Proper workstation set-up reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury and improves productivity. UBC’s Ergo Your Office Guide will guide you through the steps to achieve an optimal set-up.
Your chair should support you in a comfortable, slightly reclined position. If you’re looking to purchase a new chair, see UBC’s list of example chairs. Key features to consider including:
- Height adjustable. The chair should support you with your feet firmly supported on the ground and your hips and knees close to level
- Lumbar support. Either the backrest height of the height of the lumbar support should be adjustable to fit the small of your back.
- Backrest angle. A slightly reclined posture is easier on the spine. Check the user manual for your chair to learn how to do this.
- Seat pan. The seat pan should support your full thigh without cutting into your calves.
- Armrests. Armrests can be helpful if they fit you properly, i.e. elbows at 90 degrees and shoulders relaxed. However, sometimes the armrests are too wide or too far forward. If they are problematic, you may need to remove them.
Keyboard and mouse:
- You should have an external keyboard and mouse and they should be positioned below elbow level. If your desk is too high you can either raise your chair and use a footrest or install a keyboard tray. See below for resources to assist with you setting up your keyboard and mouse.
- See ergotron’s desk height calculator to find the correct working height for you.
- Review our accessory catalogue for examples of keyboard trays, specialty keyboards and mice.
- Intermittently mouse on the left. This will help to even out the load between the right and left hand.
- Adjust your mouse settings: increase pointer speed to reduce mouse movement or change the right/left click button if mousing on the left.
- Use keyboard shortcuts (PC or MAC)
The top line of text should be at eye level. For those wearing bifocals, the monitor should be positioned lower. Positioning a monitor too high can result looking up which can lead to dry eyes or tilting your head back which can lead to neck strain. The monitor distance should be at least arm’s length away; closer tends to cause eye strain. See our visual ergo guide for more tips.
The same general principles apply. Keyboard and mouse below elbow level. Monitor positioned with the top line of text at eye, approximately arm’s length away. Alternate between sitting and standing regularly, i.e. every 20 minutes.
In your office, try holding your phone in your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand for taking notes. Or if you're on the phone a lot, consider using a headset. Review our smartphone ergonomics guide to learn how to minimize the risk of discomfort while reading, texting and holding your phone.
Even with the best workstation set-up, positional change is important. Try to get up twice per hour, even if only briefly. Join our live 15-minute Ergo Your Posture sessions, Wednesdays at 10am. Sign-up for a calendar invite.
Please talk to your Manager if you do not have the necessary equipment. Purchasing furniture and equipment is the responsibility of the DEPT. You can refer to our ergo equipment purchasing guide for equipment and vendor examples.