About 80 percent of all people suffer from back pain at least once in their lives. Every 10th illness-related workday absence can be attributed to Lumbago, Herniated Disks & Co. The reason for this can often be due to incorrect posture while engaged in an activity that our bodies were not made for anyway: sitting. But it’s so simple to do something about it! On this page you will find
- An online calculator with which the optimal height of the desk and chair can be calculated
- Many infographics revolving around the correct posture and ergonomic setting of the office
- Tips and tricks how to incorporate more movement in the office
Calculate the correct height of the desk and chair
Incorrectly adjusted office chairs and tables lead, in the best case, to back and neck pain and, in the worst case, to permanent back or disc damage. Calculate the correct height of the desk and chair. To calculate the perfect height of a standing desk, please check here.
The four main settings for an ergonomic office
- The monitor is placed below the horizontal visual axis and should be, at least, one arm’s length away. The reason: If the screen is too close or at the wrong height, the body is often tense. This creates tension in the shoulder and neck area
- Keyboard and mouse are placed in line with the elbows. Thus, the upper body is not permanently stressed on one side, which prevents cramps and disharmonies in the shoulder, back and neck musculature. Use hand supports! These prevent bending of the hands and gentle joints, tendons and nerves from the hand to the elbow. Disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome or golfer’s arm are thus effectively augmented.
- The basin should be slightly tilted – ergonomic chairs and seat cushions help. Effect: The lower back remains in its natural hollow cross; discs and muscles are relieved.
- Your shoes should be placed firmly on the ground and as parallel as possible to each other. Effect: The body automatically assumes a healthy posture, the load is distributed evenly on both body halves, as opposed to the seat with the leg overlapped.
Avoid incorrect positions
Do you need special furniture?
First, the good news: in most cases, you do not need special or particularly expensive furniture. Back pain is often simply due to the wrong posture for days, weeks, months. In most cases, it is, therefore, sufficient to adjust the chair and table correctly and to work on our own posture.
Vital for an ergonomic office: the chair
The right position of the office chair is crucial for an ergonomic office. When properly adjusted, it is much easier to align the table and monitor, keyboard and mouse correctly.
How exactly should the chair be adjusted?
The chair should be adjusted to your own body as much as possible. This includes the adjustment of the seat, the armrests, and the backrest.
The seat has the right height when the upper and lower legs form a right angle with each other and the two feet are flat on the floor next to each other. When seated, the entire seating area should be taken so that the back is supported by the backrest. Therefore, slide all the way to the back of the backrest.
If an ergonomic chair is used, the armrests and the backrest can be adjusted in addition to the depth of the seat. The backrest should be adjusted so that the back is held in a nearly upright position and supported from the pelvic area to the shoulder blades.
The correct height of the armrests
The height of the armrests is correct when the elbows are resting so that the upper and lower arm form a right angle while sitting. Armrests and the desk must be at the same height for work. With adjustable desks, height is no problem. Otherwise, something can be placed under the table for a table that is too low. If the table is too high, the seat height of the chair must be adjusted. If this doesn’t help, a footrest can be used.
The correct height of the table
Use the result of the calculator as the starting point and set the table to this height. Afterwards, you can make a fine adjustment. The table should be so high that the elbows and underarms lie straight on the table with loosely hanging upper arms.
If the tabletop is too low, it forces an unnatural curvature of the spine. If, on the other hand, the table is set too high, the shoulder girdle is pushed upwards and the neck and neck muscles are tense at work.
How does one sit properly?
The tilting of the pelvis is directly related to relief for the spine. The pelvis should be at the same angle as when walking or standing. This is how the spine is optimally relieved.
An office chair with a forwardly inclined seat and simultaneous backrest support ensure that the spine is in its natural double S shape.
Working properly with the laptop
Keyboard and Mouse
Movement in the office
A complete training program or extensive stretching exercises are not always what’s needed. It’s often enough to simply include a bit more movement in the office day. Walk over to your colleague instead of calling him or her, or writing a quick mail. Drinking a lot of water is also a good idea. This is not only healthy but also requires regular walking. Please make sure that you have properly fitting shoes when walking or standing a lot in the office. Check our shoe size charts here.
Avoid the elevator and take the stairs instead. The human body has been developed to be in motion. Walking is the most natural human movement. Therefore, it should be integrated as often as possible into the office day.
Working environment: The feel-good factor
Once the workplace has been set up, you can still work on the surroundings. In this case, small changes are often decisive. Sufficient fresh air and adequate lighting increase the concentration capacity. The arrangement of the furnishings can also be useful in order to improve the light situation and make working more comfortable. Personal objects and plants give the room its own touch.
By regularly ventilating the area, the ability to concentrate increases significantly. Room plants also contribute to a better room climate in the office. Optimal working conditions are a pleasant 68 – 71° Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 50%. If it is much cooler, it is likely that you use your A/C too much. The related energy consumption you may find here.
The desk should be set up so that the hand does not cast a shadow in the writing direction when writing, but should never be positioned in front of the window!
At a Glance
- Incorrectly adjusted office chairs and tables lead, in the best case, to back and neck pain and, in the worst case, to permanent back or disc damage. Therefore, it is very important to calculate the correct height of the desk and chair.
- To have an ergonomic office: (1) The monitor should be placed below the horizontal visual axis and should be, at least, one arm’s length away. (2) Keyboard and mouse should be placed in line with the elbows. (3) The basin should be slightly tilted, with the knees and elbows at a right angle. (4)The feet should be placed firmly on the ground and as parallel as possible to each other.
- The chair should be adjusted to your own body as much as possible. This includes the adjustment of the seat, the armrests, and the backrest.
- To avoid the unnatural curvature of the spine or the tensing of the neck and the shoulders, the table should be so high that the elbows and underarms lie straight on the table with loosely hanging upper arms.
- An office chair with a forwardly inclined seat and simultaneous backrest support ensure that the spine is in its natural double S shape.