This is a process where the working environment is made to fit the user rather than making the user fit the working environment. The AT Support Specialist can carry out a free workstation assessment, in your college or department, and recommend any changes that can be made.
Changes do not necessarily need to be expensive. Frequently, a slight change in positioning of keyboard, mouse, monitor, chair or position of paperwork can make a huge difference. In some circumstances, alternative input devices such as an ergonomic keyboard or mouse may be required.
Further information about workstation ergonomics can be found on the University Occupational Health, Workplace Ergonomics page.
- Have enough desk space to accommodate your paperwork and equipment a document holder or document slope may help
- Position the workstation and screen to avoid glare or reflection from lights or windows. Curtains or blinds may help.
- Ensure there is sufficient space under the desk for your legs to move.
Other aspects of workstation ergonomics include:
- Temperature – significant variations in temperature, either too hot or too cold, can have an adverse affect on concentration levels.
- Lighting – too much or not enough light can strain the eyes. It's useful to focus the eyes away from the screen periodically during the day.
- Humidity – low humidity can cause dry eyes and throat, whilst high humidity can cause perspiration. Plants can help re-balance humidity.
- Noise – too much noise can be distracting and disturb your concentration.
- Space – not enough storage space, desk space, or under desk space, can increase the chance of bad mouse and keyboard practice.
To book a workstation assessment, please contact the Assistive Technology Specialist.
Posture is particularly important while sitting at a workstation. The head is one of the heaviest parts of the body and if it is not well supported by an upright posture the muscles of the neck, back and arms need to work harder. You may also be more inclined to slouch or lean forward onto your hands and arms to help with support.
To achieve a good posture, adjust your chair height so that your forearms, when raised at a 90° angle, are horizontal to the highest point of the keyboard. If this means your feet are not flat on the floor then a footstool should be used to support them.
Ensure that the back of the chair is upright and that any lumber support, incorporated in the chair, is raised to fit into the lumber region of your back.
If your chair has arms that restrict you from getting close to the desk, by touching the edge of the desk, see if they can be removed.
Ensure that the top of the monitor is level with your eyes, so that you are able to keep your head upright, as much as possible. Position the monitor directly in front of you, not off to one side which can cause the head or body to twist, and about an arm's length away from you.
Make sure the screen surface is clean, sharp and in focus. Alter the brightness and contrast of the monitor to suit the lighting around the workstation. An anti-glare screen filter may help reduce lighting problems.
Adjust the text size/zoom features within the application, or the operating system, so that you can read the screen easily while sitting in a comfortable working position. Select colours that make the text easy to read: avoid red on a blue background; black text on a pale background, such as yellow or cream, can be easier to read. Sometimes it is not possible to alter the colours within all aspects of the computer environment. If this is the case, plastic coloured overlays, that sit directly onto the screen are available, as are overlays for paperwork.