KNOW HOW: 5 Tips on Desk Ergonomics

Our work environment is heavily reliant on computers, laptops and tablets, whilst our technology brings us unprecedented prodcutivity and efficiency, it also brings with it its fair share of work related musculoskeletal strains and sprains.

 

Here are some simple tips and information for you to setup your desk ergonomics to minimise any injuries.

 

And if you have children, it is important that you start early to foster a healthy postural relationship together with them with their gagdgets. (Read here on how to setup laptops in schools.)

1. Monitor Setup

  • Set up the monitor where your eye level is at or just below the top edge of the monitor. (You are seated upright)
  • The monitor should be last least 30cm away.

2. Head at the top of your spine. Is your chin tilted upwards?

  • A guideline is to have your ear lobes, shoulders and hips fall onto the same imaginary line. This helps your postural muscles and spine to balance our head. A common mistake is for your to tilt your chin upwards and your shoulders lean forward with it. This is how most of us end up with neck and shoulder strains.
  • It may help to have a colleague or a friend to help look at you side on. It is a little strange at first but you will soon learn how it feels sitting upright with some practice.

3. Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang down effortlessly

  • Your arms should be more or less parallel to your body. Elbows bent at 90 degrees while using keyboard.
  • Allow your wrists to be slightly raised above your finger pads when typing to minimize strains.

4. Chair

  • Use a height and seat adjustable chair to encourage good posture. The height of the chair should be adjusted so the elbows are at the level of the desk or keyboard.
  • Angle the seat of chair down so that the knees are at the same level or lower than your hips.
  • The depth of the seat should not extend more than 2 thirds of your thigh.
  • Use a foot stool if your feet do not reach the floor. This helps avoid pressure on the back of the thigh and maintains good circulation.

5. Regular breaks – at least every 45 minutes

  • Our body is poorly designed for sitting for extended periods of time. The amount of neck and shoulder pain is directly proportional to the amount of time we spend at our desk. After every 30-40 minutes on the computer, we should take a break and walk around even for a few seconds, get a drink of water or just stand up to do a stretch!
Benjamin Lai

Benjamin Lai

Ben is a Registered Osteopath in Australia, practising in Hong Kong.
His special interests are in nutrition, chronic pain, back pain, neck pain and headaches.
Benjamin Lai

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