How To Ergonomically Optimise Your Desk To Avoid Aches And Pains

You’re probably sitting wrong. Or, at the very least, you could be sitting better. In the video above, ergonomics consultant and occupational therapist Ellen Kolber showed me how I could improve my desk set up to avoid the constant neck and back pains.

I do a lot of sitting for my job. At least 4-6 hours of my day are spent sitting at my desk, and that has definitely started to take a toll on my body. So I asked Ellen to come into the office and show me what I was doing wrong. Here’s what she showed me.

Chair

The first thing she tackled was my chair. We started by adjusting the chair depth to make sure the back of my knees had some distance from the chair seat. We then moved on to the back support mechanism and ensured it rested comfortably near my lower back. Ellen then raised the armrests high enough that my arms sat easily at a 90-degree angle. Finally, we raised the entire chair so that the armrests aligned with the tabletop, making it easier for me to comfortably use my mouse and keyboard.

Monitor

Instead of having two monitors crowding my desk, we positioned the primary monitor squarely in front of my view and placed the laptop at an angle off to the side, both about 2 feet away from my face. Ellen lowered the main monitor so that the top was slightly above my eye line. Using a laptop stand, we raised the laptop so that its screen matched the height of the monitor (a pile of books works just as well).

Keyboard and Mouse

Once we had my chair and monitor all set, it was easy to position the mouse and keyboard. Just place them wherever is comfortable for you and where you don’t find yourself reaching.

I was shocked at how many of these seemingly obvious things I was doing wrong. After making these adjustments and reminding myself to take regular breaks to get up and walk around, I was already feeling more comfortable.

Ultimately, the golden rule is to listen to your body. If you already have a system that works for you, and your body isn’t telling you something is wrong, then you’re fine. But, if like me, you’re starting to feel minor aches and pains after long bouts of work, then maybe it’s time to reconsider where you sit and how you sit.

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