This post is related to the computer setup and your health is backed by credible references.

Most of us today have a desk job, and so it’s easier for us to ignore our health. Your health doesn’t just depend on the hours of exercise you put in each week. Instead, everything counts, from the way you sleep to how you sit, or even how much you type on the keyboard.

If you aren’t careful, it can lead to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD), which are degenerative in nature. Most often, they are caused by sitting in awkward postures for a long period. A 2013 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that 33 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses were MSD cases.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, employers in the US saw 647,000 workplace injuries in 1995. They spent around $15 to $20 billion in direct compensation and $45 to $60 billion in indirect compensation to the workers. Some of the common MSDs caused by desk workers include dermatitis, rash, hearing loss, joint stiffness, and eczema.

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If you aren’t careful, it isn’t just a terrible back pain that you should be looking at, but everything from reduced productivity to other health disorders.

Top 5 Tips to Properly Setup Your Computer Workstation

Here are some tips for setting up your computer workstation to increase productivity and sustain health:

1. Monitor Distance

Your LED/LCD/Monitor distance is the most important consideration in setting up your workstation properly. Ergonomics plays an important role in keeping your body comfortable and injury-free. Your computer monitor should be exactly perpendicular to your eye level so that your neck remains straight. Make sure, your line of sight covers one-third of the screen. Don’t sit too close to the monitor screen as it may strain your eyes. Doctors suggest maintaining a distance of at least 18 to 30 inches from the screen.

2. Office Lighting

Sufficient lighting is important for putting less stress on the eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. Should you feel your workstation needs more light, don’t hesitate to buy some new ones. Your eyes may just thank you. Also, ensure that you increase the brightness around a glare source as it can harm your eyes. The best lamps generally use LED technology.

3. Keyboard and Mouse

79 percent of cases of musculoskeletal disorders were recorded in three age groups – 25 – 34 years, 35 – 44 years, and 45 – 54 years during the 2001 study by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. 70 million people visited US hospitals and clinics in the same year for treating MSD. One of the common reasons is improper keyboard position. When you place your keyboard in the keyboard tray, angle it in such a way that your wrists aren’t bent, and your arms rest on the chair.

In case you don’t have a keyboard tray, increase the height of your chair so that the correct position is achieved. Remember to increase the height of your monitor screen at the same time, so that you are eyes and neck are comfortable.

Every year, carpal tunnel syndrome affects 1.9 million people in the United States with around 300,000 to 500,000 requiring surgery to cure it. Always keep the mouse on your right side next to the keyboard, not in front of it. Never squeeze the mouse while using it but simply hold it lightly since it can put a strain on the muscles of your hand.

Pick an ergonomic mouse that supports your palm and fingers. Keep your hand rested while doing so. If your mouse pad has a rest, use it rather than keeping your hand hanging. Increase the mouth pointer speed, so that the instructions are followed at the slightest command.

4. Chair Set Up

Are you sitting in the chair upright? An improper posture can lead to arthritis-like conditions and back pain. In the United States, around 27 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, which is characterized by constant joint pain and the inability to lift heavy things. In extreme cases, they aren’t even able to walk.

  • Always make sure that your feet at touching the ground.
  • Ensure there’s sufficient space between your seat pan and the back of your knees.
  • Sit at a comfortable angle of  90 to 95 degrees, anything more or less can hurt your back.

5. Backrest Support and Ankle

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated around 372,683 back injury cases while at work. Out of them, 79 percent were between the age of 25–54 years, 64 percent were male, and 70 percent were non-Hispanic white people. A backrest angle of 95 to 105 degrees will prevent back pain. Every work chair has a free-flow function, which you can use to set the degrees. Always buy a chair with armrests because they support your back by keeping the shoulders down.

Since you have a nine-to-five desk job, it’s a good idea to engage in neck and back exercises every hour.

Setting up your workstation properly is the first step towards increased productivity and health. I hope you implement some of the tips included here today.