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Setting up your Desk, Computer & Accessories

Posted by Dr Michael Crane on 26th Feb 2015


If your desk is height adjustable (electric), then you’re in luck. The reality is that most desks are not height adjustable. Unless you’re an operator of average height you will have to compromise the chair seat pan height. Either down or up to establish an ideal desk height, which allow the forearms to sit naturally.

For example:

Shorter people may have to raise the seat pan height to reach the desk. Their feet may not be firmly on the ground, therefore a foot stool maybe required for leg/foot support. Tip: If possible, cut or trim the legs of the desk to achieve suitable height.

Taller people may have to lower the seat pan height to sit with the desk surface. This will require them to extend the legs out further to ease the buttock pressure. Tip: Raise desk onto blocks to achieve suitable height.

The operator’s ‘Reach Envelope’ is the area on the desk that the operator can reach easily with their hands, without having to lean forwards or to the side. It’s roughly a semi-circle formed by both the operator’s hands, whilst the back remains leaning against the backrest. Items such as the keyboard, mouse, telephone and other accessories that are utilised regularly need to be located within this arc-like area.


Should be located on the desk, directly in front of the operator. The position of the keyboard in relation to the operator’s hands is determined by their inherent body dimensions. With the operator’s elbows positioned at the sides of their trunk, the keyboard should be located directly under the eventual hand position.


Located directly in front of the operator, but slightly to the right or left of the keyboard (depending on your handedness). Remember: Elbow at side, then mouse under hand & don’t reach.


Should be positioned on the desk, directly in front of the operator.

The monitor’s height is relative to the operator’s eye level, whilst they are sitting correctly. Parallel to the ground the monitor should be located so that their eyes bisect around three quarters up the screen. That is one quarter above and three quarters below. Exception: Operators utilising bifocal glasses will have to lower the monitor accordingly, but ensure the head is not dipping, only the eyes.

Depending on the operator’s eyesight, the monitor can be positioned at around one arms distance from the operator’s fingertips, whilst sitting correctly.