There are several major factors in creating a healthy work environment.
While you can adjust most other elements of your workstation, your desk is usually the only part you can't adjust. Because of this, it's important to choose the right one before setting everything else up.
A good desk should meet the following standards:
- Firm, stable and level
- Surface of desk should be about five inches above the top of your thighs
- Desk top should be deep enough to support your wrists and around half your forearms
The best sort of chair to use is an adjustable office-style chair. With these it is simple to change the height and set everything perfectly for your body. You can still make adjustments to an ordinary chair using cushions, for example, but it's important it is high enough and supports your back.
- The height of the chair should let your thighs be parallel to the floor
- Your lower back should be properly supported at all times
- If you chair has arm rests, they need to support your arms so they are parallel to the floor
- Your feet should rest comfortably flat on the floor. If this is not possible you will need a foot rest such as a small stool or box
- Your screen should be directly in front of you
- The top of the screen should be level with your eyes
- There should be a distance of about two foot between your eyes and the monitor
- Your monitor should be positioned so there is minimal glare or reflection on it
- Don't position your screen so bright lights or windows are behind it
- Adjust the brightness and contrast levels so the screen is not overly bright or dark
- Take a short break away from the screen at least once an hour
- Try to sit with a straight back, with your head, shoulders, elbows and hips all in a straight line
- If you notice any aches, get up and move around. Check your chair is properly adjusted
Your work environment:
- Don't store things under your desk
- Ensure everything you need is within easy reach of your working position
- Keep your workplace as well ventilated as possible.
- If you have a desktop rather than a tower, you can increase the height of your monitor by sitting it on top of the computer's case
- Raise the height of your monitor by sitting it on large hardback books or sturdy boxes
- Increase the support your chair gives by placing a cushion or folded towel against the lower back area
- Invest in a document holder if you work frequently from paper copies. This is much better for your back and neck in the long run
- If you need glasses, consider varifocal lenses designed for computer use. Over a long period of time, these can be better for your eyes
- If you use your computer for long periods of time, it's a good idea to use gel keyboard and mouse wrist supports. These will help to alleviate the symptoms of repetitive strain injury