Setting up your desk is an important tool in relieving stress on your body. Often long hours are spent sitting at desks working and studying which only emphasizes the need for a good desk setup. Taking a small amount of time to ensure your desk is set up correctly can help save you from your aches and pains.

We need to look at our chair, desk, computer & telephone setup.

Chair:

  1. Seat: Knees at approximately 90 degrees. Horizontal thighs and vertical legs. Flat-soled, or small-heeled shoes are the best with the feet sitting comfortably on the floor.
  2. Back Support: The backrest needs to be adjusted until a light supporting pressure is felt in the natural curve of the lower back. Too much pressure will push you out of the chair and too little will cause you to arch your back. As a rough guide 2 fingers should fit between the front of the chair and the back of the knee.
  3. Armrests: Generally not needed as they cause problems with desk height adjustments. If you do have them ensure they can easily fit under the desk or remove them.

Desk:

  1. Height: When your shoulders are relaxed and elbows at approx. 90 degrees, the desk should be just below the height of the elbows. Keep in mind the legs still need to be at approx. 90 degrees.
  2. Leg room: Do not store things under the desk, which cramps your leg space. This often puts your body into awkward positions causing injury.

Computer Setup:

  1. Keyboard: To minimize unwanted bending of the back and reaching forward with the arms the keyboard should be placed as close to the edge of the desk as possible. The keyboard feet are best lowered to minimize bending of the wrists. The elbows should still remain at approx. 90 degrees.
  2. Mouse: The mouse should be located directly next to the keyboard with a mouse pad to allow easy screen navigation. A good idea may be to learn how to use the mouse in both hands to minimize stress on the single hand. Avoid holding the mouse when it is not crucial to do so and ensure the mouse settings suit your needs.
  3. Computer screen:
    a. Height: The screen should be approximately at eye level when sitting in an upright position. Use books under the monitor to temporarily adjust the height of the screen.
    b. Distance: The screen should be about an arms length away from the user.
    c. Location: The screen should be positioned so as to minimize glare or reflections.
    d. Document holder: If using a document holder the best place for it is between the screen and the keyboard or on a slight angle to the screen where you can observe both at the same time.

Telephone:
The telephone should be placed on the same side you write within easy reach from your chair (as pictured in desk setup). Using a headset and preset telephone functions will be useful to minimize twisting or bending of your spine.

Important Points to Remember!!

  • Knees and elbows should always be at approximately 90 degrees.
  • Feet should be comfortably flat on the ground.
  • Elbows should be above the desk height, with wrists straight.
  • The computer screen should be at approximately eye level. Use books as a temporary boost to the screen height.
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