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Ten tips for improving your workstation

1. Eyes

  • Avoid annoying reflections, and ensure a suitable contrast between the monitor and the environment. Note: in modern office environments it is possible that the window size and therefore the amount of light are large. Using blinds can prevent incident light from annoyingly reflecting on the monitor. Horizontal blinds (such as roller blinds and horizontal strip blinds) are more effective in blocking annoying horizontal light than vertical blinds, such as traditional vertical strip blinds.
  • Focusing on a distant object every thirty minutes can avoid much eye discomfort. Break software provide reminders to take such microbreaks.


2. Reading from the screen

  •  When using several applications at the same time, using two monitors, or one large one (≥ 22 inch) split into two, is recommended. If using a laptop with a small screen (< 15 inch) for a long period of time, one can better connect to an external monitor. 
  • The distance to the screen depends on the character size. The most comfortable is to work with a relatively large character size and a viewing distance of 60 to 70 cm (character to viewing distance ratio: 1 : 150).
  • The angle between the viewing line and the horizontal line must be at least 10 to 20° for the whole monitor.


3. Sitting

  • The chair must at least comply with NEN-EN 1335-1, but preferably also with NPR 1813:2003.
  •  A reclining chair, where the angle between the seat and the chair back remains the same, is recommended over a chair with a synchronous mechanism (movement of the seat with respect to the chair back ratio 1 : 2 or 1 : 3).
  •  Support one’s arms properly during computer work with comfortable height-adjustable armrests or possibly a (specially-shaped) worktop.


4. Reading and writing
One’s documents must be placed in line with the monitor and the keyboard on an inclined surface. During writing, the documents must be placed on a slightly raised surface close to one’s body.

5. Working with a laptop
To work ergonomically and productively, a laptop must be combined with an external monitor or a laptop holder with a separate keyboard and mouse.

6. Carrying a laptop
Carrying a laptop and possibly accessories for a long period of time can be a strain, certainly when the weight is more than 6 kilos. A laptop trolley or rucksack reduces this strain. When travelling by public transport or bicycle/motorbike, a rucksack is the obvious choice, while a trolley is preferable in other cases.

7. Mental fatigue

  • An effective remedy against mental fatigue is to alternate the work with other tasks. The other task may just be a break, but doing something active can also refresh one mentally (e.g. moving around or doing something else that one finds personally interesting).
  • Alternating one’s tasks and workload according to one's natural day rhythm, one’s biorhythm, is important. Account for this when planning your tasks.


8. Mouse devices

  • It is important to keep the mouse close to one’s body. A compact keyboard or a centrally positioned mouse makes this possible.
  • Using a mouse is precision work, where one moves and clicks with the cursor with small fast movements. For this reason, we recommend choosing a mouse that you can move using your fingertips, such as a pen mouse or precision mouse.
  • In many cases, performing a function using a hotkey instead of the mouse is quicker.


9. Entering text

  • The distance between the middle of one key to the next must be 19 mm. 
  • One must receive clear audible and tactile feedback when hitting (pressing) the keys.
  • A compact keyboard reduces the distance to the mouse and therefore puts less strain on one’s shoulder.


10. Sitting and/or standing

  • The worktop is preferably adjustable between 60 and 82 cm. For sit-stand-tables, this should be 60 to 125 cm (minimum 62 to 120 cm). A sit-stand-table is preferable to a standard (seated) desk.
  • The table must be placed at or slightly under elbow height.

Source: Bakker

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