Why is it important to have the right desk setup at home?

Desk setup is important to get right. This is because often we work 6 to 8 hours in a day, all using the desk. Most people know if their desk setup needs improvement, whether because they are feeling pain in their back or because they have a 10 year old chair which is falling to pieces. Keep reading to learn how to set up your desk at home, and reduce the risks that come with a poor desk setup.

 

Chair height and position

How ergonomic and well designed your chair is has a significant influence on whether you are likely to experience musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain or neck pain (Zeverdegani S et al., 2021). This means you should take careful consideration when choosing a chair for your home office. Your chair should have armrests to support your shoulders and also have a headrest if you work for long periods sitting down. It should also be adjustable in height.

Your chair should be of a height, such that your feet contact the floor, but your knees are not raised above the seat of the chair. This means that the weight of your calves and feet will not cause pressure against the hamstring attachments against the seat of the chair. It also means that your hips will be supported as your thighs rest on the seat.

Your chair should have lumbar support which you can feel contacting your low back, but not pushing into it. The best way to work out if your lumbar support is right for you is to go to your local office supply store and sit in the demonstration chair you like for around 10 to 15 minutes. This may seem like a long time, however it gives you a chance to decide whether after the initial experience, the chair stays comfortable the longer you sit in it. Chairs which feel as though they are digging into your low back aren’t appropriate, however chairs with a concave backing provide no support for the low back and should also be avoided.

 

Desk height and depth

Your desk height should be determined by the height of your chair’s armrests. The armrests should be the same height as the top of the desk, and your keyboard should either be low profile to stay near the same height as the desk, or have a wrist support to maintain neutral wrist positioning. The purpose of this positioning is to limit the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI) to the wrists and forearms.

Your desk depth should be determined by the size of your computer’s screen. If you are unsure how big your screen is, you can look at the back of most computer monitors for a sticker with the screen’s specifications, or for Mac you can click the Apple symbol at the top left corner of the screen, then ‘About This Mac’, and click on the ‘Displays’ tab for the size of your screen.

Research has shown that the ideal distance your screen should be from your eyes is approximately 52 – 73cm (Rempel D et al., 2007). This appears to be the distance which has shown to decrease headache, dry eyes and eye irritation. It should be taken into account how large the screen is, and if you have a larger screen it should be further away from your eyes. Importantly, if you have a larger screen (32+ inch), ensure you increase the default font size to avoid strain on your eyes.

 

Screen height and position

Your screen should be at a height where your eyes match the divide between the top two thirds of the display. To ensure the screen faces directly towards your eyes, tilt the screen back approximately 10 to 20 degrees.

 

In summary, it is important to set up your desk at home properly, to avoid common musculoskeletal conditions associated with prolonged sitting. It is often difficult to motivate ourselves to make an effort in changing our home office setup, however it is worthwhile in taking care of your spine.

 


References:

D, R., K, W., J, A., W, J., & J, S. (2007). The effects of visual display distance on eye accommodation, head posture, and vision and neck symptoms. Human Factors, 49(5), 830–838. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872007X230208

Zeverdegani, S. K., Yazdi, M., & MollaAghaBabaee, A. H. (2021). Latent class-derived patterns of musculoskeletal disorders in sedentary workers and chair ergonomic design. Https://Doi.Org/10.1080/10803548.2021.1916239. https://doi.org/10.1080/10803548.2021.1916239

 

 

Category: Chiropractic, Posture