You know you should…

But I mean, who actually does?

Ergonomics. A fancy term which, at least when it’s applied to computers, means sitting correctly and not shlumping. (a not fancy term, you know what that one means)

Merriam-Webster tells us that ergonomics is the applied science of arranging and designing things that people use so that they are safe and efficient. (Merriam-Webster, n.d)

Today, we’ll talk about computers, and how to sit at them so you don’t develop a hunchback.

The screen:

The computer screen should be placed on a flat surface at between 28 and 30 inches (71-76 cm) above the floor. The screen itself should be view-able with your head facing forward  with no particular bending of the neck up or down.


Any chair you sit in should be comfortable and provide lumbar support. It can be fixed or swivel. Some places recommend that you sit with your hips and back at as close to a 90 degree angle as you can manage. Others recommend that you sit at closer to a 110 degree angle, which is slightly more relaxed and comfortable, and thus, a little more sustainable when you’re at the computer for a long time. Your feet should be flat on the floor, as well.

Arms and hands and keyboards, oh my!

A lot of ergonomics tends to be about 90 degree angles. You want your upper arms to hang straight down from your shoulders, and your elbows to be just above the desk, so that when you reach forwards to the keyboard, your forearms rest comfortably on the desk or table surface. (Spine Universe, 2017)

Here’s a link to a website that has a lot more info about the specifics of the above.


To reduce eye strain, its important to rest your eyes frequently, especially when doing graphics-rich web design or photo editing. Follow the 20/20/20 rule, which is slightly less catchy in the metric system,* but we’ll call it that anyway. Here’s a funky poster, which is also here:

Source: Visian ICL, image by unknown

*20 feet is 6 metres, for the rest of us crazies who use a logical measuring system

Remember to take not only eye breaks, but also brain breaks. Go outside, have a drink, a snack, remember your body needs care as well as your mind!

Go forth and sit well!


Reference List

Spine Universe 2017, Ergonomic Guidelines for Computer Workstations – 10 Steps for Users, Spine Universe, viewed 10 February 2017, <https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/ergonomic-guidelines-computer-workstations-10&gt;

Visian ICL, 2014. The 20/20/20 Rule, graphic/illustration, viewed 10 February 2017, <https://us.discovericl.com/blog/the-20-20-20-rule-preventing-digital-eye-strain&gt;.

“Ergonomics.” n.d. Merriam-Webster.com, viewed 10 February, 2017,<https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ergonomics&gt;.


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