Solutions by Body Part

TEMPORARILY WORKING FROM HOME:  Join us for the Webinar: Common Sense Ergonomics While Temporarily Working From Home (see Events Page for multiple dates).

Click on the “radiating” ERGO BEING body location for ergonomic solutions by body part

Head and Eyes

Activity/Symptom Solution
Screen glare or reflection Monitors should be at or slightly below seated eye level when one is comfortably seated. Position monitors away from bright lights. Tilt monitors slightly if it is reflecting overhead light. Focus task lights onto documents not the monitor. A glare screen may help to minimize glare if your monitor is not equipped with a built-in glare screen.
Monitor is too close or too far away Maintaining a distance (approximately arm’s length or more) from the monitor offers greater visual comfort.
Inadequate lighting or too much lighting Lighting levels do not need to be as bright for computer work as for reading print. For greater comfort, lower the ambient lighting for computer work and utilize directional lighting for documents or deskwork. A flexible task light can provide additional light where it is needed the most. Avoid placing printed copy and source documents flat on the work surface, which increases difficulty in easily reading the print.
Working too long without resting your eyes Rest your eyes by refocusing on distant objects intermittently when working. Adjust the font size and contrast on your monitor to make the characters distinct from the background.



Activity/Symptom Solution
Cradling the phone between head and shoulder Do not cradle the phone between your shoulder and your neck or ear. Use a speakerphone or headset to avoid the cradling of the phone receiver.
Documents are flat on the work surface, too low or too high Copy and source documents should be positioned in direct alignment with the keyboard and display or very close to either side and should be angled up for easier viewing.
Monitor is too low or too high or is too far to the right or the left rather than being in a straight-forward position The user should be able to view the monitor while maintaining head, neck and back in a proper neutral posture.
Chair is too far away from the keyboard or keyboard tray, or the back of the chair is tilted too far to the back A chair should have proper ergonomic support and adjustment features and be properly sized for the user. Armrests on the chair should not prevent you from being able to move your chair closer to the keyboard.
Use of bifocal lenses and tilting of head to the back to view the monitor through the lower (bifocal) part of the lens Lower the monitor so you can view the monitor without tilting your head back. You may want to change from the bifocal lenses to the straight-thru viewing allowed with computer glasses. Maintain your back, neck and head in a straight and neutral posture.



Activity/Symptom Solution
Phone usage is more than one hour per day and/or phone use involves cradling the phone between head and shoulder Do not cradle the phone between your shoulder and your neck or ear. Use a speakerphone or headset to avoid the cradling of the phone receiver.
Mouse is too high, too low, too far to the side and/or too far away Relocate your mouse onto the same horizontal plane as the keyboard and as close to the keyboard as possible.
Keyboard is too high, low, or far away The keyboard should be positioned within an easy and comfortable reach with the elbows close to your side.
Difficulty maintaining proper posture while sitting at your workstation Always work with your body in a neutral posture and utilize the support features of the chair. If you are leaning too far forward, properly adjust the chair back and seat pad for comfort and support to allow you to view the monitor with your back, neck and head in a straight ahead and level posture. Use a copyholder or a slant board to review printed material and when performing writing activities.


Hands, wrists, forearms and elbows

Activity/Symptom Solution
Keying with bent wrists, winging of forearms and elbows Wrists should be kept straight and in-line with the forearms while keying or mousing; not bent up, down or to the sides. Adjust the height of the chair, if possible, to reach the goal of keying and mousing with wrists straight and in alignment with the arms. Try to eliminate side-to-side bending of the wrists when mousing by maintaining a straight wrist position while pivoting at the elbow. Consider the use of an adjustable keyboard tray with a mouse platform which will provide proper height adjustment of keyboard and mouse. This will allow typing and mousing with a straight wrist and forearm, (while pivoting at the elbow).
Resting your wrists on the work surface while typing and using the mouse at too far of a reach Perform keyboarding and mouse activities on the desk or work surface only if it allows for straight alignment of wrist and forearm with no “winging” of the forearms and elbows away from the body. Utilize a low-profile wrist rest for the keyboard, however do not let the wrist rest compress the tissue on the inside area of the wrist.
Regular computer use with limited rotation between the right and left hand, and minimal use of shortcut keys If you are regular computer user, we recommend rotating your mouse between right and left hand every 30 days. If this proves difficult at first, some people find that practicing with the opposite hand for about 10 minutes a day makes this transition easier.Many people find that using simple oval optical mouse (these are also made in wireless models) is the best type to rotate from the left and right hand.To improve productivity and to minimize mouse use, it is beneficial to learn shortcut keys (versus using a mouse for every command). Start with simple shortcuts such as cut, copy, and paste functions.


Upper, Mid and Lower Back

Activity/Symptom Solution
Frequency of micro-breaks Maintaining good posture while using a computer is a primary key to healthy sitting. This doesn’t mean that maintaining the same posture throughout the day is necessary. In fact it is good to vary your sitting postures. It is also a good idea to get out of your chair frequently and move around. A one to two minute micro-break every hour is helpful.
Awkward postures and/or discomfort in back Posture is the most important factor to ergonomic health. Chairs, working surfaces, accessories, monitors, keyboards, etc. can help, but they cannot cause good posture. Changing positions and posture frequently by adjusting equipment and alternating tasks (typing, writing, walking, standing, even fidgeting) will ensure a healthy back. Any one position is not ideal for an indefinite time period. Confirm that chair height is appropriate – allowing for feet to be flat on the floor or on a footrest.  See How to set up Your Chair.
Chair back support Although many people are comfortable not using the chair back for support, others prefer it. For those more comfortable using a chair back for support, practice sitting back in your chair (rather than leaning forward in the chair) and allow the chair back to support your entire back area. If desired, use a back cushion to provide back support in the lower back region. Utilize a footrest to provide sitting stability and keep the lower back region supported.
Proper fitting chair Although most chairs are designed for a majority of the population, persons with small stature might seek out a petite-size chair that will provide better support than a regular or large chair.


Hips, Legs, Knees and Feet

Activity/Symptom Solution
Awkward postures, and/or discomfort in legs, knees, and/or feet while seated Adjust the height of the seat so that hips and knees are set at right angles, legs dropping straight with feet placed comfortably on the floor. If your feet cannot rest comfortably on the floor, then a footrest can provide the support needed for the feet/legs – so that there is no compression in the thighs (caused by hanging legs and feet). The front edge of the seat pan can be adjusted so that there is space between the back of the knee to provide adequate support for the hips, legs and lower back.
Legs feel unsupported If necessary, the use of a footrest may be helpful.