The HSE-gateway
Office ergonomics

Setting up your office workstation

Guide to setting up your office equipment to prevent musculoskeletal pain.

Main content

Take frequent breaks and change position!

The physical cause of muscle and bone problems in office work is static and repetitive work. Without breaks and variety, you will have challenges, no matter how well set up the physical workplace is. Try the following tips as a minimum recommendation:

  • The 30-60-rule: For every 30 to 60 minutes, take a 30-60 second brake where you get up on your feet and move around.
  • The 20/ 20/ 20-rule: Rest your gaze: For every 20th minute, look 20 seconds on a place 20 feet away.

What can I do?

  • Get familiar with adjustment of the chair, table and electronic equipment. 
  • Please contact your line manager if you discover faulty equipment.
  • Always start by adjusting the chair before adjusting the table and electronic equipment. 

The chair

Tip: Search for instructional videos online. Look for chair brand and chair model (often identified by a sticker under the seat). Some common chair types at UiB: Kinnarps 6000-80000Kinnarps CapellaFlokk RH LogicHåg CapiscoHåg Tribute, Håg Inspiration,  og Håg ExcellenceHåg CreedBackApp, HÅG H05.

Follow this order when applying the chair settings:

Seat height:

  • Sit down on the seat with feet placed flat on the floor.
  • The seat height should be so that you have 90°-110° flexion in the knee joint. Note: This applies with a "regular" office chair with a flat seat.
  • Seat height for chairs with a saddle seat: About 125°-135° flexion in the knee and hip joints. 

Seat debth (provides correct back suport):

Pull the correct lever and push the seat so that:

  • The lower part of your back is in contact with the back support. 
  • There's should be a small gap between your knees and the seat, apporixmately 5-10 cm. Add a cushion behind your back in case of not achieving this.

Back height (provides correct back support):

Adjust the height so that:

  • The back support is helping you to sit with a good posture/ neutral spine. Add a cushion if needed.


The tilt is used to variate position and to relax. It is also used to incline the seat slightly forward. It’s generally recommended that you keep the tilt locked in «regular» (upright) back position whilst working. 

  • The tilt is usually controlled by two features: The lever for locked/ open, and the handle for tilt resistance.
  • The tilt is locked by a lever. When the lever is unlocked, the back support leans backwards. On some chairs, the seat can tilt  forwards as well.
  • Turn the handle regulating resistance (often found under the seat). Turn the handle right or left to increase or decrease the tilt resistance.
  • Test tilt resistance: Lean back and move arms in a semi-circle forwards and upwards. The chair should follow your movements by softly leaning you back. Lower your arms the oppisite way and try to sit upright again. The resistance is correct if the chair follows your movement back up again.
  • For chairs that allow forward tilting of the seat: Make sure the seat is tilted somewhat forward while in locked position. This allows for better circulation to the legs. 


Can be used to provide support for the forearms. Alternatively, you can use the tabletop as support. In case of the latter, place the armrests low enough so that you can sit close to the table.

  • Height: So that you have about 90° flexion in the elbow joint. Upper arms should be held close to the torso. 
  • Width: As close to the body as possible. Please note: Not all chairs allows this adjustment. 
Kvinne som sitter på kontorstol uten adekvat ryggstøtte. Det er pilmarkeringer som viser at ryggstøtten kan skyves opp/ned, setet frem/tilbake, setehøyden opp/ned og en pil som peker fra kvinnen til stolen.
Gabriela A. V. Saez og Kjersti Nygård
Bilde som illustrerer at det er litt plass mellom knehasen og stolsetet.
Gabriela A. V. Saez og Kjersti Nygård



  • Sit close to the table (so that the belly is touching the table!). 
  • Height:
    • Approximately 2/3 of the forearms should be supported on the table and/or armrests.
    • The elbow should be in about 90°-100° flexion. If the table is too high the shoulders will elevate (while seated in the chair close to the table).
    • Manual adjustment of table height is done by turning the adjustment piece placed distally on the table legs.
    • If the table is too high for the feet to rest on the floor - add a foot rest. 
  • Debth:
    • Should be 80-90 cm, due to the recommended viewing distance to the monitor, room for the keyboard and forearm support.

Kvinne som sitter ved kontorarbeidsplassen. Underarmene hviler på bordet.
Kjersti Nygård og Gabriela A. V. Saez.


Kvinne som sitter foran skjerm. Skjermens midtpunkt er markert med en vinkel på 15-30 grader.
Gabriela A. V. Saez og Kjersti Nygård


  • The monitor should be between 50-80 cm, depending on your vision and monitor size. 
  • Rule of thumb: Approximately an arm length away.


  • The centre of the screen should be 15°-30° down compared to looking straight ahead.
  • Rule of thumb 1: Upper monitor edge at eyebrow or eye level. 
  • Rule of thumb 2: Gaze rests primarily at the upper 1/3 of the screen.


  • Tilt the monitor slightly backwards (so that it's not perpendicular to the table top).

More than one monitor:

If you have several monitors, they should be placed right next to each other.

  • The main screen is right in front of you, the secondary screen is right next to it (no gap between).
  • In case of two screens being used equally much, the midline of the screens should be right in front of you. 
  • Consider tilting one of the monitors in the vertical position. This reduces the amount of scrolling while working, which again prevents mouse arm syndrome. However, be mindful that this positioning can lead to extra strain on the eyes or neck. 
Kvinne som sitter foran to skjermer. Hovedskjerm er plassert rett fremfor kroppen, sekundærskjerm er plassert ved siden av denne.
Kjersti Dahle og Kjersti Nygård
Kvinne som sitter foran to skjermer. Midtlinjen mellom skjermene går rett foran kroppen.
Kjersti Dahle og Kjersti Nygård

Example of a home office solution:

illustrativt bilde

Mouse and keyboard

  • Place the mouse right next to the keyboard and rest your forearm on the table. That way your shoulder muscles relaxes the most.
Armen holdes uten at underarmen får støtte fra underlaget.
Kjersti Nygård
Armen holdes kroppsnært og med god støtte fra underlaget.
Kjersti Nygård

Musen er plassert henholdsvis langt fra og helt nært tastaturet. Nært tastaturet er bra.
Kjersti Nygård
  • Place the keyboard flat on the table (avoid using the tilt). An angled wrist leads to constant muscle activation in your forearm, thus increasing the risk of mouse arm syndrome.

Tastatur med henholdsvis oppslåtte og nedslåtte ben. Nedslåtte ben er markert med smilefjes.
Kjersti Nygård


Learn the most common shortcuts.

Shortcuts on the keyboard
Kjersti Nygård
Kjersti Nygård



  • Reduce glaring and blinding sunlight by placing the workstation 90° to the window.
  • Ensure sufficient general lighting.
  • Add a desk lamp if needed. Be mindful that the need of lighting increases with age.
  • Avoid high contrasts between dark and light surfaces in the room.

illustrativt bilde

Take frequent breaks and change position!

A well adjusted ergonomic workstation is important. However, a "perfect" ergonomic working posture does no good if you spend too much time in it. The ergonomic setup is therefore only a part of the equation. Our body's needs variation. The next position is the best position! Change position often. You can even lean back and place your legs on the table from time to time – this is ok! Also, try the following tips as a minimum recommendation:

  • The 30-60-rule: For every 30 to 60 minutes, take a 30-60 second brake where you get up on your feet and move around.
  • The 20/ 20/ 20-rule: Rest your gaze: For every 20th minute, look 20 seconds on a place 20 feet away.

If you need a new work chair/office chair

The University of Bergen (UiB) has agreements with several suppliers for office furniture. 

All of our suppliers have good knowledge of how to sit well, and can help you choose the right chair for your needs.

If you need a new work chair/office chair, you can contact our suppliers directly, and they will help you choose and order a chair. Some of our suppliers can also offer to loan you a chair for trial before you buy it, to see if it is the right chair for you.

Expenses related to chairs are covered by the units assets, and must be approved by the Line Manager.