How to Create an Ergonomic Work Environment

Do you sit for long periods of time?

Most professionals sit in the same position at their desk for long periods of time. Too long. And I’m guessing that you may be in that group too. And I’m sure you’ve read many articles about getting up from your desk more often, and maybe a few books too. But has that gotten you up from your chair on a regular basis the way you should? If you are like me, chances are, probably not. So, maybe what we can do is create an Ergonomic work environment.

What is an Ergonomic work environment?

Ergonomics is the science of designing a job, equipment and/or workplace to fit the worker. The goal is to optimize the “fit” between each worker and his or her work environment to optimize performance and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

~ Wikipedia

Now there are compelling reasons why you shouldn’t sit for long periods of time. And the same can be said for standing too long. But the position of your body in relation to your work environment is important too. This can be covered in one word – Ergonomics.

I found a good article that explains ergonomics and give tips for proper positioning. This will help you to stay pain-free. Computer Ergonomics by Gary Heiting, OD.

Here are the government guidelines for computer ergonomics:

  • Top of computer monitor at or just below eye level
  • Head and neck balanced and in-line with torso
  • Shoulders relaxed
  • Elbows close to body and supported
  • Lower back supported
  • Wrists and hands in-line with forearms
  • Adequate room for keyboard and mouse
  • Feet flat on the floor

So now that you know about ergonomics and it’s at the top of your mind. Start now to incorporate the Tips into your work environment. Take a periodic self-check throughout the day to consciously note if you are slouching, leaning forward or your bending your neck. Don’t delay – do this immediately. Also see the Foot Rest and Foot Massage to start feeling good right away.

And if you do want to take it to the next level and try something new or your Dr. is recommending a change, we’ve compiled a few options to help you think about what best suits your needs. We don’t want you to spend your hard-earned money on something that goes unused ( I’ve had a treadmill full of cloths and best intentions! ). See if you can narrow down what options are ‘must haves’ for you by reading below.

No matter what, this is a personal decision and here are some things to consider before making a change to your work environment:

  • Ergonomics – do you have aches and pains that may be related to the quality of your chair or the position of your body when working? Depending on what hurts, you may want to adjust the chair you use, or adjust how you sit.
  • Can you easily change from one type of desk to another? For example – sitting to standing and back to sitting. If this is disruptive and hinders your ability to focus on your work, you probably won’t change it up or down very often. Be sure you look for a desk that is simple to move up and down easily and can be done quickly (w/o tools or someone else’s help or moving everything off the desktop).
  • What other products do you need? For example – if you buy a standing desk, you’ll want to have a soft mat to stand on – this will protect your legs and spine. Keep in mind that to be ‘ergonomically correct’ you should have a foot rest when sitting.

Tip: Set recurring calendar reminders to ‘switch’. In other words, stand if you are sitting, sit if you are standing – you get the picture… Or, better yet – set it to remind you to be active too so you can reap the benefits of being more active during your work day. Simply set it to take a walk and give it a fun subject and picture.

Desk alternatives:

Check these out too …

Get Up!
Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It

Customer Review: “This is an incredible read. Dr Levine is well-spoken and uses wit, and would be enjoyable even if he were re-writing the phone book. …doesn’t re-hash anything…”

51wy4qusOoL__SL110_ Standing up to a Sitting World

The Office Workout
75 Exercises you can do at your Desk

Customer Review: “WOW. This is a unique book, in that the exercises here can be done while working AND more importantly without disturbing anyone in your workplace.
Some of the exercises can be done without the people around you even being aware that you’re doing them.”

Standing Desk For You?Thinking about a Standing Desk? Read This First! 51j3dqsqrxl-_sl110_ Stand up for your Health!

51gbgadi0dl-_sl110_ Stay Healthy at your Desk

41jehx4xk-l-_sl110_Exercise while sitting at your Desk

Be kind to your feet!

Standing Desk Mat

Steppie Balance Board

Standing Desk Mat
Standing Desk Mat

Rocking Footrest


Massage Footrest

Desk options…


Adjustable Height w/Monitor Mount


Travel Stand Up Desk


Dual Monitor Stand Up


Elevated Laptop Stand


Adjustable Height Retractable Keyboard


Pre-assembled Adjustable Desk

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk

Chairs available:

Office Chairs & Accessories…

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

Balance Ball Chair


Lumbar Support Chair by Serta


Cycle While You Work!

So, now that you know the options, think about the type of work you do. What items do you need at your fingertips? Would you be ok with bending down to get them when the desk is in Standing mode?

  • computer, iPad or Surface
  • dual-monitors (or three)
  • lamp
  • calculator
  • phone or other devices and/or chargers?
  • water bottle, or coffee / tea-cup
  • stapler, paper clip holder, tape, mouse
  • in-box
  • pad of paper
  • papers for the project at hand (room to spread out?)
  • office space – can you move your chair out-of-the-way when you aren’t using it
  • any other items you must have at your fingertips for a productive day

So, now that you know what to think about and what you need on top of the desk, think about whether you need them on the same level. If your computer is up on a pedestal but there’s no room for a cup or paper, then you’ll keep bending to reach for things. That would be a nuisance. So get a rough guesstimate of what you need for each level before you buy and be happy with your choice!

Best of luck with your Ergonomics and have fun choosing your next desk!

We hope you enjoyed reading this and want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit us!!

PS. We know how busy you are – let us Shop for you! Let us know what you are looking for and your ideal price then leave a favorite email address to contact you in the comments section. We’ll have fun shopping and let you know what we find.

Author: Joan E Wilder

We provide information and motivation focused on the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

2 thoughts

  1. This is great Joan, I can read about what to do then do something about it by ordering “to do about it”

    1. Thanks for writing Gary – I hope this helps you be more conscious of your body position as you work. Personally I tend to lean into my computer as the day goes on so I cut and pasted the OSHA tips and taped to the side of my computer :) Good luck to you!
      Thank you again for taking time out of your busy day to write us!


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