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The Ergonomic Equation

A three-part concept to simplify ergonomics

Neutral Posture + Voluntary Motion + Rest = Comfortable Computing … Ergonomics can be that simple.

Neutral Posture
  • Feels positively natural and comfortable
  • Energy expenditure is low
  • Minimizes stress to body
Voluntary Motion
  • Relieves static posture fatigue
  • Maintains body’s balance with surroundings
  • Improves circulation
Rest Time
  • Brief breaks at regular intervals; light exercise
  • Occasional stretching
  • Relaxes eyes, wrists, hands

Comfortable Computing

Computing comfort starts with paying attention to your body’s experience. With that as the basis, ergonomics is not as complex as it may seem. Indeed, just three basic elements define what we call the Ergonomic Equation. Added together they equal workplace wellness, which means less bodily strain and fewer repetitive stress injuries (RSI).

Ergonomic Equation graphic

Ergonomics Cheat Sheets

Correct placement of a monitor and keyboard can reduce eye, arm, shoulder and neck fatigue. Follow these tips for comfortable computing whenever working at a computer workstation.

General Tips

  • 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.

Monitor Tips

  • 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°.

Keyboard Tips

  • The center-line of the keyboard should be level with the height of your elbow.
  • Tilt the keyboard back 10° so that your wrists remain flat.

Make your space and work-life as comfortable as possible—get more ergonomics information that’s easy to use at ComputingComfort.org.