Ergonomics: Tips for a more comfortable workplace

Before we go in to detail regarding ergonomics, I want to make it clear that when it comes to posture there is NO right or wrong. Movement is the most beneficial way of keeping your body healthy. Changing position little and often will benefit you more than staying in the ‘ perfect posture’ all day.

‘Ergonomics’ is defined as a setup and design of efficiency and comfort in the working environment. This is not only for desk work but also for lifting and manual work as well as day to day awareness of our body’s position.

Comfort is certainly key when we’re working and a lot of patients we see in clinic present with various aches and pains – including neck, shoulder and lower back pain, which can often benefit from a slight change with their desk set up.

Desk based work ergonomics

Working from home has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and many people have found various places to work around their home. Some pointers of what to keep in mind when working, whether that is office based or at home may help if youre experiencing some discomfort.

  • Screen height at eye level, and bringing the screen forward if you need too (it doesn’t have to be at the back of your desk)
  • Suitable, supportive and adjustable chair where possible so can relax back into the seat, have your feet planted on the floor or on a foot stool.
  • Arm rests so you’re able to maintain a neutral shoulder position and relax when typing.

Many people use laptops for work which can be harder to find a more neutral and relaxed working position, due to the limited flexibility between screen height and key board position.

Raising your laptop screen using books or with a laptop stand can help to over come this, aswell as using a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Moving between various positions in the day is ok, in fact i would recommend it, whether you’re crossing your legs, raising one leg, elevating both legs, sitting straight, leaning on one elbow, as long as these positions are varied, between each other and standing up through out the day, aches and pains should stay at bay.

Lifting and manual work ergonomics

Bending the knees to lift heavy items can help prevent lower back injuries. Please note that bending the back is not an unsafe movement, but with heavy loads it is best practice to lift with care.

Ensure the knees follow the line of the feet as you squat down, to prevent any knee strain.

Using a mobile phone

Most people use a mobile phone on a daily basis and we can easily stay in the same position when messaging our friends or scrolling through social media or emails.

Ensure the phone is held up in front of your face to take some tension away from the upper back and neck.

Prop the phone up on something and sit back to watch videos,

Have regular breaks and move around.


  • Shoulder rolls
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Neck rotation and side stretching
  • Upper back rotation and side stretching
  • Chin tucks
  • Standing up regularly

If any exercises cause pain please don’t do them. Speak to your local osteopath or physiotherapist for appropriate guidance.