Ergonomics Made Simple – a brief primer from guest writer Marty Reed

Are you sitting down?  Good!

Now ask yourself, how many hours will I be sitting in this chair today??  Wow, that many…

Have you ever asked yourself why you have a backache, or your wrists hurt or why the screen is so blurry?  These are all symptoms that your body is not happy with how you are doing your job.

Ergonomics is the low-tech part of a high-tech job; it is a way to align your body with your job and keep it happy!

So, put your feet flat on the floor (if they don’t reach, we have a problem) so that your thighs are parallel with the floor.  Place your wrists on your desk in front of your keyboard so your forearms are also parallel with the floor.  If you need a wrist rest to keep your wrist in a neutral or flat position, order one. If you need a back support to sit up straight, get an adjustable one (if it’s not already part of your chair).  If you can’t stand keeping your feet flat, get a flexing foot rest.  And keep your monitor an arm’s length away.

Next, with all of those gadgets sitting by your workstation, pick one with the easiest alarm to set.  Then set it for one-hour intervals all day long.  (And if you and/or your children play endless hours of video games, do the same thing at home.)

When it goes off, that means you have to get up off your chair. Yes, GET UP, NOW!  Walk to get some water or walk around the office – do something to wake up your muscles.  (Do not go for a smoke and you may have already had more than enough coffee; try water.)  You might even come up with a solution to the problem you were working on.

Visit the Mayo Clinic at for more information on Office Ergonomics. 

Marty Reed is an Ergonomics expert providing training and consultation to local organizations.  Feel free to e-mail her at