Use Your Computer: Computer Ergonomics


by Barbara J. Feldman on February 24, 2008

Most people spend a good part of the day on the computer. Whether it’s an hour or two here and then to surf the web or play games, or whether it’s a full eight hours on the computer at work, spending time in front of the computer is a way of life for many people.

Spending so much time in front of the computer, though, can really take its toll on your health. However, computer ergonomics can help you to use your computer as safely and comfortably as possible.

What are computer ergonomics?

Computer ergonomics are a way to reduce the effects of sitting at a desk and working on a computer for extended periods of time. Computer ergonomics consist of such things as the placement of various components of the computer and the workstation, such as the computer monitor, desk, and keyboard, as well as accessories that can be used to reduce the effects of working at a computer.

Computer ergonomics are simple to put into place and do not cost a lot of money. Anyone who works at a computer can benefit from practicing computer ergonomics.

How do computer ergonomics help?

There are a number of ways computer ergonomics can help you to use your computer. Many people don’t realize the toll a computer can have on your physical health. Some of the negative effects of the computer that computer ergonomics can alleviate include:

 Eye strain. Flickering computer screens, poor lighting, and looking at the computer screen for prolonged periods of time can contribute to eye strain. This can lead to headaches and blurred vision.
 Back strain. A chair with poor back support, or having to hunch over to reach the keyboard could or see the monitor strain the back.
 Carpal tunnel syndrome. Some studies have linked the typing and positioning of the wrists while working on the computer to carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition that results in pain and numbness in the arm when the nerve that runs from the wrist to the forearm becomes pinched.
 Poor posture. It’s easy to begin to slouch when spending a lot of time at a desk, which can cause back pain and other problems related to poor posture.

Implementing computer ergonomics

Computer ergonomics to help you use your computer are easy to do. The following are some tips for putting computer ergonomics into place.

 Monitor — your monitor should be about eye level or slightly below. The brightness should be adjusted so that the screen does not flicker. Don’t place the monitor directly in the path of a window or light source, as this can cause glare.
 Seating — the chair you sit in during the day is important because it will be supporting your back. Make sure there is sufficient support for the back, and arm rests if you don’t have a high enough desk to rest your forearms on comfortably.
 Keyboard/mouse — the keyboard and mouse should have support pads for the wrists and should be close enough that you don’t have to stretch up or down in order to reach them.
 Workstation — your desk should have adequate space so that you are not cramped or crowded as you work.

Computer ergonomics are important to reduce the effects of spending a lot of time on the computer. The above tips are easy to implement and will help you to better use your computer in the safest and most comfortable manner possible.


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