Setting Up Your Workstation

Setting Up Your Workstation


An ergonomically set up workstation is extremely crucial for promoting the workers’ efficiency as well as avoiding the occurrence of any work-related disorders.

In the further sections, we have outlined the various aspects of setting up a worker-friendly workstation, with details on each of the relevant aspects.

The Workstation Chair

According to research reports, on an average, an employee spends a minimum of 7 hours seated on the chair in his/her workplace. Hence, it is important that the below listed aspects are attended to in context of the same.

  • Height adjustment

    The height of the chair should be adjusted so that the when the fingers are put on the middle of the keyboard, the forearms and hands are horizontal. The elbows should be vertically under the shoulders and there should be no angle at the wrist.

  • Footrest

    The easiest assessment for this aspect is to see if the undersides of the thighs are compressed when sitting in a chair at an appropriate height. A footrest is often useful in such situations and can be made from a box, board, cushion or a piece of stiff foam.

  • Back rest – Height adjustment

    The height and angle of the backrest should be adjusted in a manner that the back is well supported in the work position. Similarly, the height of the backrest should also be adjusted so that it supports the lower back.

  • Depth adjustment

    If the worker can’t sit fully back and upright without the back of the knees hooking the front of the seat, the depth of the seat needs to be adjusted. A different chair with a shorter bottom-cushion is often helpful.

  • Armrests

    Opt for adjustable armrests instead of fixed-height armrests, since the latter force you to slump down. You can raise the short, fixed armrests by wrapping foam around them.

  • Headrests

    The headrests should be such that it should not require much of tilting and should not exert excessive pressure on the neck.

  • Free floating and reclining mechanism

    It is also important to select a chair that allows adjustable mechanism such as the free-floating mechanism to enable adjustment according to bodyweight.

The Desk or Table

In this section, we have discussed the main aspects of the different parts of a work desk, along with the most common problems faced and their solutions.

Key Aspects

  • Monitor

    The following guidelines should be observed when setting up the monitor:

    • Keep the monitor such that it gives you minimum strain and fatigue
    • Distance the monitor at a minimum of an arm’s length (20-26 inches) away
    • Keep the top of the viewing screen at eye level
    • Position the screen away from sources of glare such as windows

  • Document/Copy Holder

    A document or copyholder is an essential accessory, especially if the work involves a lot of reference to other material. The holder should be placed at an appropriate eye-level and an angle that causes minimum strain.

  • Keyboard/Mouse

    Ensure the following in context of the placement of the keyboard and mouse to avoid strain and fatigue.

    • Ears should be in line with tops of shoulders and the shoulders should be in line with hips
    • Upper arms should be relaxed and close to the body
    • Hands should be in straight lines with lower arms

  • Telephone Usage

    Avoid tucking the telephone between the neck and shoulder for prolonged durations. If your work involves excessive usage of the telephone, opt for a related accessory such as the hands-free kit.

  • Using the laptop

    The following guidelines are important for ensuring an optimum usage of the laptop:

    • If using frequently, consider buying either an external monitor or an external keyboard
    • For occasional use, position the computer in your lap for the most neutral wrist posture

Further links on computers and IT usage

Links to articles on Computers and Pain