The best way to set up your desk to avoid injury and improve comfort.

Here are our top tips of how to set up your home office properly to avoid injury and maximize comfort! So why should I bother I hear you say? Well here are just a few of the benefits of having a properly set up desk and working environment – particularly pertinent in our current times.

1. Reduced risk of developing neck or back pain. - this makes sense if you think about it - you set your car seat up so it's comfortable, you have your bike set up properly so its comfortable - why wouldn't you do the same for your desk - the place you spend most of your time.

2. Increased Productivity - Studies have shown that having your desk set up correctly not only increases productivity but also positively effects efficiency too.

3. Reduced Blood Sugar Spikes - Most of us sit at our desks for lunch or eat at our desks - studies have shown that standing rather than sitting at your desk can reduce blood sugar spikes by 43%.

4. Improved Heart Health - Studies have shown that having a sit stand desk can reduce the incidence of heart disease by 50%. that is madness just by standing!

5. Improved mental health – Being sedentary for long periods has been shown to increase anxiety and depression. A recent study showed that patients that had a proper ergonomically set up desk were significantly less stressed, less fatigued and felt they had higher energy levels.

So in summary – a good ergonomic set up leads to less stress, happier healthier more productive people … I think we can all agree this is a good thing. So how do I set my desk up to be ergonomically sound I hear you cry; keep reading to find out – we will start with chair set up, then move on ton desk and finally some bonus points… enjoy and in the words of Maui (Moana reference) “your welcome”.

So lets start with the chair set up. Firstly lets be clear here in an ideal world we would recommend where possible a mix of sitting and standing is preferable for the reasons outlined above, that said if you must sit the steps below will help set up your chair as best as possible. There are a couple of variations if you do not have an adjustable office style chair. So the reality is just do the best you can with what you have, it may not be perfect but its better than doing nothing!

Chair height – Ideal – If you have an adjustable chair adjust the height so that your feet are firmly on the floor – this will naturally lead to a comfortable bend at the knee and thighs parallel to the floor. Working from a fixed height chair? Working from a dining room style chair or a non-adjustable chair and feet aren’t on the floor or you have to sit right forward in the chair to achieve this the use a footrest – noting fancy a thick book or sturdy box will suffice.

Bum position – jut you butt as far back into the chair as you can. If you are “short in the leg” pop a cushion behind, you to be=ring the back of the chair to you.

Lumbar support – Ideal – Most adjustable chairs have a built-in lumbar support this should be positioned to comfortably support the low back. No Lumbar support? No problem – a similar effect can be achieved with either a lumbar roll if you have one, if not roll up a towel so its about 4-6 inches in diameter – simples.

To tilt or not to tilt? that is the question. If you have a tilt function you want to tilt forwards slightly – this will put your hips above your knees. This can e achieved by placing a small cushion under the hips in a static chair.

Arm position – if you have arm rests – adjust so elbows are bent and shoulders relaxed – no arm rests? ignore this bit.

Desk Set up

So the desk – firstly ensure there is room underneath it for your legs – if it is too low raise it up, again use blocks or books. To High the raise your chair height and use a footrest.

If using a laptop – get hold of a laptop stand (link below) if you can’t get one of these in the interim pop your laptop on some books or boxes to raise the screen height to eye level. If you are on a desk top – raise the screen to eye level. Th screen should be positioned no more than an arm’s length from you. Avoid glare from lights or the sun.

The Keyboard and mouse – If using a laptop for prolonged periods – I strongly recommend a separate keyboard and mouse (links below). The position of the keyboard should be close enough that you are not reaching but not too close. Your hand should be at elbow level or just below. Keep the mouse close so you are not reaching, and consider an ergonomic mouse – my personal favourite is the “penguin”

This set up is the same if you are using a standing desk. The link to the laptop stand below also doubles as a sit stand desktop standing desk – but you would need 2 of them one for the screen/laptop and one for your keyboard.

Bonus Tips

1. Take regular breaks – at least every 60 minutes – move completely away from your computer and have a complete screen break – no watching Netflix or checking your phone.

2. Keep hydrated – make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids – tea and coffee DO NOT count aim for at least 2 liters per day

3. Make a plan for your day – it takes 2 minutes but actually plan out your day – you will be so much more efficient

4. Make sure you take lunch – you need to keep your energy levels up and avoid snacking on sugary drinks and snacks

5. Check out our YouTube channel for a load of exercise and mobility videos.

6. Head over to our Facebook group – Active therapy Cirencester” for all the latest content and support

7. If in doubt book in a Virtual online appointment where we can talk you through the set up and ensure it is all done correctly.


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