Ergonomics Program

Ergonomics is the study of people's interactions with their surroundings. Using an improper workstation setup for long periods of time can increase the risk of ergonomic related pains and injuries. The purpose of the USD Ergonomics Program is to fit the workstation to the person in order to prevent discomfort or injury.

Remote Workstation Ergonomics

As University employees accustomed to the office environment, transitioning to working remotely has presented the unique challenge of setting up our at-home workstations. As comfortable as working on the couch sounds, using an improper workstation setup for a long period of time can increase the risk of ergonomic related pains and injuries. It is important to set up your workstation to create as little strain as possible to prevent injury regardless of where your workplace is located. You can adjust your own workstation using the following tips and principles. If you continue to feel discomfort after making these adjustments, you can contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety for assistance at

Workstation Set-Up Tips

  • Workspace: Identify a space on a desk or table to dedicate to computer use; don’t work while sitting on a bed or couch for long periods of time.
  • Monitor: Use an external monitor; or place laptop on a stand or books at eye level.
  • Keyboard and Mouse: Use an external keyboard and mouse to allow your laptop to be raised to eye level; wireless keyboards and mice can be purchased online.
  • Chair: Use a chair with low back support and a seat cushion. Your feet should rest on the floor or a footrest.
  • Phone: Use the speakerphone and voice activation for cell phone texting; don’t brace the handset or cell phone between your neck and shoulder.
  • Breaks: At least every hour stand up, move around, or stretch for five minutes.

Additional Remote Workstation Resources:

Basic Ergonomic Principles


Work Area Organization

Ensure enough table space for all electronics and printed material. Keep items that are used often in the primary work zone (the area when elbows are at the sides and the hands are moved side to side). Keep items that are used less often in the secondary work zone (area within the outstretched arms).

image of primary work zone within near reach, secondary work zone within stretched arm reach.

Height of Eyes and Elbows

Whether seated and standing, ensure that the keyboard and mouse are positioned at the elbow level.  Your elbows should be bent at 90 degrees. The top of the monitor should be at eye height.


Neutral Posture 

Attain a proper posture while performing sitting or standing work. A neutral seated posture should include sitting with the neck straight, shoulders straight down loosely at the sides, elbows at a right angle, wrists straight, low back supported on the back rest of the chair, 90 degrees at the hips, 90 degrees at the knees, and feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Additional Neutral Posture Resource:

A person seated in the perfect workstation setup with correct angles described by neutral posture section. The Ideal Seated Workstation



This image pictures a person standing at a properly leveled standing workstation with his elbows bent at 90 degrees. The Ideal Standing Workstation