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The Ergonomic Desk Setup Guide

Ergonomic Workstation Setup

So you need to know how to have an ergonomic desk set up? We have some real answers for you - using our own desks and ergonomic solutions at Sitbetter, we have covered the bases in how people work and how their workstation can be ergonomic.

There are a few basic ways people work: with a PC and one or multiple monitors, with a laptop (with a laptop as a docking station, or with a laptop and an external monitor) or on an extended height workstation. In any case, there are ergonomic solutions available for any with which way the user operates - and all have their benefits.

Click on the images for enlarged views


Laptop as Docking Station:

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopWith more jobs embracing the mobile lifestyle, many employees and executives are encouraged to work from various places, thus the use of a laptop as the main computer is becoming more commonplace. However, it goes without saying that every person must have a main office - those laptop warriors that do have one can still have an ergonomic workstation that will keep you comfortable and productive between sessions at Starbucks.

The first and more traditional way of using your laptop is in effect turning your laptop into a docking station. In effect, you'd be using the laptop save for the screen, mouse and keyboard, and getting the ergonomic benefits in the aforementioned areas. In the picture to the right (the workstation of Sitbetter's outstanding Marketing Manager), a Mac is used. The monitor is supported via a M2 Monitor Arm and used as the only screen, positioned centered with the keyboard tray. The peripherals (keyboard and mouse) are directly connected to the Mac, and placed on a 2G Keyboard Tray.This allows the laptop user to be ergonomically correct with the laptop as their docking station/desktop PC. The chair used is an A11 Ergonomic Chair, which features an adjustable lumbar support and a knee tilt mechanism.

In this format, the monitor should be centered, with the top of the monitor at the user's eye level. The keyboard tray is positioned at the center of the desk, at a comfortable upward angle (in this user's case, it was at 10 degrees upward tilt).


Laptop and Additional Monitor(s):

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopThe Laptop can also be used in conjunction with an additional monitor. Most laptops have the processing power to do so, and it provides a great solution for multi-tasking, on the go executives or employees. The workstation featured to the left is of yours truly and I employ various accessories to make the workstation more comfortable throughout the day. The keyboard tray is a 4G Humanscale keyboard tray, and is positioned centered to the desk. The laptop itself is being used as the main screen, with the additional screen as support for a larger desktop. Both tops of the screens are positioned at my eyesight. For the monitor, this is achieved with a M2 Humanscale Monitor Arm, in gray, and for the Laptop we use an ESI Laptop Stand. The Laptop Stand features various height points and a fan to keep the laptop cool, as well as USB ports in the back to connect all your peripherals. It's been a great tool for me. The chair I use varies from time to time, as some days I choose the Kore Stool for my lower back, the Evolution Ball Chair, or a traditional leather office chair.

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopWhat this set up does, aside from freeing up valuable desk space, is give me the ability to work as if I had a desktop PC, and get all the ergonomic benefits of having two monitors with monitor arms. Also, taking the laptop home is very easy - I unplug three ports: the USB from the laptop stand (my keyboard and mouse plug in directly to the stand, and the stand plugs into the laptop), the power cable, and the VGA cable from the second monitor. Literally takes 3 seconds.

Overall, I am very pleased with my desk set up. There are other options out there, as far as products are concerned, but the M2 Monitor Arm really looks nice and has a great price point, and you can't beat the functionality of the ESI Laptop Stand. Combining these two items with an ergonomic chair, and suddenly my not so ergonomic laptop feels refreshingly ergonomic!


Desktop PC and one or multiple Monitors:

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopThe most classic of the classic layouts. Whether it be one screen (most common) or multiple screens (becoming increasingly more common), it is imperative that the workstation be ergonomic. You have to be comfortable where one works, and with Desktop PC's, users are often in front or on their computers 5,6 or 7 hours at a time. Constant work (though we ALWAYS recommend taking breaks every half and hour, even if it is just to get up and stretch) is never good for the soul, or your muscles - and constant work in a bad position is even worse.

The desk to the left is a more standard, traditional set up of the greatest Order Entry department in the office furniture world. It consists of a flat screen monitor, propped on a Humanscale M7 Monitor Arm. The chair is a Humanscale Liberty Chair, and the keyboard is a Humanscale 2G Keyboard tray. Also, this user has a FM300B footrest with massage balls. With a lone ergonomic exception, (note the mouse is not on the tray, but rather on the desk) the desk setup provides more desk space on a small computer corner. The PC (not shown) is mounted on a CPU hanger, and there is more space for the user's legs. Overall, this is how most people should have their desk set up, considering most people have all the components in the image - a flat screen monitor, a keyboard and a fixed location desk. All the items are within an arms reach, and no overexertion is required to do one task - critical for all day tasking.

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopThe second type of Desktop PC setup involves the use of two monitors. In this case, it is one of our friendly and efficient Customer Service Team members, for whom two screens are critical for quick service resolution and tracking inquiries. In many positions, two screens are becoming more commonplace, so how do we make the area ergonomic? It all starts with identifying which screen will be the main screen for the user. If both are centered to the center of the desk or the users eyesight, then the screens will become an eyesore due to the lack of focus. By making one the focal point, the user has a place of constant visual access, thus making it easy on the eyes. The second screen will be a supporting screen - very similar to the Laptop with an additional monitor set up.

In this user's desk setup, the following components have been used: A modern and very heavy duty ESI Dual Monitor Arm, Anatome Keyboard Tray Combo 3A, and a very simple CPU stand. The last item might seem trivial, however, keeping one's PC off the floor prevents dust build up and extends the life of the PC substantially. Overall, in this set up, note the expansive desk space created - another benefit of the dual monitor arm. The chair used is an S12 Ergonomic Chair (now discontinued). The phone system is ergonomic too - using a handsfree Jabra headset allows for comfortable talking without having to crane the neck or hold a handset, and lets the user browse the Internet to help customers more efficiently.


Extended or Counter Height Workstation:

Ergonomic Desk For LaptopSimply said, having an extended height workstation is no reason to not be ergonomic. There are a few different items needed, but for the most part, the principles and items used are the same as the traditional Desktop PC setup.

For starters, the countertop workstation needs a drafting chair or stool, for reasons that are obvious. What may not be obvious is that any counter height workstation should have a CPU mount. Why? If the CPU is on the ground, it will be inaccessible by the user when seated! A CPU mount puts the PC at an unergonomic hands reach away, as if they were on a standard height desk. Other than that, the parts or the counter height workstation are pretty standard fare: a Monitor Arm and a Keyboard Tray. In the case of our salesperson's workstation, a Humanscale M7 Monitor Arm and Humanscale 2G Keyboard Tray are used. The CPU Mount is a Humanscale CPU600 CPU Mount.



In the end, it is imperative that one consider an ergonomic workstation as 50% of the total ergonomic equation. A good chair can be 40% and taking breaks can be the remaining 10%, but remembering that it is just as important to work comfortable not only for productiveness sake, but for your long term health as well.

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