Complete Guide on Ergonomic Sitting

Most of us spend much of our day sitting at a desk.

While we strive to meet deadlines and accomplish tasks, we often overlook a crucial aspect of our well-being: our sitting posture.

This is where ergonomic sitting helps with our sitting problems — helping us achieve good posture, reduce strain and injury, and increase comfort.

Of course, finding the right chair with good lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and cushioning is key.

Importance of Ergonomic Sitting Position at Desk

Importance of ergonomic sitting at work

Ergonomics studies how people interact with their environment and how to maximise comfort and productivity while working.

At work, it is about finding a way to sit that minimises stress on your body.

Let's check the three importance of an ergonomic sitting position.

1. Benefits of Proper Sitting Posture

Proper sitting posture can help to improve your overall health and well-being in several ways.

Here are some of the benefits of good posture:

  • Reduced pain and discomfort - you reduce the strain on your muscles, joints, and bones.
    This aids in preventing or lessening pain in your shoulders, back, and other places.
  • Improved blood flow- good sitting posture helps improve circulation by aligning your spine.
    As a result, your body's blood can circulate more freely, which boosts your energy and lessens exhaustion.
  • Increased productivity - correct sitting posture helps you focus better and concentrate on your work. This can lead to increased productivity and improved job performance.
  • Reduced stress levels - correct posture can help to reduce stress levels by improving your body's natural alignment and reducing muscle tension.

2. Common Office-Related Health Issues Due to Poor Sitting Posture

Many desk jobs often lead to many office-related physical issues and potential health risks and injuries, including:

  • Neck pain - due to the constant strain on the neck's muscles and ligaments.
  • Back pain - strain on the skeletal muscles and ligaments in the lower back.
  • Shoulder pain - this is one of the consequences of bad sitting posture, a shoulder strain.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome - caused by repetitive use of the hands and upper arms, characterised by numbness and tingling feeling.
  • Varicose veins - these enlarged leg veins can be worsened by sitting for long periods.

That's why strategies to maintain and improve posture are important.

3. Significance of Ergonomics in the Work Environment

As experts define it, ergonomics concerns the overall design and organisation in a workplace and how it impacts workers.

Among the many benefits of implementing ergonomic practices in the workplace, include:

  • Reduced risk of injuries - ergonomic position helps prevent injuries due to bad posture and heavy lifting (among other causes)
  • Improved employee morale - office ergonomics make employees feel more comfortable and safe. Thus, makes workers more likely to be happy and productive.
  • Increased productivity - when employees are not in pain or discomfort, they can focus on their tasks and get more done.

Elements of an Ergonomic Sitting Position

Elements of ergonomic office setups

You can achieve a good working environment by implementing key elements of an ergonomic sitting position.

Here are five essential elements to understand it better.

1. Finding the Right Office Chair

A good office chair should have an adjustable height, armrests, and lumbar cushion.

The seat should align with your knees when your ankles are flat on the floor. The armrests should also be where your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Lastly, the lumbar pillow should keep a good lower back posture.

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2. Adjusting Seat Height for Optimal Ergonomics

In fact, bad posture may change the structure of your vertebral column and lead to health problems.

Good thing you can maintain good posture and avoid pain and discomfort when the chair's height is correct.

Therefore, sit on a chair and have your knees parallel to the ground. Additionally, have your ankles or feet flat on the floor.

You can choose a footstool if your shoe can't touch the floor. Raise your chair if your knees and thighs are not parallel.

3. Importance of Lumbar Support

Lumbar supports prevent back pain as it properly aligns muscles and the spine. It overall reduces the tension in your lower back, thus avoiding bad posture.

A chair's backrest should relax your hips, joints, and lower back when sitting straight.

Use a lumbar or any small pillow if your chair lacks a lumbar cushion or pillow.

4. Using Armrests Effectively

Armrests help maintain correct posture by taking some weight off your upper body.

The armrests should be placed at your natural elbow position. They should sit just under your elbows when your hands are in your lap.

Using armrests effectively helps reduce muscle strain and alleviate shoulder and neck tension.

5. Positioning Your Feet for Improved Posture

Often overlooked, the position of your feet while sitting is also important for improved posture.

When sitting at your desk, ensure that your feet are flat on the ground. If it doesn't reach the floor, use a footrest to raise them.

Crossing your legs or knees can strain your lower back, joints, and hips, so avoiding doing so is best.

Correct foot positioning not only supports a healthy alignment of the spine and pelvis. It also alleviates strain on the lower back, hips, joints, knees, and legs.

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Tips for Maintaining a Correct Ergonomic Sitting Position

Here are some quick tips for maintaining correct office ergonomics.

1. Keeping a Neutral Spine

Your spine should be positioned straight from your head to your tailbone. Avoid being in a slouched position or leaning forward.

You can achieve the best posture for sitting by keeping the rest of the upper body in a straight and upright position.

Doing this distributes body weight and minimises strain on the spine and muscles — especially the head and neck.

It relaxes the joints in the hips, establishes good body posture, and compresses abdominal organs.

2. Balancing Your Screen at Eye Level

To balance your screen at eye level, modify the height of your chair or desk. Do this so you don't have to strain or tilt your neck to view your computer monitor.

Position your computer monitor comfortably, typically around an arm's length away from your desk's edge.

If necessary, use a monitor stand or an adjustable arm to raise or slightly lower your monitor to the desired eye level.

3. Keeping the Shoulders Relaxed and Down

Avoid hunching your shoulders (especially when using headphones).

Roll your shoulders back and down, allowing them to naturally rest in a relaxed position.

Try simple relaxation exercises that can physically release any seating position tension. You can also incorporate forearms and upper body strengthening exercises into your workout.

Doing this is necessary for keeping a correct sitting posture with little effort.

4. Elbows at a Comfortable 90-Degree Angle

It would be best if you had a comfortable 90-degree bend in your elbows. Keep your forearms parallel to the ground, with your palms facing down and your wrists flat.

You might need to modify the height of your office desk or chair.

This is important in stopping musculoskeletal disorders linked to prolonged periods of desk work.

5. Adjusting the Computer Keyboard and Mouse Placement

Both should be placed within reach and positioned so you don't feel any strain when you use them.

Experiment with the placement of this equipment to find the most comfortable resting position for your arms, wrists, and hands.

You may need a keyboard tray or a mouse pad to achieve this.

6. Taking Breaks for Stretching and Walking

Stretch breaks reduce muscle tension caused by static or being fixed in one position for too long — so get up and move!

Do this every 20-30 minutes to avoid muscle stiffness or neck and back pain.

You can also do simple stretches that help in finding the balance between sitting and standing to improve your posture and overall health.

Additional Equipment to Improve Ergonomics

Office chair and desk accessories

For enhanced office ergonomics, consider having the following additional equipment:

1. The Use of a Footrest

Use a footrest to provide support and maintain proper posture.

Set it at a comfortable height so your ankles can rest flat and reduce the pressure on your lower back, knees, and legs.

Footrests can be adjustable or non-adjustable.

Adjustable footrests are more versatile. Non-adjustable footrests are less expensive but may not be as comfortable as the former type.

2. Investing in an Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

An ergonomic computer mouse and keyboard help reduce strain on the upper arms and hands.

These devices often have a more natural shape and provide better support. It also helps achieve a more comfortable and efficient typing and pointing experience.

Anyone who uses a computer often would do well when they invest in this ergonomic office equipment.

3. Implementing a Sit-Stand Workstation

A sit-stand workstation allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. This helps reduce fatigue and improve circulation.

Look for desks with smooth height adjustment.

Staying seated all day can compress abdominal organs and cause musculoskeletal disorders. Good thing sit-stand workstations offer a solution.

4. Utilizing Ergonomic Cushions and Pillows

A good cushion will have a curved design that supports your natural curves and will be made of a material that helps you sit comfortably.

They provide good hip comfort and relieve muscle stiffness from body weight pressing down on the lower tailbone area.

Ensure that your hips are slightly higher than your legs or knees when sitting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Through practical knowledge and workplace observations, we have compiled a list of common questions related to ergonomic office seats:

What Is the Ideal Sitting Position at a Desk?

The ideal sitting position allows you to maintain the correct sitting posture and reduces stress on your body.

It involves keeping your feet flat on the floor or a footrest and maintaining a neutral spine with your back body supported.

It also involves placing your head and neck with your spine while your forearms are at a comfortable 90-degree angle.

How Do I Know if My Chair Is Adjusted Correctly for Ergonomics?

Here's what to check if your chair is well-adjusted:

  • Seat Height - keep your ankles flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Use a footrest if needed.
  • Seat Depth - keep a 2-inch gap between the front edge of the chair and the back of your knees.
  • Backrest - adjust the height and angle of the backrest to support your back posture and hips comfortably.
  • Armrests - set the armrests at a height that allows for a 90-degree angle at your elbows. Adjust their height and width as necessary.

How Can I Improve My Posture While Sitting at a Desk?

Remember the key strategies you can employ to improve your health while sitting at a desk.

Firstly, consciously sit straight with your shoulders relaxed and your back aligned against the chair.

Choose a supportive chair with proper lumbar support. Position your monitor at eye level to prevent straining your neck and ensure it is at a comfortable distance for clear visibility.

Adjust your keyboard or mouse so that your forearms are at a 90-degree angle, and rest your wrists straight and in a neutral position.

Also, take a short break from sitting by standing up, stretching, or walking.

Is It Necessary to Invest in Ergonomic Office Equipment?

Yes. It is a wise decision for both employees and employers, especially workers that spend extended periods at a desk.

Even though it might not be strictly necessary for all, many workplaces have adapted to these technologies.

This is because the health benefits of ergonomic furniture practically save money in the long run.

In addition, these ergonomic solutions can enhance productivity and prevent discomfort. They potentially reduce the likelihood of work-related injuries.

Take note that the cost of this office equipment can vary depending on the type of furniture and the included features.

How Often Should I Take Breaks From Sitting at My Desk?

Taking breaks from sitting every 20-30 minutes is a commonly recommended practice.

Short breaks help counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle and promote better health and good posture.

This is particularly helpful for individuals who spend a lot of time sitting.

These breaks can involve standing up, stretching, walking, or engaging in light physical activity.


Proper ergonomic sitting is crucial for comfort, posture, and productivity.

It helps reduce strain on the body and prevents common physical issues like back pain and musculoskeletal disorders.

We can create a healthier office environment by following an ergonomic sitting position.

This, therefore, optimises individuals' performance at the desk.

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