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How to arrange a comfortable computer workstation

Bad working posture, especially when sitting for a long time, can quickly lead to pain or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These are the cause of 80% of work stoppages.

How to arrange a comfortable computer workstation

Even more, 75% of outages due to MSDs concern computer workstations. These figures can only show the importance of having a well-adapted and equipped workstation. To do this, there are a few tips that can be applied. Pay attention to them and be sure they’ll help you improve the ergonomic layout of your computer or office workstation.

Content Summary

The importance of ergonomics at work
Start with analysing your work environment
Improve your posture to avoid the risk of injury
Position your computer screen correctly
The screen
The keyboard
Protect your wrists
Two factors to also be taken into account

The importance of ergonomics at work

A bad position in front of the workstation and a bad organization on your desk represent a risk of contracting an occupational disease, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), with the following consequences:

  • back pain
  • migraines,
  • tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome (wrists)
  • epicondylitis (elbows),
  • weight problems and so on

These symptoms are actually all part of the often talked about “office syndrome”. What should one do to avoid finding out exactly what they feel like?

Start with analysing your work environment

The first step of making your workstation more comfortable is an ergonomic analysis of the workstation.

Location, layout, equipment, furniture – everything contributes to the comfort (or lack of comfort) of you as an employee. The study of the light and sound environment is also to be taken into account.

Start with analysing your work environment

For example, there should not be too great a difference between light (natural or artificial) and the backlight of your computer. The “screen / computer / window” position is strategic. Indeed the windows, very important for your general well-being, should ideally be limited to a wall, to avoid glare and reflections: the screens should be perpendicular to the windows, which otherwise should have blinds.

Improve your posture to avoid the risk of injury

Adopt an adequate sitting position when working in your office. Prolonged sitting is not suitable for the human body. When you sit for too long without paying attention to good posture, be sure to quickly start feeling pain.

The second problem to be addressed with an office or computer workstation is often the height of the desk, which is usually not suitable for the user. Workers tend to naturally bend towards the desk to reach for the computer or papers, which leads to back pain. To remedy these problems, try to find a height adjustable desk (or one suitable to your height). These desks allow you to work while standing if you need to stand up or move your legs.

All in all, the key to avoiding back pain is to keep your back straight, so that your spine does not collapse. That’s why we advise you to check our Nyfurnitureoutlets online catalog right away and order yourself a desk that suits you best!

Another problem encountered when sitting is crossing your legs. When the legs are crossed for too long, pressure accumulates behind the knee, affecting blood circulation.

The office chair can also play a role in accumulating discomfort, especially when the headrest or backrest are not suitable. To overcome this lack of adjustment, try finding a chair that provides all the necessary support.

Position your computer screen correctly

Computer use is also a problem in terms of comfort, when working at a computer or office workstation. As with the desk height, the arrangement of computers can cause the user to stoop to get closer to the screen, even more so in the case of a laptop.

If office work is done on a laptop computer, the computer can be plugged into a bypass display that the user can adjust as desired. You can also use supports to raise and tilt your laptop and avoid tilting the head too much.

These devices make it possible to limit neck pain caused by neck twists. Ideally, the computer keyboard should be maximum 6 in from the edge of the worktop. This positioning allows the wrists and part of the forearms to be rested on the work surface, and thus limit pain in the shoulders, arms and wrists.

The screen

Ideally, a workstation screen should be height adjustable, to accommodate the height of the employee. Otherwise, you can use screen enhancers, which are orientable and tiltable.

When working on several screens:

  • the main screen must be positioned opposite;
  • if the two screens are viewed in the same way, they should be placed symmetrically;
  • if there are three screens, they should be arranged in an arc;
  • in the case of four screens, a wheelchair can be easily used to move from one to the other.

Polarity and brightness must be the same from one screen to another: dark characters on a light background are recommended for optimal visual comfort.

The eye-screen distance should be in the order of 20 to 30 in, depending on the size of the characters and the screen.

The outline of the screen should preferably be matte, to avoid reflections, which are sources of visual fatigue.

When it comes to screen backlighting, the brightness is almost always adjustable, but when it is not (old computer equipment), plug-ins can be downloaded to dim it.

Finally, watch out for disruption of the body clock at nightfall, which has harmful effects on sleep. If possible, turn off the screen when daylight falls.

The keyboard

  • To limit wrist extension, the keyboard should be tiltable, but not elevated, to preserve the neutral position of the wrist.
  • Its surface should also be matte, in order to avoid reflections.
  • It should be 1-2 in thick maximum and be placed in front of you, never at the edge of the worktop, to be able to rest the forearms.

Protect your wrists

The use of a computer mouse at a workstation affects the wrist and the carpal tunnel. When using a mouse, the wrist is raised slightly, which “breaks” its natural angle and obstructs the carpal tunnel.

In order to combat this problem, be sure to take breaks and do some hand gymnastics from time to time.

Two factors to also be taken into account

There are two more elements that must be taken into consideration in order to set up a comfortable workstation, whether it is an office workstation or a workshop: light and noise.

To determine if the working environment is too noisy and can impact your health, it is possible to carry out a study. If it is above 80 dB (implying the need to force the voice, being equivalent to a noisy restaurant or dense traffic), this means the sound level is too high.

Likewise, poorly adapted light can impact the worker. To protect your eyesight, use natural light and make sure you keep enough light on your workstation. If you work on a computer, remember to protect your eyes from the blue light of the screens.

All in all, our last advice that will help you find out more about setting up your office or computer station and guaranteeing your personal comfort is to check out other information on!

Whether you are in management, human resources, an administrative position, or project management, comfort is always imperative at a workstation.

So don’t hesitate to make this choice, which will be rewarded by a happy, physically healthy and motivated self!

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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