How to Set up an Ergonomic Workspace

If you’re among the millions of individuals who now find themselves needing to work from home, you’ve probably put together some kind of work space.

But is it a space that suits your needs?

To avoid injury and to potentially improve your productivity, it’s important to consider creating a workplace that fits with the way we’re designed.

How to Set up an Ergonomic Workspace
Image courtesy: Lifespan Fitness

You don’t have to spend a ton of money setting up a workspace that will suit your needs. As long as you’re able to meet the recommendations, you should be fine.

For example, experts recommend taking a break every 25 minutes, a solution that fits well with the Pomodoro productivity technique.

As you can imagine, being able to sit comfortably can help you be more productive, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on specialized equipment to benefit from ergonomic design.

Use what you have in your home to adjust your position as outlined below to design a more comfortable workspace.


Sit where you normally spend your time working. 

Pay attention to the position of your back and your neck. Are you looking straight ahead at the screen or do you have to look down?

You should sit upright in a straight position, with your back positioned against your chair. 

Does your chair support your lower back? If not, a soft cushion or wedge between your back and the backrest could be all you need to sit in a more comfortable position.


You should be able to reach your keyboard and/or mouse while keeping your arms in a 90 degree position. This puts the least possible strain on your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Your legs should be able to go underneath the desk, with your thighs at a 90 to 110 degree angle at the hip, and your feet comfortably resting on the floor, or on a footrest.


An ergonomic chair would be an optimal choice, but they can be very pricey.

If you don’t have the cash to spring on a new, ergonomically designed chair, you can modify your current setup to come a close second.

Lumbar support

As noted earlier, a wedge pillow can support your lower back, while a footrest – if needed – can keep your legs in that optimal 90 to 110 degree position.

Back tilt

Most modern office chairs have this feature. Being able to tilt back slightly in your chair is great for those times you need or want to stretch.

If your chair doesn’t have this feature, simply attempt to get up more frequently to walk around and stretch your body.

Seat height adjustment

It’s important for your chair to be the right height. If your seat places you below the right height, sit on one or more pillows as a stopgap measure until you’re able to get the right chair for your space.

While a simple kitchen chair can work temporarily, you really want to invest your resources into finding a chair that you can adjust.

Arm support

Experts recommend adjustable arms, however, depending on your particular frame, you may or may not need this. 

Back height

Again, this may or may not be an issue for you. More expensive chairs offer the ability for the back of the chair to be moved up or down to achieve lumbar support.

If you can afford a chair with this option it’s a good idea, otherwise, focus on features that you can’t easily adjust for such as a chair with an “up and down” adjustment feature.


If you need additional lighting, either change the wattage and kind of lights you’re using or add directional lighting (e.g. a desk lamp) where needed.


Depending on your workspace, the addition of a fan (a remote control is great) and/or a heater can help you maintain a comfortable temperature.

And when you feel comfortable, you’re definitely more productive, and happier.


Unless you’re someone who can work in the middle of a construction zone, you’re going to get distracted by every little thing you hear. 

However, if you’re like many people who do better with quieter surroundings, consider investing in a nice pair of noise blocking headphones. 


We rarely think of smell as something that can distract us, but it can.

For example, envision working in a corner of a bakery. Unless you possess superhuman strength, you’re going to get distracted when the baker pulls out a sheet of freshly baked cookies.

While that’s not a bad thing – hey, who couldn’t use a cookie break from time to time – it can become a distraction if a smell continues to interfere with your focus.

A fragrant, lit candle on the corner of your desk can be refreshing. Opt for scents that leave you feeling invigorated such as peppermint or citrus….leave the soft vanilla or lavender scents for those times you want to wind down.

Finally, consider the following graphic to help envision the aspects of what makes a comfortable workspace.

How to Set up an Ergonomic Workspace
Image courtesy: UC Davis

Here are more tips on organizing your home office space.

7 Ways to Save on Organizing Your Home Office

Remote Worker’s Guide to Home Office Lighting

Questions You Need to Ask Before Designing a Home Office