Ergonomics looks at your work environment, the type of work you do and the tools that are required to do your job.

The workplace landscape continues to evolve and we are seeing more people showing signs of inadequate workstations. Whether you have returned to a typical office space environment, still working from home or a hybrid of the two, it is time that we put some focus on ensuring employees are properly set up to do their jobs. When it comes to office ergonomics the goal is to ensure that your work space fits you to support doing your job well, and without risk of injury.

Why Ergonomics at Work is Important?

Posture and spinal health play a vital role in your overall well-being, so it stands to reason that our every day habits can either improve or hinder our body’s abilities. 

The benefit of a properly set up workstation is you are less likely to suffer from eye strain or work-related headaches. In addition, It can reduce neck and back pain, as well as reduce the potential for repetitive strain on your spine, muscles, joints and tendons. When your workstation is set up specifically for you, it allows you to be more comfortable and that can lower stress and overuse injuries.

Improper or inadequate workstation setup can lead to a myriad of ergonomic-related pain and biomechanical issues in the long term.


Common conditions associated with poor ergonomics:

  • headaches/migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Mid-back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Elbow tendonitis
  • shoulder/hip bursitis
  • Low-back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Numbness and tingling (arms, legs, feet and/or hands)

A number of these conditions can be passed off as “normal” aches and pains that appear as we age, however many can be avoided if ergonomics, during work and leisure, are paid attention to.

Ergonomics—Desk, Chair and Technology

The ideal would be if you could move around during the day. Being able to raise your desk to stand and lower it to sit is a great way to move more frequently. More and more workplaces today are updating their offices and becoming more ergonomically friendly. Stand-up desks have lowered in price since they were first introduced making this an option for homes as well.

Office Ergonomics

It is important to remember to move, even when we are at our desks. Did you know that the more you fidget, the better is for you? The benefits of fidgeting like foot tapping or bouncing can help blood flow, burn more calories and help us stay more alert and focused.

If you do decide to get a standing work desk, I do recommend getting an anti-fatigue mat as it is designed to reduce fatigue caused by standing on hard surfaces, like hardwood floors or cement for long periods.

A good ergonomic chair is essential when you are sitting to ensure that you are actively sitting. Another great option would be using an exercise ball chair at your workstation, this is what I do when I am not standing at my desk. You can use an exercise ball as is, or you can get one on wheels or on a rack that can make it stationary. Exercise balls are affordable and they do a good job of ensuring your core is engaged and active while you are sitting down.

I’ve gathered some of my favourite economically office-friendly equipment HERE for ease of reference.

Check out my FOUNDATIONAL ERGONOMICS PROTOCOL for a quick reference to help ensure your home or work office is set up to help your productivity and to reduce the risk of injury while putting in long hours at your desk.

Guidelines for Maintaining an Ergonomically Correct Sitting Position

  • Ensure that your hands, wrists and forearms are straight, in line and roughly parallel to the floor. The keyboard and mouse should be at the same level to avoid repetitive reaching.
  • Ensure your head is levelled, forward-facing and in line with your torso. This means your computer needs to be positioned in a way where you can look straight at it and not need to bend your neck down. If you have multiple screens, ensure they are all at the same level and that you are not needing to tilt or rotate your head too far for prolonged periods. 
  • Your shoulders should be relaxed and your upper arms should hang normally at the side of the body.
  • Ensure your elbows stay close to your body and are bent between 90 and 120 degrees. Rest them softly on padded elbow support if your chair has one.
  • Your lower back should be in a comfortable, neutral position with adequate lumbar support.
  • Your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor and supported by a well-padded seat that does not press hard on the back of your knees as this can irritate your sciatic nerve. 
  • Keep your feet fully supported on the floor with your knees close to a 90-degree angle, and use a footrest if you have to. 

Guidelines For Maintaining An Ergonomically Correct Standing Position

  • Maintain upper body positions as per the sitting position described above.
  • When using a standing workstation, keep your head, neck, torso and legs approximately in line and vertical.
  • Keep the back straight and keep knees a little bent and gluteus muscles slightly engaged.
  • Use a footrest to shift your weight from foot to foot. 
  • Wear shoes that provide proper support. Consider getting indoor shoes you only wear inside of your house and get fitted for orthotics if you have foot pain and/or mobility issues. 
  • Purchase anti-fatigue mats as they are designed to promote some cushioning and healthy micro-movements within your feet and calves to ensure consistent blood flow while you stand at work. 

Other Considerations: 

Keep key objects, for example, your telephone, stapler or printed materials, close to your body to prevent excessive reaching. If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradle the phone between your head and neck.

walking meeting

Movement And Stretching

There are several ways we can intentionally add movement into our daily lives. One way to do this if you work in an office building is to choose the stairs over the elevator. If you work from home, I imagine you need to go down or up the stairs to use the washroom or get a water refill. But, if at a work building, this may take more conscious effort.

Another option would be to consider walking meetings to get up and move and if possible get some fresh air!

I hope this has been helpful. please let me know if you implement any of these strategies.


ergonomicsIs Your Workspace a Pain in the Neck?