Desk Job? Tips on Improving Your Workstation

Desk Job? Tips on Improving Your Workstation

Written by Adam Calonder, Partner, Director of Ergonomics.


Is your workstation negatively impacting your health?  If you work a typical 40 hour work week you are spending 1/3rd of day, five days a week at your workstation.  This workstation may be causing you aches and pain that negatively affect your physical health and productivity along with your stress and energy levels. In fact, 33% of work related injuries are caused by poor work station set up.

Stability is critical

  • Keep feet flat on floor or footrest
  • Avoid dangling feet or resting feet on base of chair

Feet 2

Clearance is important

  • Knees should be comfortably bent between 85o– 110o
  • Avoid pinching the back of the knee; allow 1-2 inches of clearance
  • This avoids compression of the major blood vessels and nerves of the lower leg


 Support is key

  • Lumbar support of your chair should make the contour of the spine
  • The bottom of the support should fall just below the belt-line


Armrest placement

  • Proper armrest height should allow your forearm to be comfortably supported
  • Shoulders should be in a relaxed position; not elevated or raised

Keyboard and Monitor Placement

  • Should allow you to work in a relaxed upright position; shoulders should not be elevated, and forearms should be comfortable at 10o downward angle
  • Maintain a “Gentle Waterfall” position
    • Slight downward transition from shoulder to elbow to wrist
  • Top of screen should be slightly below your line –of–sight.
  • Monitor height may need to be slightly lower if you wear bifocals or trifocals
  • Position monitor directly in front of you
  • Slightly more than an arm’s length


 Other Considerations

  • Documents should not be placed flat on the desk surfaces as this leads to neck strain and faulty posture
  • Consider an in-line document holder to minimize neck and trunk rotation


  • Utilize a headset
  • Avoid cradling the handset between your neck and shoulder

If you are having pain from sitting and would like a formal evaluation of your workstation.  Give me a call at 563-886-3421 or via email, I would be happy to come and take a look.



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