Workstation Ergonomics and Posture Part 2

Members of today’s workforce sit for most or all of the day while at their job. It doesn’t matter if you’re a government contractor in McPherson Square, a lawyer on K Street, or federal employee in Downtown DC, chances are you spend most of your day in a seated position.

With all this time spent in a seated position, proper workstation ergonomics can make the difference between being comfortable and experiencing headache, neck pain and lower back pain throughout the day.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at improving your posture and workstation ergonomics.

Here are some suggestions for improving your work station setup.

Proper Workstation Ergonomics Begin with a Good Seated Posture!

As discussed in Part 1 of this series (found here: Workstation Ergonomics Part 1) proper workstation ergonomics begins with correct seated posture. The goal is to maintain a neutral spine position while seated.

Chair Height and Keyboard Position

How high your chair should be will be determined by where your keyboard is placed. If you have a desktop or laptop computer that is placed on your desk, your chair should be raised so that your elbows are level with the countertop. If you have a desk that has a keyboard shelf under the countertop your chair should be raised so that your elbows are level with the keyboard shelf. This positioning will reinforce proper posture and allow the head to remain neutral over the shoulders.

Reminder: Make sure you have both feet squarely on the floor. If you are under five feet, five inches tall (5’5”), you may need to place a box or stool under your feet to achieve this position.

Monitor Position

Your monitor shoulder be placed at eye level. This may require placing risers under the base of the monitor. If you have a laptop computer moving the monitor will move the keyboard as well. It is recommended that you get a standalone keyboard to properly align yourself in neutral spine.

Set-up Tip: Make sure you are sitting up straight when adjusting your monitor to eye level. If not, you will be reinforcing a poor sitting posture.

What Should I Do If I have Multiple Monitors?

Having multiple monitors is commonplace for today’s workforce. It can be very difficult to maintain proper posture when you are forced to consistently shift positions to look at a new screen. First, make sure each monitor is at eye level. It is best to place both monitors directly in front of you to prevent holding your neck in a rotated position for extended periods of time. If you are unable to have both monitors in front of you, make sure to “square” your shoulders to the monitor you are working on. Rather than just turning your head, try turning in your chair to square up to the monitor.

These improvements to your workstation and seated posture may not be easy at first. Remember, most individuals sit with a slouched posture and have for years. However, being aware of small improvements can have big effects.

Next week we will look at evaluating posture on your commute.

As always, please feel free to email me at with any questions or topics you would like to see discussed in this space, give me a call at 202-733-5604, or schedule an appointment to come meet with me in person and discuss a personalized treatment plan.

Talk to you soon.

Dr. Rosenberg

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