The main components of an office workstation include the desk, chair and the equipment used to perform office task, often a computer. When designing a workstation, it is important that you consider task that you have to perform, and the type of equipment used. Flexibility is the key in workstation design.
Posture and Movement -- The way the workstation is designed affects the posture you adopt while working. Therefore, the workstation should be designed to place you in the best position to enable you to perform you work in comfort.
Chair -- An adjustable chair should be used for office work. It is necessary to adjust the chair to fit your body. You should also try to avoid sitting for long period of time. Some form of break from sitting every 30 minutes is beneficial.
Height -- adjust the chair height so that the feet are comfortable flat on the floor; the thighs are approximately horizontal and the lower leg approximately vertical. A footrest may be used if the feet are not touching the floor. Avoid wearing high heels.
Tilt (if available) – set to horizontal initially, although this may be adjusted to tilt slightly forward to suit your comfort.
Height of Back Support – set the back support to rest at the curve of the lower back.
Forward/backward Position of Back Support – adjust the position of the back rest until a comfortable pressure is exerted on the low back area while seated in the usual working posture at the desk. The backrest position should not feel as though it pushes you out of the seat or that you have to lean back too far to reach it. There should be a two-finger clearance between the front of the chair and the back of the knee.
Armrests – armrests are usually not essential unless they are well out of the way of the desk. If you are using the arm rests, make sure that they do not prevent you from getting as close to the desk as you require. The height of the armrests should not be too high as to cause your shoulder to be elevated when the arms are rested. They should also not be too low where you have to tilt your body to rest you arms on them.
Desk -- Having adjusted the chair to suit your body size, adjust the height of the desk so the top surface is just below elbow height. The elbow height is determined by relaxing your shoulders and bending your elbows to about 900 and checking the elbow height against the desk height.
As most offices do not have height-adjustable desks, it may be necessary to adjust the height of the chair instead. If the desk is too high, raised the height of the chair so that your elbow height is just above the top surface of the desk. You may then require a footrest to rest your feet so that they are not left dangling above the floor.
Clearance under the desk -- Keep the space under the desk clear. Do not store bulky items as they will decrease or interfere with the space required for the legs. This may force the person to adopt a twisted or awkward posture of the spine.
Computer Monitor -- Once the desk and chair has been set, the monitor should be positioned. The monitor should be positioned so that the top of the screen is level with or slightly lower than your eye level. You may need a monitor stand, the CPU case, or something similar to achieve this.
The distance between the monitor and the eyes should be about one arm’s length away from the user. The screen should be placed directly in front of the user in order to prevent unnecessary twisting of the body, which would place unnecessary strain on the back and neck. Avoid placing the screen opposite windows to avoid glares and reflections.
Key Board Angle – tilt the keyboard, using the feet at the back, to suit your level of comfort. The preferred setting is where the feet are lowered so the keyboard sits flat on the desk. When typing on the keyboard, your wrist should not be bent.
Mouse -- The mouse mat should be placed directly beside the end of the keyboard on your preferred side. Set the tracking speed of the mouse to a setting that suits you. Where possible, avoid holding onto the mouse when not in use.