Computer Workstation Ergonomics

Written by Erwann Marshall
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As we continue to spend increasing amounts of time in front of computer desks, the science behind computer workstation ergonomics continues to become an important part of our productivity and health. In the past, standardization of office furniture led to backaches, wrist pains and the inability to accommodate the many different shapes, heights and sizes of office personnel. Now, however, most business owners choose to teach the tenets of ergonomics to their employees in the hopes that the physical and mental problems of poor posture and repetitive motion will be reduced.

Computer workstation ergonomics starts with the work area, which should be organized so that the most frequently utilized items (keyboard, mouse, phone, CPU, etc) are placed within close reach of the user. Monitors and other shiny surfaces should be covered by a matte finish or anti-glare screens should be used to reduce strain upon the eyes, while desk and hanging lamps should be adjusted so as to not cast light directly onto these surfaces or monitors. The phone should be equipped with a headset if it will be used for long periods of time and it should be placed on the side of the non-dominant hand.

The chair must be adjusted or purchased particularly for the individual's measurements of height and body shape. The seat should be placed at or a little bit lower than the height of the knees, while the backrest should be angled to at least 100°s. If the desk does not come equipped with a keyboard tray, one should be installed to provide added keyboard angle adjustability.

Small Details Computer Workstation Ergonomics

To prevent needless movements of the head and neck, document holders can be placed next to the computer monitor or directly in line between the keyboard and monitor. The computer mouse should be placed within the natural reach of the arm and should be contoured to fit the hand comfortably. Finally, one of the most overlooked parts of computer workstation ergonomics is to encourage timely rests and stretches every hour or so to increase blood flow and energy.


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