Optimize your desk setup Quotable Magazine

Life & Work, Quotable Magazine

How to Optimize Your Desk Set Up

For many of us, spending long hours in front of a computer screen is an everyday reality. Whether you work from home, in an office or split time doing both, maintaining a comfortable and ergonomic workspace is essential to promote health and productivity. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of ergonomics and explore how to set up your workspace to ensure a more comfortable and efficient desk job.

Understanding Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging workspaces, products, and systems to fit the people who use them. A well-structured ergonomic workspace not only enhances comfort but also minimizes the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive strain injuries. Let’s look at some key elements to consider when setting up an ergonomic workstation.

The Perfect Desk Chair

Your chair is the foundation of your ergonomic workspace. Ensure that it provides proper lumbar (lower back) support to maintain the natural curve of your lower back. Your feet should be flat on the floor, you should have 1-2 inches between the seat and the back of your knees, and our knees should be bent between 90-100 degrees. If your chair lacks adequate lumbar support, consider using a separate lumbar pillow. If you find you need to set your chair height taller to make your desk and monitor heights more appropriate, consider putting a step stool or box under your feet to decrease strain on your lower back.

Proper Desk Height

Your desk should be at the right height to promote a comfortable working posture. When sitting, your elbows should be close to your body and form an angle of about 90-100 degrees. Your wrists should remain in a neutral position, which means they shouldn’t be bent up or down when typing. To achieve this, consider investing in an adjustable desk or keyboard tray. The key here is making sure you actually use your desk so your wrist and forearms are resting on your desk while you are typing. You do not want your hands hovering while typing and mousing.

Monitor Placement

Position your computer monitor at eye level to reduce strain on your neck and upper back. The top of the screen should be at or just below your eye level. If your monitor is too low, use a monitor riser or adjustable monitor arm to achieve the right height. Ensure that the screen is at a comfortable viewing distance to avoid leaning forward or squinting, ideally an arms length away. If using multiple monitors, angle them towards each other to reduce the amount you have to turn your head to see each screen.

Keyboard and Mouse

When typing, keep your wrists straight and your elbows close to your body. A ergonomic keyboard may be a good investment if you type frequently. Your mouse should be within easy reach, and its height should be at the same level as your keyboard. You don’t want to have to reach for your mouse.

Task Lighting

Proper lighting is crucial to reduce eye strain and enhance your productivity. Make sure your workspace is well-lit, and avoid glare on your monitor, as it can lead to discomfort and reduced visibility.

Take Regular Breaks

Even with the most ergonomic setup, it’s essential to take regular breaks. Stand up, stretch, and move around to prevent stiffness and muscle strain. Try to get up at least once an hour. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps my clients with this by needing to refill your water and use the restroom. Start the day with a full water on your desk to remind you to drink it.

Ergonomic Set Up for Desk Workers

Creating an ergonomic workspace is an investment in your health and well-being. By paying attention to chair selection, desk height, monitor placement, keyboard and mouse ergonomics, lighting, and incorporating regular breaks, you can transform your workspace into a comfortable and efficient environment. Remember that everyone’s needs are unique, so tailor your ergonomic setup to suit your specific preferences and physical requirements.

Connect with Schuyler and Arch Physical Therapy & Fitness


SCHUYLER ARCHAMBAULT PT, DPT, CSCS is the founder of Arch Physical Therapy & Fitness. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) treating clients in Boston and Newton, MA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *