting your spine.


The Mouse

Your mouse should be kept close top your body and is ideally placed right next to the keyboard. If your are reaching out to the mouse you are causing a lot of strain on your whole arm and upper back and in my experience is the number one reason for office related shoulder and arm pain. A wireless mouse makes it a lot easier to keep it close with minimal disruption to the functioning of your desk.


The Desk

The desk should be at about belly button height or just a little below this level to allow the elbows and wrists to be in the correct position while using the keyboard and mouse. You may need to raise your chair to get it to this height but don’t forget your feet need support when you do. Variable work stations for standing and sitting are also now available.


Move About

While sitting it is impossible to maintain this ideal posture for long periods of time. We shift about and move to ease pressure areas on our bottoms and move our feet into different positions from time to time as well. This is a good thing and should be encouraged but it can be done while maintaining the basics of good seating position. The back vitalisers available at our clinics are an excellent way to encourage gentle mobility while sitting. Remember good posture is vital to avoiding pain and discomfort. You should also get up at least once every hour and walk around or do a small chore to ease the pressure on your body.


The Phone

If your are on the phone a lot get a headset to avoid having your neck over the one side as we all tend to lean to the side when talking.


Laptop Computers

Laptops were designed for short term and mobile use and not to be used all the time. The keyboard is too small and the screen too low to be using it all day while sitting at a desk.

There are 2 options to fix this. You can get a laptop stand that has a wireless keyboard and raises the height of the screen. This means your keyboard becomes a comfortable size again. The second option is to plug your laptop into a monitor, keyboard and mouse at your workstation and use it like a desktop computer.



How Do I Book an Ergonomic Assessment?

North Sydney Clinic - (02) 9423 0511

or

www.urbanphysiotherapy.com.au

www.urban-ergonomics.com.au

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