Basic Principles 

  • Keep work as close as possible to your body (papers, keyboard etc)
  • Keep items that are used regularly between hip and shoulder height
  • Only short periods of time should be spent doing repetitive tasks and holding static postures (aim for having a break every 20-30mins)
  • Keep heavy reference materials in arm’s reach or so that you need to stand to access them
  • Maintain upright posture and avoid twisting/slouching



  • Maintain a neutral spine. This means maintaining your 4 natural curves. This position minimises stress on your spine and helps prevent injury. This applies to sitting, standing and lifting postures.
  • Ensure your lower back is supported by the chair or a cushion/towel. Your back muscles should be soft
  • Keep your head upright and in line with your shoulders.
  • Shoulders should be relaxed back and down –  the muscles on top of your shoulders should be soft
  • Don’t hold the phone between your ear and shoulder – a headset would be ideal



Adjust the height of your chair to match the following:

  • Elbows should be at desk height or slightly above
  • Thighs are parallel to the floor & feet flat on the floor – you may need a footrest to achieve this
  • Have a 2-3 finger width between back of knee and front of seat
  • If you have a very deep seat you may need a cushion behind your back to allow for optimal posture & back support
  • Adjust the height of backrest so it fits into curve of lower back
  • Tilt backrest backwards slightly to minimise strain through the low back



  • Desk surface should be just below elbow height
  • Footrest should not interfere with movement of the chair
  • There should be a gap between your desk and your thigh
  • Items under the desk shouldn’t interfere with your feet
  • Place frequently used items in top drawer
  • Place phone so you can reach the handset and buttons without needing to move your trunk



  • Directly in front
  • Top of screen level with or slightly lower than eyes when sitting upright
  • Arm’s length away



  • Flat on desk
  • 5-10cm from front edge of desk
  • Don’t rest wrists on desk or keyboard while keying







  • Directly beside keyboard
  • Alternate sides
  • Avoid holding mouse while not using it  (avoid holding a prolonged position)
  • Avoid controlling the mouse with only  side-to-side wrist movement – keep your wrist  in line with your forearm & move the forearm  & wrist as one


Document Holders

  • Place document holder next to the monitor and at the same height and distance as the monitor
  • Use an angled surface to decrease prolonged periods of neck bending e.g. when reading for prolonged periods of time


Laptop Computers 

If using a laptop for extended periods of time, consider:

  • Docking station to ensure correct screen height and distance (as above)
  • Use of external mouse and keyboard to avoid excessive reaching