Self Evaluation at the Workstation
It’s highly suggested to consult an Ergonomist to help rearrange your desk if you have problems such as repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and any other similar difficulties. This self evaluation is to help with the proper set up for your computer and workstation. If you’re unable to find a solution, consult an Ergonomist.
For starters, is your keyboard at the same height as your elbows? Are your elbows at a 90-100 degree angle? Are your shoulders relaxed while typing? If the answer is no, adjust your desktop to the recommended elbow height. You can raise your chair to have the keyboard at recommended position. If this is uncomfortable on your legs, be sure to use a footrest to support your legs.
Is your keyboard close enough so you don’t have to reach for it? If not, be sure to sit closer to the keyboard, or move the keyboard closer to the desk. Be sure to adjust the armrests of the chair if necessary.
When typing, are your wrists straight or aligned? If you’re dropping your wrists while typing, be sure to use a narrow wrist rest along the front edge of the keyboard. Use it when pausing. Also if possible, be sure to adjust the feet of the keyboard up and down to keep your wrists positioned straight.
As for the mouse, make sure it’s easy to reach and doesn’t require stretching. It’s suggested to place the mouse next to the keyboard and close to the edge of the desk. If possible, install a tray for the mouse.
When you’re using the mouse, is your wrist straight? If the mouse is too low, elevate it on a book, a mouse pad, or a mouse tray. If the mouse is too high, be sure to use a mouse pad in front of the mouse to level the wrist.
When seated in a chair, do your feet touch the floor? If they don’t, it’s suggested to get a footrest. You could also adjust the height of the seat so your feet don’t touch the floor with the knees equal to or a little lower than the hips.
Do you have a small spot between the front of your chair and the back of the knees? If not, try adjusting the depth of the seat. If this doesn’t work, try using a rolled up towel or a cushion that pushes your forward in the seat. If the seat is too short for you, don’t use a cushion or towel. You can also adjust the backrest tilt to try to increase the space.
Does the back of the seat adjust so the inward curve of your lower back supported? If not, try adjusting the seat back height so the curve of the lower back is supported by the outward curve of the back of the seat. If the back of the seat doesn’t adjust, try using a rolled up towel or a cushion to support the back.
Is the back of the seat angled so the upper body is reclined at 100-110 degree angle? If not, adjust the seat, or adjust the rocker mechanism and adjust the tension to the back of the seat will move when needed.
As for your monitor, is the monitor directly in front of you? If not, you need to place the monitor in line with and above your keyboard. Is your monitor arm length distance or farther? If not, be sure to reposition the monitor and adjust the distance best for you. It’s also possible to adjust the display font size if needed. If you still continue to strain your eyes, it’s advised to look into getting glasses.
When viewing the monitor, is your neck upright and balanced over your shoulders? If not, try adjusting the screen height up or down until you can see it with a slight downward gaze. If you wear bifocals, try lowering the monitor to avoid tilting your head.
If you constantly have to look to view paperwork and your monitor, be sure to place the documents on an angled document holder to prevent you from constantly looking at the paperwork and monitor. Place the documents next to the monitor.
Is your monitor free from glare from overhead lighting? If not, try adjusting the tilt of the monitor, or try turning off some lights. If it’s too dark, consider a desk lamp. If worse comes to worse, try relocating the computer.
When it comes to using the phone, is your phone easy to reach? If not, bring the phone closer to you, or use an angled stand the tilt the phone for easier reach. Be sure not to cradle the phone between your head and shoulder. Look into a hands free head set or use a speaker phone.
Last but not least, be sure to take short breaks every now and then. Try some stretching exercises. A short one minute break every half hour will work wonders.