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Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

9 Ergonomic Workstation Setup Must-Haves

9 Ergonomic Workstation Setup Must-Haves

Posted by Weber Knapp on Jun 8, 2023 10:51:00 AM

ergonomic workstation setup-1Anyone who’s spent an extended time sitting at a computer, whether for school or work, has probably experienced some form of strain. What once was the exception is now the norm -- desk jobs are more common than ever, and so are the related health risks.

Making the strain from working on a computer even more concerning is how widespread it’s become. What once was the exception is now the norm -- desk jobs are more common than ever, and so are the related health risks. The same applies to those in higher ed – students, faculty, and staff are spending more time in front of a computer. 

Employers and educational institutions are finally catching on. Now, organizations of all sorts are upgrading workstations of all sorts with ergonomics. 

The best part? 

This change literally puts their workers and students in a better – and more comfortable – position to succeed.

9 Easy Ergonomic Workstation Setup Upgrades

There is a surprising number of injuries you can suffer by working at a computer for an extended time, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Eye strain
  • Sciatica
  • Neck pain

An ergonomic workstation setup is the easiest way to minimize the risk of such injuries. Whether you’re setting up office workstations for employees, students, or yourself, the following will serve as a useful office ergonomics guide for beginners:

Wondering how to setup an ergonomic workstation? Your ergonomic workstation setup checklist should include: 


  1. Height-adjustable desks
  2. Ergonomic office chairs 
  3. Ergonomic monitor mounts
  4. Ergonomic keyboards
  5. Ergonomic mouses
  6. Equipment that can be hidden away
  7. Employee training
  8. Encouraging breaks
  9. Promoting maneuverability


1. Height-Adjustable Desks

Besides making you look like “the cool boss,” sit-stand desks offer a lot of ergonomic benefits:

  • When you have 6-7 people using the same desk each day, a height-adjustable desk setup makes it much easier for everyone to be comfortable and avoid strain.
  • An employee who uses that same desk all day can adjust it periodically to keep his body fresh.
  • A sit-stand desk mechanism often includes memory settings where you can press a button and adjust to the proper height automatically.

Taller guys and gals may prefer an adjustable height desk because they can’t fit their legs under a fixed desk. By using ergonomic computer desk solutions, chair height isn’t an issue anymore – the desk becomes universal and custom fits any individual who sits behind it. .

*Note: sit-to-stand desks are less appropriate for classrooms (where an elevated desk may block others’ views), but great for computer labs and offices.

2. Ergonomic Office Chairs

No matter who you are, who doens’t enjoy a good sit? 

This becomes especially important when it comes to the office or an educational setting where users are going to be sitting in one spot for a while. 

What does a ergonomic office chair that delivers look like? 

A good ergonomic office chair possesses several key characteristics. First, it should offer adjustable features, such as seat height, backrest angle, and armrest height, allowing users to customize the chair to their individual needs and promote proper posture. It should provide adequate lumbar support, maintaining the natural curve of the spine and reducing strain on the lower back. 

From a comfort standpoint,  the chair should have ample padding and breathable upholstery, promoting comfort during extended periods of sitting. Additionally, the chair should have smooth swivel and casters, enabling easy movement and access to different areas of the workspace.

When using an ergonomic office chair, here are some tips to maximize its benefits:

  1. Adjust the chair to fit your body: Ensure that the chair's height allows your feet to rest flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Adjust the backrest to support the natural curve of your spine, and utilize the lumbar support feature to maintain proper lower back alignment.
  2. Take regular breaks and move: While ergonomic chairs provide excellent support, it's important to avoid sitting for extended periods. Remember to take short breaks to stretch, walk, or engage in light exercises to promote blood circulation and alleviate any muscle stiffness.
  3. Maintain good posture: Even with an ergonomic chair, maintaining good posture is essential. Sit upright, with your shoulders relaxed, and avoid slouching or hunching over the desk. Adjust the armrests so that your arms are comfortably supported and your elbows rest at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Make use of additional ergonomic accessories: Consider complementing your ergonomic chair with accessories such as an adjustable keyboard tray, a monitor stand, or a footrest. These additions can further enhance your ergonomics by promoting a neutral position for your wrists, ensuring proper eye level alignment, and providing support for your feet.

Manager's Equipment Guide


3. Ergonomic Monitor Stands

There are many adjustable monitor stands and mounts that can be used to obtain the best ergonomic position for a screen. Proper setup for a monitor at an ergonomic computer workstation follows these guidelines:

  • Position the monitor an arm’s length from the eyes.
  • Keep the top of the monitor at eye level or slightly below.
  • To avoid glare, tilt the monitor forward slightly.

4. Ergonomic Keyboards

Believe it or not, the keyboard is the most important component of good ergonomics in the workplace. Many users don’t realize their keyboards are positioned incorrectly – they often think the keyboards legs provide more than enough of an appropriate angle. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and many user suffer long-term consequences as a result:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain

Top keyboard trays make it possible to customize positions for each worker. Consider these tips for positioning your keyboard:

  • Elbows should be level with or above wrists while typing.
  • Keep elbows in a relaxed, natural position near the body when typing.
  • Consider ergonomic keyboard trays that allows the user to tilt the keyboard forward (known as negative tilt

5. Ergonomic Mouses

Ergonomic computer mice are just as important as any other element of an ergonomic office setup. Helping to reduce to the rise of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), ergonomically designed computer mouses promote comfort and efficiency during computer use. 

Computer mouses with integrated ergonomic elements often feature:

  • A contoured shape
  • Adjustable sizing
  • Wrist support

Double up on your computer mouse ergonomics. Investing in an ergonomic mouse tray can greatly enhance comfort and prevent potential injuries. By providing a stable and adjustable platform for a workstation user’s mouse, it ensures proper alignment of their wrist and forearm, reducing strain and promoting a more natural and comfortable working posture. 

6. Equipment That Can be Hidden Away

You can get the most out of a workstation when you can hide certain components away. 

An under-desk keyboard mount allows workers to stow the keyboard and use all that extra space to write, have multiple books open at once, and so on. A monitor lift mechanism allows users to slide the monitor away and have even more real estate.

As odd as it sounds, these small features of an ergonomic office workstation can make an office a little less crowded. Your workers will be less likely to bump into sharp corners, too. (Who hasn’t slammed their shin into a hard office table?)

7. Train Your Workers & Students 

Train all workstation to use their computer equipment and peripherals correctly. Having great equipment means nothing if your users don’t maintain good posture and don’t bother to learn how their equipment works.

Ideally, the right ergonomic office solutions will make it easy for users to:

  • Keep arms and legs supported
  • Maintain arm’s length distance from the screen
  • Keep the lumbar area supported
  • Type at a proper height
  • Keep the monitor at the right level

And don’t forget those crucial keyboard tips we listed in #4!

8. Encourage Breaks

Sitting in the same place in exactly the same position for extended periods is healthy for neither body nor spirit. Name one person you know who likes to feel chained to their desk while putting in a decent day’s work.  It’s should come as no surprise that it’s also bad for productivity

Sometimes it’s better to work smart than to work hard. That busy bee who doesn’t leave his desk all day might actually turn in less quality work than someone who takes frequent breaks.

Encourage users to:

  • Rest eyes and body every 30 minutes
  • Move around to get the blood flowing regularly
  • Encourage taking work around the office

What do we mean by that third point?

9. Promote Maneuverability

Workspaces have evolved rapidly the last few years. Try imitating forward-thinking companies like these (but maybe don’t spend so much …). 

Encourage users to take advantage of any flexibility allowed by your workspace. Is there a sofa, lounge, or outdoor area they can take their laptop to? Bonus points if it’s outdoors – there’s plenty of benefits to literally stepping outside of the office to work

By moving around during the workday, they can switch up posture and positions, and enjoy a more relaxed, comfortable work environment. Happy workers are more productive workers.

Creating the Best Ergonomic Workstation Setup 

Everyone has their own preferences for using keyboards, mice, monitors, chairs, and other equipment. One worker might need a footrest for good posture. A restless person who sits at a desk 40 hours a week might want to take her laptop elsewhere for a 30-minute breather.

The important thing is to keep your users in mind. In a work office, that may mean optimizing down to the individual level vs. buying a one-size-fits-all solution. Think with your mind and heart instead of your wallet -- the long-term ROI of office ergonomics can no longer be ignored.

View Ergonomic Products

This piece was originally published in October 2019 and was recently updated to reflect industry trends. 

Topics: Ergonomics