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How to Set Up Your Desk, According to this Ergonomics Expert

Can’t afford to give your office an ergonomic makeover? No problem. Jon Cinkay from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York shares his basic workstation layout tips to prevent pain from developing later on in life.

1. Adjust your chair

Cikay shares with the Wall Street Journal that the average desk is 29 to 30 inches or 73.7 to 76.2 centimeters in height. Adjust the height of your chair so your elbows are at 90 degrees. And if your feet don’t end up touching the ground, use a foot stool or foot rest. If you don’t have either, a ream of paper should do.

2. Adjust monitor

Distance and height of your monitor are key. Your monitor should be at arm’s length to avoid eye strain, and the top should be eye level to avoid neck strain. Again, use reams of paper if the monitor doesn’t go any higher. For multiple monitors, place your primary one in front of you. If you use both equally, align them in a V shape.

For a laptop, place it on a stand, and use a wireless mouse and keyboard.

3. Adjust your mouse and keyboard

Move your keyboard to where your hands naturally fall on your desk, keeping the L shape in your elbows. Place your mouse next to the keyboard so that you’re moving your elbow instead of your shoulder when using the mouse. As the ergonomics expert reiterates, you don’t want to reach for your tools.

4. Adjust your phone

If you have a desk phone, place it on your non-writing side. That way, you never have to hold the phone with your shoulder as you’re writing, preventing shoulder pain. Also, consider using a headset if you’re on the phone throughout the day.

5. Move!

Cinkay also suggests doing desk exercises every 15 minutes, and physically leaving your chair every hour.

Sheena Bergado

Sheena first met Tricia on a back pain support forum. After becoming online friends they launched PainFreeWorking.com in 2019. Due to suffering from upper back and shoulder pain, Sheena vows to find the best ergonomic office equipment in the Philippines to help fellow desk workers.