Ergonomic Desk Setups to Decrease and Prevent Pain

Ergonomic Desk Setups to Decrease and Prevent Pain

August 16, 2023

In the work-from-home era many of us spend a significant portion of our day at a desk, often in a room and setup that was not fully designed to be a full time work station. Over three years after the COVID shutdown I am still working with many of my clients to improve their work from home setups as the effects of poor ergonomics show up over time. Your desk setup can have an profound impact on your comfort, physical health, and productivity. You owe it to your body to listen to the messages it is sending you with pain and fidgeting to establish a better workstation. The range of issues that stem from or are exacerbated by poor work station setups includes: headaches, low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, eye strain, wrist pain, upper back pain, fatigue, foot and knee pain, hip pain, and more.

In a good workstation setup, the workspace is fit to the individual’s size and work functions. The key areas we focus on are monitor placement, keyboard and mouse placement, chair height, and desk height. Setting your monitors so that you face directly forward is ideal, and the height should be slightly lower than your forehead. If you are working with two monitors, the monitor placement should be based upon how often you use which monitor – if you spend equal time, the monitors can be placed angled in toward each other equally split on the right and left side. If one monitor is your primary, it should be centered on your desk. There may be other reasons to choose one monitor placement over another as well.

We always encourage a separate keyboard and mouse when working with laptop computers. This allows the monitor to be put into an ideal placement and for the keyboard and mouse to move to their most ideal position.

For chair and desk height, the placement height is dependent upon the individual’s height. Most chairs are adjustable height, so starting from the ground up feet should be able to be placed solidly on the ground with the knees slightly less than 90degrees bent. If this is not possible due to your height or your desk height, the addition of a foot rest is important. Desk height is often fixed, but if you have the option to obtain a sit-to-stand desk giving your body the opportunity to stand for even 5 minutes every hour will make a big difference for many postural pains.

Choosing good lighting, having an updated eye exam/glasses prescription, and assuring your monitor brightness and size settings will also help to assure you are able to maintain improved positioning throughout your work day.

Problem solving your unique workstation setup and your body’s needs is our specialty. You owe it to yourself to make your workstation work for you. Many adjustments can be made with your current equipment, and if you are investing in new furniture or a new monitor, getting advice before you purchase is the way to go!

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