Desk Ergonomics for Improved Posture and Typing Speed

Desk ergonomics are important to help prevent physical fatigue and the injuries that result from repetitive movements. Good ergonomics increase typing speed by achieving a more efficient positioning for typing movements that requires less motion to reach each key. Considering that the average person spends about 8 hours a day in front of a computer, making a few adjustments to a computer desk setup can have a huge impact on both physical comfort and typing speed.

One of the most common injuries caused by improper ergonomics is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when compression at the wrist causes pressure on the median nerve. This can result in tingling, pricking, numbness, pain in the hands or wrists, and loss of grip strength. In some cases, the pain can even travel up the arm and into the shoulder. Treatments involve everything from splints to expensive surgery, and this is only one of the likely injuries to occur from poor posture and ergonomics. For a person who tends to slouch or lean towards the monitor, back and neck injuries are another concern. The easiest way to avoid these injuries is to design your workspace to be as ergonomic as possible and take regular breaks as you work to avoid repetitive movements.

 

Desk Chair

The best place to start is with the desk chair. The height should be adjusted so that a user’s arms are bent at a 90° angle or greater when sitting at the desk with both hands on the keyboard. Feet should be flat on the ground, or on a foot stool, with thighs parallel to the floor. This not only helps with back support, but stability as well. Allowing about 3 inches between the back of the knees and the front edge of the chair seat is ideal to help maintain proper circulation in the legs.A foot stool is very helpful when the feet don’t quite reach the ground. It also helps lift the thighs slightly for better circulation and automatically tilts the body slightly away from the computer. Adjust the armrests so the lower arms rest parallel to the floor. It’s best that armrests only be used when not typing, to help maintain proper body alignment.

 
Desk Posture with Foot StoolDesk Posture with Foot Stool

Monitor

The monitor should be adjusted so that the top of the screen is slightly below eye level. This results in a slight bend in the neck, which reduces the neck strain that can occur when a monitor is lower or higher. Position the monitor to avoid glare by placing it at a right angle to any light sources or windows and make sure there is at least a 20-inch distance between the computer screen and the user to avoid eye strain.

 

Keyboard

The keyboard should be placed slightly below the elbow and at a negative angle. This allow the wrists to remain straight while typing. Avoid using a wrist rest or armrest while actively typing as this can cause the wrists to bend, placing unnecessary strain on them. Keeping elbows close to the body can help with typing speed since it puts the arms in the most efficient position for reaching the keyboard.

Proper position for hands and wrists when typing

Posture

One of the most important aspects of desk ergonomics is posture. Even with a perfect ergonomic setup, poor posture can result in a loss of the ergonomic benefits. The main thing to remember is to not slouch.Sit up straight, with the back placed at a 90 degree angle to the legs. Leaning back rather than towards the screen is very important to help avoid slouching. Slouching and leaning forward in the chair both contribute to both back and neck strain.
Perfect Desk PostureBad Desk Posture

Breaks

Finally, take breaks and stretch. The 20/20 rule is a good rule to follow: take a 20 second break for every 20 minutes spent working on a computer. A few shoulder rolls, hugging yourself tightly, or even standing up and touching your toes can help loosen muscles and get those eyes away from the monitor.

With these simple desk ergonomic adjustments, one can keep the body in proper alignment and avoid unnecessary strain. The added bonus is that perfect posture can significantly increase typing speed and efficiency.

12 Comments


  1. I definitely noticed myself typing much faster with these tips. Thanks 


  2. I’m waiting for my Model S to arrive and anxious to put all these tips into practice, I’m sure I’ll see a difference soon and I’ll let you know when that happens.  Today my XFactor is 2.6 – my goal is 1.0 – I got a ways to go!  YEA DAS KEYBOARD!


  3. I’ve been using these tips for the past two years and avoided any problems with body mechanics while improving my speed and accuracy. When I first started using the DAS keyboard my XFactor was 2.6 and now it ranges between 1.8 to 1.9 which represents a vast improvement. Also my employer has purchased 15 DAS keyboards which are signed out by Scribes and returned at the end of their shifts. Everyone loves the DAS!


  4. Thanks Roger! We’re glad you’ve enjoyed the blog posts and also love your Das!


  5. It a LITTLE bit helpful but i dont like typing so yeaa….-Matthew Mann


  6. Lol I sometimes do the slouching; my neck and back really pains while at work if I don’t do proper posture. I had issues with the latter for like 4 years in working in front of my computer for sometimes more than 8 hours in a day. Right now, not anymore. I am now able to easily and freely change positions every now and then with the help of TaskMate EZ. To be always moving or change positions like from sitting to standing, is the best and effective advise given to me by my doctor after I had slipped disc on my cervical spine last September.


  7. Thanks for sharing these desk ergonomics. I think all people who have sitting job on computer, follow these desk ergonomics. Generally people who have the sitting job have an issue with the health and many shift to the standing desk. Beside this there are many companies which only have the seating options and employees have to sit for more than 8 hour day, for them these desk suggestion are a great solution to improved posture and typing speed.


  8. I love the Das Keyboard 4 Professional on my new iMac 27″ Retinae Display. The wireless keyboard supplied by Apple is the single most USELESS piece of junk that ever tried to use. Hence the Das was ordered on the day of delivery for the iMac and I have been waiting on it to catch up on it for e-mail and a forum. So far I am very impressed. I’ve using Macs for 21 years without a problem and I could not compose a decent reply or email on the Apple wireless unit until the Das Keyboard arrived here yesterday. Something tells me THAT keyboard would never have seen the light of day if Steve Jobs was well and had still been with us and running things. To look nice and have no cords is just grand, however, Apple has been famous for that point where form meets function and to get just a small step closer to perfection than we were before. I was stunned by the junker they sent from the factory with a $3k custom iMac… At any rate it is here and I would love it completely if I could find a wrist rest and a cover to protect the keyboard when it is not actively in use. Though I understand they do not recommend rests and I have yet to see a cover so I may be out of luck. I REALLY like the volume, sleep, mute, fast forward, rewind, play, and stop modes buttons and wheel in the upper right hand corner. Very convenient… I’d like to play with the height, however, my chair does not adjust and I am setting behind an uber expensive mahogany that absolutely does not adjust. May be a good excuse to pick a biodesk and a Herman Miller Chair…


  9. Sorry, but wrist or palm rests are good for maintaining the straight position! The picture of the supposed good posture has the hands floating in mid-air, which will produce strain on the elbow and neck muscles in trying to keep the position!

    It’d be good if you all examined laptop keyboards for their differences.

    Finally, a lot of this is idiosyncratic, too– varying by individual. If you find a position, even with some slouching, some bending, but feel n pain or strain, you’re golden!


  10. Superb article! You have shared such useful information. These things are very important because it can help you reduce strain and pain and allows you to stay away from various physical health risks that can occur from typing for long periods.

    Stand- up desk

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