A proper work environment is one that goes beyond aesthetics. Whether it's an at-home office or work space on the job, an ergonomic design is important to reduce the risk of injury or fatigue. A desk positioned at the correct height is an important element in the office set along with the accessories and pieces of equipment that will outfit the desk.
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The correct height for standard desks is 29 to 30 inches. It is the same for single desks, U-shaped or L-shaped desks. Allow for adequate space behind and beside the desk when placing additional pieces of furniture, such as a guest or client chair, nearby. Three feet is sufficient.
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Properly place equipment on the desk for good work flow and ease of use. Placing the mouse or trackball next to the keyboard helps to avoid overreaching. Ensure the size of the input device comfortably fits your hand and that your wrist does not rest on any sharp edges. You should set the computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at or below eye-level.
Equally as important as a desk with the correct height is proper seating to go along with it. When creating a safe and comfortable work environment, the U.S. Department of Labor recommends examining the following factors when evaluating a work seat: Look for a chair that offers a back rest. If the chair has arm rests, test it to verify that it does not interfere with movement. Test the width and cushioning of the seat to ensure it is suitable for the user. See that the front of the seat does not press against your lower legs or knees.
Accessories, while optional, can make the workspace more functional. A document holder is good for holding papers if data entry or word processing is a large part of your work. A palm or wrist rest is also a good idea if sharp edges are near the keyboard.
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