Ergonomics

Ergonomics is defined as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely”.

Posture Tips

  • Position your back straight or reclined slightly
  • Your forearms and thighs should be roughly parallel to the floor
  • Your feet should be supported by the floor (or a footrest if the desk height isn’t adjustable).
  • Your wrists and hands should be in line with your forearms.
  • Your head should be level (and facing forward, not off to one side), with your eyes looking slightly downward (at a point between the middle and top of your monitor).
  • Shoulders should be relaxed, not hunched up, with your upper arms hanging naturally at your sides.

Chair Tips

  • Your seat should be height-adjustable.
  • When you stand next to the chair, the highest point of the seat should be just below your kneecap.
  • Your chair’s lumbar support should be height-adjustable to fit the small of your back.
  • When seated, you shouldn’t feel any pressure at the back of your knees (which should be slightly higher than, and about a fist’s distance from, the edge of the seat).

It’s important to ensure your space has adequate lighting—neither too little nor too much in the form of glare. Incorporate natural light into your space if possible. Be aware if there is bright light shining into your eyes (from behind your monitor) or onto the monitor (from behind you), which is undesirable.

For more information, access the USC Environmental Health & Safety Ergonomics webpage.