Fine Tuning Your Ergonomic Setup
For most people, the aesthetics of a workspace take a higher priority initially. However, after sitting for hours on end in a chair every day, everyone learns the importance of ergonomics. If your back pain is making it difficult for you to sit for even a few hours or your eye strain has gotten to the point where it’s giving you constant migraines, you need to fine tune your office’s ergonomic setup.
Below, we discuss some tips to tweak your existing setup to make it more ergonomic and comfortable.
Position Your Monitor Properly
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your monitor is positioned correctly. Fine tuning the ergonomics of your monitor will lower your risk of musculoskeletal problems and long-term injury.
Here are some tips to make your monitor’s positioning more ergonomic:
- Avoid Glare: Position your monitor in a way that does not reflect glare. On the one hand, the glare makes it difficult for you to see the screen, which further leads to you sitting in awkward positions. On the other hand, a glare-y screen causes eye strain. If you have a window in your workspace, your monitor should not be in front of it. Ideally, the light should come from the side of the monitor rather than behind or in front of it.
- Place Directly in Front: Keep your monitor at eye level. Your eyes must be in line with the top of the monitor. People who use dual screens should position both screens at the same height.
- Place at Arm’s Length: Your monitor shouldn’t be too far or too close to you. The ideal position is about an arm’s length from where you sit or stand. In this position, you’ll be able to see the whole screen without constantly moving forward or backward.
If you use a laptop or a tablet, don’t use DIY methods to raise their position as it won’t work for too long. Instead, opt for a laptop stand to raise your laptop to your eye level. A laptop stand is also beneficial if you work at a standing desk.
Keep in mind that the highlighting feature of a truly ergonomic product is that it’s comfortable. If your monitor is comfortable for your eyes and posture, you’re good to go.
Adjust the Lighting
You’ve bought the best ergonomic keyboard you could find, and your laptop stand is also remarkable, to say the least. But what measures have you taken to reduce the eye strain?
Overhead lighting in a workspace can be the bane of your existence since it’s not adjustable. While working, you may shift your focus from the computer screen to papers and fellow workers.
This shift causes strain on your eyes as you’re constantly switching from your desk’s comparative darkness to your screen’s brightness. The solution for this is to have a desk light that illuminates the documents or papers you need to consult while working on a computer.
Here are some other tips to fine tune the lighting requirements for an ergonomic setup:
- If you work next to a window, use a polarizing filter. You can also work with a glare guard.
- Sit at a 90-degree or right angle from a window, maintaining a distance of at least three feet.
- Don’t sit directly under overhead lighting, as it can mess with your visual field.
- If you don’t have a choice, use a monitor visor as it will reduce glare from the overhead light.
- Adjust your monitor’s screen brightness according to the brightness of your workspace.
- When working with papers or written documents, keep them at the same distance as your computer screen to avoid repeated re-focusing.
Fix the Mouse and Keyboard Placement
Your keyboard and mouse should be placed in a way that you can keep your elbows at your sides. Additionally, with your arms close to your sides, your elbows should be making a right angle (90 degrees) when typing or mousing. This posture helps lower muscle load and prevents straining.
An adjustable split keyboard can be quite beneficial in this regard as it lowers the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Moreover, it keeps your fingers close to the keys, requiring you to move your hands less.
Do note that Mac monitors are built differently from their Windows counterparts, so you should opt for specifically designed Mac keyboards and mice when you’re working on a Mac setup.
Irrespective of the keyboard or mouse you’re using, you should keep them at a shoulder distance apart. Make sure they’re as relatively leveled as possible.
Also, choose an ergonomic mouse with buttons on the side rather than the top. In this way, you won’t have to move your fingers as much when using the mouse.
Adjust Your Chair
Your chair supports your posture and back. So, it must be in the correct position.
- Shape: The chair’s shape should be as per your natural posture. Go for a chair that offers good lumbar support.
- Length: When you’re sitting, make sure there’s some space between the back of your knees and the edge of the chair. It doesn’t have to be too much – just about your fist’s size should do.
- Height: Keep your chair at a height that allows you to touch your feet with the floor. Dangling feet are a huge no-no since they put a strain on your back. If you’re short, you might need a footrest to ensure that you don’t position your chair below your desk level. If you’re taller, you might need a more heightened desk to align the chair’s position with your monitor.
If you have to sit in an awkward position or tuck your feet, that’s a red flag. Adjust or change your chair immediately.
Keep in mind that having an ergonomic keyboard or mouse isn’t enough. You must position your desk, chair, mouse, laptop stand, monitor, and other accessories properly to reduce strain on your back. As for eye strain, adjusting the lighting and fine tuning the monitor placement will do the trick.