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The Good Posture Blog

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Create Ergonomic Workstations – Step By Step

Testing for the right keyboard height
Workstation ergonomics are all about creating the least possible stress on your body by your chair and then your keyboard height respectively. Below are the steps on how to do this in the right order.

Most people set up their workstation by choosing their desk first and then their chair. They adjust their chair to fit their desk and have little concern about the computer keyboard height. This is all mixed up and without a strategy.

Our goal is to have minimal body stress and to be able to test each additional factor as you add it.  To do this you need the chair to be right first; only then can you set your keyboard to the right height.

Start with a good office chair. (Here is an article about what makes the best ergonomic chairs). You need to be able to sit upright comfortably. Basically, improper seat height causes forward or backward lean of your body. Test this (and every other step along the way) by sitting there breathing deeply and then allowing your body to slump as you let it out. If your breathing is restricted or your body does actually slump forward then adjust your chair height until these are as good as they can be.  These are actually signs that your body is under extra stress while sitting. 

Once your chair ergonomics are correct then you can work on ergonomic desk height and keyboard placement. Sit at your desk with your hands on your lap and do the  deep breath test. Then put your hands on the desk top and do the same thing. This is an indicator of ergonomics in action.
More testing for the keyboard height

Place a magazine on the desktop and place your hands on it. Test your breathing again. If it keeps getting better as you add magazines then go up until it starts to get worse and then go back to the last height where it was doing good. This is where the desktop should be for you. If you do a significant amount of keyboard work, then this is the height that the keyboard should be. If you need to raise the height of a desk then it can be done by placing appropriate height boards under the legs.

If your breathing never got better than when your hands were at the height of the desktop then your desk may be too high for you. Place a combination of books and magazines on your lap and test the same way. If your ideal desk height is lower than the desktop you would either need to lower the legs or get a lower desk.

Our Owner’s Manual For The Body has the above breathing test explained in it as well as all you need to know about improving your posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping.

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