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Good Ideas for Good Work Habits

Work Process
Human beings are designed to move, not to sit still for long periods of time. We need to move to be healthy. Studies have shown that taking short breaks while performing intensive computer keyboard inputting increases productivity and decreases fatigue.

  • Vary your task and motion during the day
  • Alternate standing tasks with sitting tasks
  • Take 10-30 second breaks every 30 minutes
  • Take longer breaks from the monitor every 30 minutes
  • Take micro-breaks (5 minutes) every hour to perform exercises, less repetitive duties, or walk around to decrease fatigue.
  • Individualize your schedule, pace, and posture
  • Eliminate need for repetitive or sustained neck motions
  • Keep wrists in neutral position while working
  • Avoid using one finger only to operate controls; try alternative ways to operate contorls which use larger joints
  • Pad sharp edges or use forearm supports to decrease load when wrists or hands are in a weight-bearing position
  • Minimize the absolute number of keystrokes whenever possible

Workstation & Equipment
Design and equipment placement should support neutral postures-- don't be afraid to rearrange!

  • Place routinely-used documents, equipment, and work tools within 15" of your arm
  • Arrange work areas to be within a direct field of vision
  • Gain work space by finding adequate storage space for documents and equipment not used routinely
  • Clear obstructions from below worksurface
  • Adjust chair height or monitor so that the top of the mointor screen is at eye level or slightly below (bifocal wearers will want the screen lower)
  • Arrange document holder and monitor 18"-25" away and align with torso
  • Angle document holder and monitor slightly upward 10o-20o
  • Regularly adjust chair to promote optimal posture
  • Keyboard (or wrist rest) at least two inches from edge of desk
  • Elbows at 90o or less and wrists in neutral when inputting data
  • Be conscious of aches and pains
  • Know how chairs, desks, monitors, etc. adjust for safety and comfort

Good Sitting and Standing Posture

  • Head straight ahead, ears over shoulders
  • Shoulders centered over hips
  • Hips, knees and ankles at 90o
  • Upper arms relaxed at your sides
  • Low back supported by chair backrest
  • Back of legs supported by seat of chair
  • Feet flat, supported by floor or footrest


  • Maintain all 3 natural curves of your back
  • Don't lock knees
  • Keep head up and centered over your shoulders
  • Prop one foot up 3"-6" to decrease pressure in low back
  • Change position of legs frequently and shift weight
  • Arms relaxed at sides of body or supported with rests

The office environment should enhance health and safety.

  • Avoid sharp contrast between adjacent surfaces
  • Have task-specific lighting
  • Minimize glare by placing light source parallel to line of sight, wearing dark clothing, using indirect light, and an anti-glare filter
  • Minimize extremes in heat, vibration, noise, air flow, and relative humidity