Posted on 21st August 2017
The way you arrange your computer accessories and desk equipment can have a great impact on your posture and wellbeing. Imagine you own the perfect workstation: a highly ergonomic office chair, height-adjustable desk and a flexible monitor arm; however, you still get some pins and needles in your arms or have a stiff shoulder, or both.
This may be caused by excessive leaning and twisting due to the incorrect position of the accessories on your desk. This is why we want to talk about the easy reach zone - sometimes referred to as the neutral reach zone.
This is a relatively easy issue to resolve because a few tweaks to the position of your most used items can decrease the amounts of strain and torsion dramatically.
-The first area is the one closest to you, where you interact with the accessories you use the most: if your work is predominantly computer-based, these are likely to be your keyboard and mouse. The telephone can also be in this area if you use it frequently. This is the most important area because it provides the easiest reach to highly used items. Sorting out this area is of paramount importance.
-The second area includes items you don't use continuously: these can be a paper tray or a speaker. You should be able to reach these items by extending your arm, without leaning forward. Use this area to place the bits you use at least once daily but don't constitute essential items.
-The third area is the non-working area: typically it's the space behind and next to your monitor and the desk's rear corners. Placing any items here means you have to stretch considerably to reach them. Avoid using this space for items that you use daily.
-Keep the telephone on the right-hand side if you are right-handed and on the left if you are left-handed. This eliminates a lot of twisting.
-Extend your arm forward: is your fist touching the monitor? This is the ideal distance between you and the monitor.
-Mini keyboards are preferable because they allow you to keep your hands and wrists in a natural position rather than twisting out. They also save space in the precious first easy reach zone.
-If you're unsure about the correct positioning of the equipment on your work surface, a DSE assessment will help highlight any potential cause for concern and a specialist will advise on the correct workstation set-up for you.