Postural Guide

Always check your working position when using a computer. To avoid unnecessary discomfort, make sure the following key principles are in place.

Neutral Neck Position

  • When looking at your work, keep your neck in a neutral or aligned position. Position the monitor directly in front of you to avoid turning your neck to the side.
  • Position the monitor so that you do not have to bend your neck up or down to see the screen. The top third of the screen should be at your seated eye level.
  • Place the monitor at least 20 to 30 inches away from you (slightly more than an arm’s length). Adjust as needed for your visual comfort.
  • If you must use a telephone simultaneously with the computer, use a headset. Never try to hold the handset between your shoulder and ear. If you chose to use a telephone handset, position the telephone close to you to avoid over-reaching.

Supported Spine

  • Place your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest if necessary.
  • Your chair should provide you with good back support. Maximize the contact of your back with the chair back using chair adjustments or cushions as needed.
  • Set the back rest at a slight recline. Approximately 100-110 degrees at the hips.
  • If your chair has an active recline mechanism, use it to change your position throughout the day.
  • Armrests are useful. However, the armrest height and width should be adjusted to allow your arms and shoulders to be in a relaxed position.
  • Adjust the seat depth to support your thighs. Leave a small space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees.

Arm/hand Positions

  • The keyboard and mouse should be placed at elbow height. Elbow height is when your upper arm is relaxed and to the side. The elbow will be bent at a 90 to 110 degree angle, and the wrists are straight and level. 
  • If you cannot adjust your keyboard height, raise your chair and use a footrest. If you have sit/stand equipment move it up or down as necessary.
  • If you sit in an upright position, your keyboard should be placed in a slight negative tilt so that the wrists can be placed in an aligned or neutral position.
  • Your hands should be slightly lower than your elbows with your fingers pointing toward the floor.(Note: If you recline back in your chair, you might not need to tilt the keyboard.Check the alignment of your wrist, and then set the angle of the keyboard as needed. Your sitting posture will affect how you adjust your keyboard and pointing device.)
  • If you use a keyboard tray, it should be wide enough for your pointing device.
  • If you use a palm support, use it to support your palms only when pausing between keying. Do not place your wrists on the rest and turn your wrists from side to side to key. This increases the strain on your wrist.
  • Your mouse should be positioned within easy reach. Over-reaching can result in shoulder and/or arm discomfort. If you are reaching out to use your mouse, elevate it on a thick foam mouse pad. Thick mouse pads can be requested here.