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Ergonomics

Simple steps to good ergonomics at home

Here you'll find step-by-step guidance on how to better the ergonomics in the home office.

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To bilder: Bilde av bord og stol med laptop på venstre side. Bilde av bord og stol med to skjermer, og pute på stolen på høyre siden.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Step-by-step explanation on how to achieve a good working position.

Kvinne sitter på stol med krum rygg og jobber på laptop på et kjøkkenbord.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Kvinne sitter på stol med rett rygg og pute i korsryggen og jobber på laptop på et kjøkkenbord.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård
  • Sloped back and bended neck.
  • Lacking back support. 
  • Arms away from the body
  • Not sufficient forearm support

Adding a cushion: Better back- and neck positioning.

Kvinne sitter på stol med rett rygg og pute i korsryggen og jobber på laptop på et kjøkkenbord, men kroppen helt inntil bordet-..
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård
Kvinne sitter på stol med rett rygg og pute i korsryggen og jobber på laptop på et kjøkkenbord, med kroppen helt inntil bordet. Hun har også støttet opp laptopen med flere bøker, slik at den kommer høyere.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Sitting closer to the table:

  • Shoulders near the body
  • Relaxed shoulder muscles
  • Forearm support
     

Increase monitor height by placing the laptop on some books and adding a keyboard

  • Better neck positioning

Start by adjusting the chair before adjusting the table and electronic devices. 

Chair

  • 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.
  • The seat should ideally slope somewhat towards the front. 
  • Use cusions to build up seat height and shaping. Cushions made for seats is suitable for adding seat height, but you can also use other types of cushions. Use several cushions if needed. 
  • The lower part of your back should be supported. This makes it easier sitting with a neutral spine (good posture). Add a cushion behind your back to achieve proper back support. 
  • Avoid pressure points under the thighs. Pressure points restricts blood flow to the legs and makes one more prone to varicose veins. 
Person sitter rakrygget på stol med knærne i 90 graders vinkel.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård
Kjøkkenstol med puter for å heve setet og for støtte i korsryggen.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Table

  • A desk or kitchen table is preferred. 
  • Sit close to the table. 

Height:

  • Approximately 2/3 of the forearms should be supported on the table.
  • The elbow should be in about 90° flexion. If the table is too high the shoulders will elevate (while seated in the chair close to the table).
  • If the table is too high for the feet to rest on the floor - add a foot rest. 
  • In case of the table being too low you can add height by placing the table on books or bricks. 

Debth:

  • Should be 80-90 cm, due to the recommended viewing distance to the monitor, room for the keyboard and forearm support.
Kvinne sitter inntil pult med hendene på et tastatur og ser på laptop som står oppå en haug med bøker.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård
Bord med to dataskjermer (en vanlig og en laptop), som er høydejustert med bøker under bordbeina.
Photo:
Colourbox

Monitor

Distance:

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

Man som viser en armlengdes avstand fra seg selv til PC-skjermen.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Height:

  • 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 height. 
  • Rule of thumb 2: Gaze rests primarily at the upper 1/3 of the screen.

Mann som demonstrerer 15-30 graders vinkel når han ser på skjerm.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Angle:

  • 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 (no gap between).

  • The main screen is right in front of you, the secondary screen is right next to it.
  • In case of two (or multiple) screens being used, the midline of the screens should be right in front of you (or symmetrically placed from the screen in the middle).
  • 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. 

Laptop

  • Pronlonged use of laptop is not recommended. Add a monitor, keyboard and mouse to ensure better ergonomics. 
  • If using the laptop as a screen you should add some height by placing it on a stack of books e.l. to elevate it to a better viewing angle.

En laptopp oppå en stabel med bøker
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Keyboard and mouse

  • Place the mouse right next to the keyboard and rest your forearm on the table. That way your shoulder muscles relaxes the most.

Kvinne demonstrerer avslappet vinkel på skulder når hun holder datamusen
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Kvinne demonstrerer avslappet vinkel på skulder når hun holder datamusen
Photo:
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.

Demonstrasjon av korrekt vinkel på håndleddet på tastaturet.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Lighting

  • Reduce glaring and blinding sunlight by placing the workstation 90° to the window.
  • Have 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.

Pult med laptop, dataskjerm og arbeidslampe.
Photo:
Kjersti Nygård

Take frequent brakes 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.

Mann med beina på pulten som ser tankelfull ut av vinduet. Utenfor vinduet er det grønne trær.
Photo:
Colourbox