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Workstation Set Up

Having a poor desk setup can contribute to a number of musculoskeletal complaints like lumbar pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder and arm issues.

Some of the key points to a good desk setup are:


  • Your chair needs to be a good quality one that is comfortable.

  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support the curve in your lower back. Sit up straight with your breastbone up, head erect and chin in.

  • Pull your chair close to the desk and adjust the seat height so that your elbows, hips and knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees.

  • Your forearms should be parallel to or sloping down towards the desktop.

  • Use a footrest if necessary.

Computer screen

  • Your computer screen should be at arm’s length.

  • The top of the screen should be at or below eye level but not too low, to help keep your head up rather than looking down. See photos below for ideas on how to get the screen to a good height.

  • It should also be directly in front of you and not to the side.

  • Ensure that the screen is easy to read, by reducing reflection and adjusting the brightness.

  • Preferably, don’t use a notebook computer for extended periods as it is very difficult to keep a good posture on a notebook computer.

  • If this is unavoidable check that the top of the screen is just below eye level and plug in a mouse and normal size keyboard to try and avoid a slouching posture that notebook computers encourage us to adopt.

  • There are examples in the pictures below of solutions to the problems with screen setup.

Desk Posture

  • Rest feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.

  • Keep the thighs parallel to the floor and avoid pressure on the back of the thighs.

  • Back rest should be upright and provide firm support to the lower back. If the chair doesn’t have enough lumbar support, you can use a lumbar support cushion.

  • Shoulders need to be relaxed and arms hanging loosely by your side

  • Keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach. This helps to keep your forearms and wrists in a neutral position.

  • Frequently used items should be within easy reach and evenly spread to both sides, so you do not rotate one way more than the other during the day.

Tips, Tricks and Gadgets to enhance your setup

Documents Holders

  • Use a document holder or folder instead of having the document flat on the desk.

  • Place the document holder in line with the screen, not closer to you.

Sit to stand desks

  • Sit to stand desks can be great to alternate your posture from sitting to standing during the day so you can have a break without having to leave your desk.

  • They can also be great if more than one person uses a desk as it allows computer screen height to be adjusted easily.

  • It is important to remember that good standing posture is just as vital as good sitting posture.

Desk work

  • Take a break every 30 minutes (as a minimum) to do some quick neck, back, wrist and shoulder stretches. (see our earlier blog here).

  • Take notice of early warnings. If you feel an ache or discomfort in any part of your body, check your posture, stretch and have a break if you can.

  • Alternate between sitting and standing activities throughout the day.

  • Avoid continuous keying and take frequent short rests. Try to maintain a comfortable and steady keystroke rate.

  • Avoid repetitive tasks during lunch and work breaks.

  • Build up gradually after being away from work.

  • Try to avoid slouching, reaching too far forward or to the side, crossing legs for long periods of time, rounded shoulders, repetitive twisting to one side, head too far forward or continuous looking down.

Here are some examples of desk setup and some shots of various ‘hacks’ to make your day at the desk or dining table a bit more comfortable:





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37 Old Kapunda Rd,

PO Box 175
Nuriootpa SA 5355


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