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DIY Basic Computer Workstation Set Up

A quick and easy way to ensure the basics are set up properly

Note, this is not intended to replace a full, professional, Workstation Assessment, but rather to get you started, especially when setting up your home office.

 Choosing the right location (for a home office)

  • The desk needs to be located in a quieter area of the house away from the regular foot traffic – this may be challenging if you are sharing a house e.g. with children or other flatmates.
  • Place the desk up against a wall, then power cords can be safely kept out of harm’s way.
  • Try and be close to a good natural source of light but not directly in front of windows.
  • Ensure that your workstation is away from draughts and noise – make your workstation a pleasant place to sit and work from.

Getting the heights right!

For most Workstation set ups, when seated at a desk, there are three things that can have their height varied:

(a) The Chair (preferably this is height adjustable)

(b) The Desk (normally a fixed height desk is between 710 and 725mm)

(c) The Monitor (this can be height adjusted with monitor stands)

As long as two of these are adjustable, correct set up can be achieved.

Seated posture

If the desk is a fixed height desk. Raise (or lower) the chair until the lowest part of your elbow is about the same height as the desk top (when your hands are placed on the keyboard). At this point your feet should be flat on the floor with a slight slope down from your thighs towards your knees. (i.e. 90⁰ - 120⁰ angle between upper body and thighs).

Things to keep in mind:

  • If your heels can not touch the floor (i.e. you are shorter than 167cm), then you will need to have a footrest installed.
  • For taller people, it may be necessary to find a way to raise the desk height in order to have the chair set at a comfortable seated height whilst keeping the lowest part of your elbow level with the desk top.
  • Ensure the lumbar support on the chair back fits into the lower curve of your spine.
  • Allow 20 - 35mm between the front edge of the chair's seat pan and the back of your knees.
  • Lean back slightly into the chair. This will help ease pressure on the lower back.

If the desk is a height-adjustable desk. Firstly, raise (or lower) the chair until your feet are flat on the floor with your thighs slightly sloping downwards to your knees. (i.e. 90⁰ - 120⁰ angle between upper body and thighs). 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure the lumbar support on the chair back fits into the lower curve of your spine.
  • Allow 20 - 35mm between the front edge of the chair's seat pan and the back of your knees.
  • Lean back slightly into the chair. This will help ease pressure on the lower back.

Secondly, raise (or lower) the desk so that the lowest part of your elbow is about the same height as the desk top (when your hands are placed on the keyboard).

Once the desk and chair heights have been correctly adjusted, then the Monitor needs to be raised (or lowered) so that the top of the working screen (i.e. the part of the screen just below the header menu) is approximately horizontal with your eyes.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The monitor should be positioned about an arm's length away from you when seated.
  • Ensure there is no reflected glare off the screen from overhead lighting or nearby windows.
  • If you are wearing progressive lense glasses, then the screen will need to be lowered by 50 - 80mm.

4. Fourthly, position your chair close enough to your desk so that, when your hands are on the keyboard, your elbows do not move forward beyond your tummy button (i.e elbows in line with your body).

Things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your mouse is positioned adjacent to the keyboard.
  • If a document holder is required, then use an inline-copyholder which is positioned between the keyboard and monitor screen.

Booking expert, professional, ergonomic services

If you want to take things one step further and book professional, ergonomic services, for you or your staff, please feel free to get in touchWe specialise in a range of remote ergonomic assessments (via Skype, Zoom etc.) for employees working from home during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Click to contact us and receive a quote, or give us a call on 09 279 2920