Setting up your workstation
Every day you come into the office, sit down at your desk and start working. What you might not have considered is that many people are sitting at a workstation that isn’t optimally set up.
Why is this important?
If you work a typical 40 hour work week, that translates into a third of your day, five days a week, that you spend on the job. Your work space may be causing more issues than you expect with 33% of work-related injuries being caused by poor workstation setup. A correctly set up desk environment can hold the key to preventing health issues and increasing comfort, resulting in better productivity.
If you are a laptop user you may think that you are excluded from workstation setup issues but in fact the laptop configuration limitations can cause its own host of issues. If your usual office setup includes a laptop then it is recommended that you invest in a docking station and add an extra keyboard, mouse and screen. This can mitigate issues caused by a laptop being used as an office workstation. Boosting your laptop to eye level by using a laptop stand (or books) is a quick way to improve your workstation.
One of the biggest factors is your monitor set up; how high, how far, how clear.
Hardware: not all computer screens were created equal. To prevent eye strain it is important to consider the quality of your screens, a good screen should have a sharp picture, be anti-glare and have a quick refresh rate.
Positioning: There are a few things to consider with monitor placement.
- Where possible your monitor should be directly in front of you in your usual sitting position. If you have dual monitors then you should have your primary use screen directly in front of you and your secondary screen slightly to the side. Alternatively, dual monitors can be placed equally directly in front of you.
- You should be sat between 50 and 100cm away (approx. arm’s length). If you have a monitor that is larger than 20″ or a dual monitor set up then you should be slightly futher away.
- The top of the screen should be level with your eyes – if your monitor height is not adjustable you can use a monitor riser, reams of paper or -if it is slim enough- your PC.
- The monitor should be tilted upwards very slightly if possible.
- Be conscious of direct light onto the screen (think windows) as this can cause glare.
Cleanliness: be sure to keep your screen(s) clean. As with anything, monitors gather dust, dirt and finger prints (although you shouldn’t be poking at your screen!) and it is necessary to clean your monitors regularly to ensure a visually consistent display.
Positioning: In the proper position, the keyboard should be placed just above the level of your lap. This is lower than most people normally place their keyboard, but lets your arms tilt downward while using the keyboard, leaving your elbows at a comfortable “open” angle. (If you don’t have an adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to accomplish this by adjusting your chair height).
Positioning: Your mouse should be close and to the side of your keyboard.
Left-hand mouse users: Make sure your mouse is configured for left-hand use as using a right hand configured mouse with your left hand can cause strain.
So many of us spend hours sitting in front of a computer every day, time to think about how you are sitting and what you are sitting on.
The chair itself: is your chair adjustable or fixed? If you have a standard office chair it is likely that it is adjustable and you should take advantage of this.
Adjustable chairs: what to adjust?
- Height: should allow your legs to be at a 90 degree angle or wider when your feet are flat on the floor.
- Back height: often the back of the chair will slide up and down so you will need to make sure the lumbar support is fitted to the curve of your lower back. Also, if the back of your chair has the option to tip forward and back you should tip it back slightly as this takes the pressure off of your spine.
If your chair is not adjustable, consider purchasing one. It is difficult to cultivate an ergonomically correct workstation when your chair is fixed.
Whether you have a VoIP phone or business line, a phone is often part of an office workstation.
Positioning: your phone shouldn’t be on your dominant side. If you are right handed your phone should be on your left and if you are left handed it should be on your right. This is because you may need to take notes whilst on the phone and if you pick the phone up with your dominant hand you are more likely to tuck it between your ear and shoulder to take notes. Alternatively, you should consider investing in a headset to allow you to answer the phone hands-free. Particularly if you spend a lot of time on the phone.
Positioning: your PC should either be under the desk out of the way of your chair and legs or on your desk. To save space, if you have a small form factor machine, you can place it under your screen to act as a screen riser.
Positioning: all cables should be tucked out of the way both on your desk and beneath it.If you would like advice on your workstation setup of if you are moving office and would like support in creating a new setup contact us now!