Back in January we discussed healthy habits at work. How is all that going? If one or two habits have stuck and you’re ever so slightly healthier and happier at work, we’ll consider that a win. But we won’t judge if you need a reminder from time to time. So, this month we’re jumping into ergonomic desk set up (in a little more detail.) But if you remember it all keep reading anyway… It’s always good to refresh the memory bank!

The ideal desk set-up involves a multi-million-dollar lottery win that means you only need to sit down occasionally for the odd bit of life admin, but since we live in reality…

The Set-Up

First and foremost, your chair is your best friend in this journey. Invest in one that supports your lower back and encourages good posture. Your feet should rest flat on the floor, so adjust the chair’s height accordingly. If your feet don’t quite reach, consider using a footrest.

Now, let’s talk about the desk itself. It should be at a height where your arms can rest comfortably on the surface, forming a 90-degree angle at the elbows. If your desk isn’t adjustable, you can use a keyboard tray or adjustable armrests to achieve the ideal height.

Speaking of keyboards, make sure yours is positioned so your wrists are straight and not bent up or down while typing. A wrist rest can help keep your wrists in a neutral position, reducing strain.

The computer screen is where your eyes spend most of their time. The top of the computer screen should be at eye level, so you don’t have to crane your neck up or down. If your screen is too low, stack some books or use a monitor stand. Additionally, ensure that the screen is about an arm’s length away from your eyes.

Now, let’s tackle the keyboard and mouse. Your keyboard should be close enough that you can type with your arms relaxed, and your wrists straight. Your mouse should be at the same level as your keyboard, and you shouldn’t have to reach too far to use it. Consider using a mousepad with wrist support to keep your hand and wrist in a comfortable position.

Lighting is often overlooked but plays a significant role in your workspace comfort. Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, use adjustable desk lamps to ensure even and glare-free lighting. Nobody likes squinting at a screen!

The Little Things

Cable management is another aspect of ergonomics. Keep your cables organised and out of the way to prevent trip hazards and to maintain a clean and tidy workspace.

Taking breaks is vital for your overall well-being. Even with the perfect ergonomic setup, sitting for long periods isn’t ideal. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up, stretch, and move around every hour. Stand while on the phone, look out the window while thinking deeply, walk to the water cooler… whatever it takes.

A touch of greenery can do wonders for your mental health – not really ergonomics – but important, nonetheless. Personalise your desk with pictures and pot plants.

Creating an ergonomic desk setup is an investment in your health, your wellbeing, your efficiency, and productivity. Your chair, desk, keyboard, and monitor should all work together to support your body and reduce strain. Take the time to adjust and customise your workspace to fit your needs.