4 Steps to Setting Up Your Computer Workstation

STEP 1: Your Chair

  • Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
  • Adjust the seat depth so there is a 1 to 2 inch gap between the back of your legs and the front of the seat
  • Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips. 
  • Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.  

    Adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.

      STEP 2: Your Keyboard

      An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, provide leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. The tray should not push you too far away from other work materials such as your telephone. Bring your most frequently used items as close to you as possible.

        • Pull up close to your keyboard.
        • Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.
        • Determine what section of the board you use most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that section is centered with your body. 
        • Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight. 
        • The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Adjust the tilt of your keyboard to maintain a straight wrist position. 
        • Wrist rests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wrist rest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wrist rest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wrist rests, or wrist rests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard. 
        • Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. Placing it on a slightly inclined surface, or using it on a mouse bridge placed over the 10-keypad, can help to bring it closer. 

          If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, or the height of your chair to get in a comfortable position.  If this doesn’t work, you may need a different chair or workstation, see your supervisor for assistance.  Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.

            STEP 3: Monitor, Document, and Telephone

            Incorrect positioning of the screen and source documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the monitor and source documents so that your neck is in a neutral and relaxed position.

              • Center the monitor directly in front of you above your keyboard. 
              • Position the top of the monitor screen at seated eye level or slightly below seated eye level. (If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.) 
              • Place the monitor about an arms length away from you  and then adjust the distance for your vision. 
              • Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen. 
                • Place screen at right angles to windows 
                • Adjust curtains or blinds as needed 
                • Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights 
                • Other techniques to reduce glare include a monitor hood or additional task lighting. 
              • Position source documents directly in front of you, between the monitor and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the monitor. 
              • Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help. 
              • Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset. 

                STEP 4: Pauses and Breaks

                Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.

                  • Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks. 
                  • Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance. 
                  • Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds. 
                  • Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.