Pain Free Working

Your Complete Guide to International Guidelines for Office Ergonomics

In today’s world, where many of us spend a significant portion of our day working at desks, office ergonomics has become increasingly important. Poor ergonomics can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and even long-term health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders.

To address these concerns, international guidelines for office ergonomics have been established to help employers and employees create workspaces that promote health, comfort, and productivity.

Understanding Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. In an office setting, ergonomics focuses on optimizing the workstation to fit the needs and capabilities of the individual worker. This includes factors such as desk height, chair design, computer placement, and lighting.

Key Components of Office Ergonomics


The chair is one of the most important components of office ergonomics. It should be adjustable in height to allow the user to sit with their feet flat on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. The backrest should support the natural curve of the spine, and armrests should be adjustable to support the arms comfortably.


The desk should be at a height that allows the user to comfortably rest their arms and elbows on the surface while typing or using a mouse. The keyboard and mouse should be positioned directly in front of the user to prevent reaching or twisting.


The top of the monitor screen should be at or just below eye level, and the screen should be positioned at arm’s length away from the user. This helps reduce eye strain and neck pain.

Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard and mouse should be positioned so that the user’s wrists are in a neutral, relaxed position while typing or using the mouse. A wrist rest can help support the wrists and prevent strain.


Proper lighting is essential for reducing eye strain and preventing headaches. Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, adjustable task lighting can help provide adequate illumination without causing glare on the computer screen.

International Guidelines

Several organizations have developed guidelines for office ergonomics to help employers create healthy work environments. Some of the most widely recognized include:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA provides guidelines and recommendations for preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including those related to office work.

International Ergonomics Association (IEA)

The IEA offers guidance on ergonomic principles and practices, including those specific to office environments.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH conducts research and provides recommendations to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, including ergonomic hazards in office settings.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ISO has developed standards for ergonomic design principles applicable to office work, including furniture and equipment design.

Implementing Ergonomic Practices

Implementing ergonomic practices in the office requires a collaborative effort between employers and employees. Employers should provide training on proper ergonomic techniques and invest in ergonomic furniture and equipment. Employees should take responsibility for their health and wellness by following ergonomic guidelines and reporting any discomfort or pain to their employer.

Final Note

Office ergonomics is a critical factor in promoting health, comfort, and productivity in the workplace. By following international guidelines and implementing ergonomic practices, employers can create work environments that support the well-being of their employees while also improving efficiency and reducing the risk of work-related injuries.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.