Ergonomic Tips

Listed below are ergonomic guidelines to help keep your body in the best possible working order.  All of Xybix's products are designed and built based upon these principles:

Setting Up

Adjust the monitor height so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level.  Your eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.

Position the monitor no closer than 20 inches (508 mm) from your eyes.  A good rule of thumb is an arm’s length distance.  The larger your screen, the more distance you will want.

Adjust the screen position to eliminate glare from windows and ceiling lights.

If lighting conditions permit, tilt the monitor back 10° to 20°: this maintains the same distance between your eyes and the screen as you scan it from top to bottom.  Exception: If using bifocals, lower the monitor below eye level and turn screen upward, tilting it back 30° to 45°.

The centerline of the keyboard should be level with the height of your elbow.

Tilt the keyboard back 10° so that your wrists remain flat.

Use an adjustable chair.  Get comfortable with its features and make adjustments regularly.

Rest your eyes periodically by focusing on an object 20+ feet away.

Stand and stretch your back and arms from time to time.

Position whatever you are looking at most of the time (the screen or reference material) directly in front of you to minimize turning your head.

Remember that even if your workstation is set up properly, you can still get muscle fatigue from being in the same position for too long.  Be sure to periodically adjust your monitor, keyboard or chair to stay flexible.

Work Area

When setting up a work area, make sure that the space is large enough for you to spread out comfortably and allows for a full range of motion; this can be a special concern for those with especially long limbs.  You should also leave plenty of room to arrange items you use most frequently in such a way that there is no strain for you to reach them.

Laptops

When using a laptop, it's best to use it while it's on a table rather than on your lap.  If you use it frequently, you might be better served by using a separate keyboard and mouse rather than using the built-in keyboard and touch pad to reduce strain on your wrists and hands.

Keyboard

If you spend a lot of your work day typing, where you place your keyboard and how you use it can greatly affect your risk for getting repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.  Your keyboard should be placed so that your arms are parallel to your thighs.  If your desk doesn't allow for this, try getting a keyboard tray.  You'll also want to do your best to use good typing techniques, keeping your wrists elevated and not hitting the keys too hard.

Mouse

When setting up your desk, make sure to keep your mouse easily within reach and try not to grip it too tightly; doing so can strain the muscles in your hand.  If you find that using a mouse bothers you too much, try using an alternate input device like a trackball or a touch pad.

Desk

There is no one-size-fits-all desk, so choose one that is right for you.  You can help reduce your chance of injury by getting a document holder, arranging your electronics within your reach and making sure that the area underneath your desk remains uncluttered.

Chair

A good chair can do wonders, as sitting is much harder on your back than it might appear to be.  Make sure to keep your lower back supported, and adjust your chair so that you can easily reach your keyboard and mouse.  If this means raising the chair so that your feet don't quite reach the floor, get a footrest to help keep your feet from dangling.

Monitor

Improperly configured monitors can cause a great deal of eyestrain, resulting in headaches and difficulty concentrating.  Center your monitor in front of you at a comfortable distance, and adjust the brightness settings so that it’s easy on your eyes.  Make sure to take breaks from staring at your screen, too.  Glare can be a problem as well, and if you can't seem to eliminate it, use a glass glare filter.

Lighting

Common office lighting can often create a great deal of eyestrain by making your computer monitor difficult to see.  Adjust your shades or lights as much as you can to reduce glare, and position your monitor at such an angle to light sources that reflection is reduced.  It can be helpful to keep overhead lights dimmed and use a desk lamp for close work.

Work Habits

You can arrange your work habits so that you don't put undue stress on any part of your body.  Make sure to take frequent breaks, get up and walk around, and change positions frequently so that repetitive tasks and static work don't take their tolls.

Phone

It can be tempting to multitask and cradle your phone receiver between your neck and shoulder.  However, this should be avoided, as it can create a great deal of strain in your neck muscles.  If you need to have your hands free, try using a headset or put the call on speakerphone.

Other Useful Tips for Ergonomic Wellbeing

Rest your hands frequently, especially when any tingling, numbness, pain, cramping, etc. occurs.

Try and control your mouse with the lightest possible grip.

Rest your palms, not your wrist, on a wrist-rest or the desktop.

When using a keyboard/mouse, your hands should be even or slightly lower than your elbows.  An adjustable keyboard tray mounted under the desktop may be necessary.

Keep your hands in-line with your forearms as much as possible, not bent in/out or up/down at the wrist.

Rest your elbows on your chair's armrests and adjust them so the weight of your arms is supported by the armrests, not supported by your shoulders.

Use a foot rest if your feet aren't flat on the floor.

The top of your monitor should be about eye level so you aren't bending your neck up or too far down.

Sit upright so your head is above your shoulders.  Don't slouch forward.

Take frequent breaks and do stretching exercises to replenish blood flow which is restricted by continuous muscle use, especially involving your hands.

Alter your posture from time to time but keep within the guidelines of correct sitting most of the time.

Sit so the natural hollow stays in your lower back.  A good adjustable chair should allow for this.

Position your monitor and keyboard in front of you, not to the side.

Use larger barreled pens (1/2"+ diameter) to make them easier to grasp.

Don't wear wrist splints for extended periods during the day.  Some muscles may atrophy.

Don't type with long fingernails.

Cut back or discontinue the use of tobacco products.

If a repetitive job is awkward, try to find a better way to accomplish it.

When using vibrating tools, try to insulate the vibration from your hands with gloves, padding, etc.

Keep your wrist in a neutral position as much as possible, not bent or twisted.

Use your whole hand to grasp objects, not just your thumb and index finger.

Give your hand and wrist time to recover after forceful movements.

Don't carry heavy objects for long periods.  Use jacks, carts, dollies, etc. whenever possible.

Increase the diameter of the handles of tools and equipment with tape, foam or other materials to help reduce the force of your grip and to spread the pressure more evenly over the hand.

Keep your hands warm to promote circulation.

Avoid sleeping on or with your hands bent at the wrist.  If you experience symptoms at night due to this, wrist splints may help.

User should be able to reach the keyboard with wrists as flat as possible.

Elbow angle should be at greater than 90° to avoid nerve compression at the elbow.

Upper arm and elbow should be close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use.  Avoid overreaching.

Wrists should be as straight as possible when using the mouse and keyboard.