Share the message

Desk Ergonomics: A Proper Desk Set Up for a Healthier You


  • Most office desks are 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat.
  • A good desk setup for preventing office syndrome should consider such factors as lighting, correct computer placement, and a good chair that is neither too high nor too low.
  • Computer monitors that are too bright or glaring can cause macular degeneration. Wearing anti-glare glasses with UV protection or applying a film to your computer screen can help to protect your eyes from harmful UV400/UVA1 rays and direct light exposure. You should also rest your eyes for about 5 minutes every 2 hours.


Desk Ergonomics: A Proper Desk Set Up for a Healthier You

Research shows that the typical desk is home to up to 10 million bacteria, 7,500 of which are hidden in your computer keyboard. About 70-80% of these are of human origin, coming mostly from the skin, mouth, and intestines.

Even after cleaning your desk, bacteria and germs can return within just a few days.

In addition to unhygienic desks, other factors such as insufficient lighting, incorrect computer placement, and chairs that are either too high or too low can all have an effect on your health.

Let’s resolve to keep our desk and surroundings clean and hygienic, helping us to stay healthy and free from illness all year long.

The Cleanliness of Your Desk is More Important Than You Think

Believe it or not, most office desks are 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. Still, one in five office workers eat at their desks without cleaning them first. Cleaning your desk regularly, therefore, is incredibly important. Here are some tips to help you do so:

  • Remove all equipment and articles from your desk. Dust and wipe the table with a dry cloth. Next, use a damp cloth with some cleaning liquid on it to wipe clean every corner, nook and cranny of your desk. Wait until the desk is completely dry before returning all the items to their places once again.
  • Sort and organize items by category, such as documents, books, stationery, electrical appliances, etc.
  • Garbage, old books or papers, and unnecessary items such as figurines which collect dust should be separated and discarded.
  • Clean your computer with a cleaning solution made especially for this purpose. Make sure to disconnect all wires and turn off the machine before cleaning. To clean your keyboard, turn the keyboard over and gently shake it to get rid of any dirt stuck in cracks or between keys; then use a cotton ball or cotton bud, lightly dampened with the cleaning solution, to wipe clean each individual key, including the sides of the keys and spaces around them.
  • Keep your own personal glass for water or cup for coffee. Wash and rinse it thoroughly after each use and place it upside down to dry on a clean surface. This is important because more than 90% of glasses of water have accumulated germs and 20% are contaminated with bacteria that causes digestive disorders.
  • Pens and pencils should also be cleaned by wiping them down with alcohol or a cloth dampened with a cleaning solution. These items are handled with the same hands and fingers that are used to hold many other items throughout the day and, therefore, house a large amount of bacteria and germs.
  • Tables, chairs and other equipment should be cleaned regularly throughout the year.

How to Properly Set Up Your Desk

  • Your work area should be well-lit. The lamp you select for your desk should be adjustable so you can easily change its placement and direction. Choose softer lighting that is not too harsh on your eyes.
  • For proper computer placement, the top of the computer monitor should be at eye level. The distance between the monitor and the user’s eyes should be 0.40-0.50 meters, with the keyboard and mouse slightly lower than the monitor so as to avoid either lifting your shoulders or hunching your back while typing.
  • Reduce monitor glare so that it is comfortable for your eyes. This can help prevent macular degeneration. In cases where glare is unavoidable, you can wear anti-glare glasses with UV protection or apply a film to your computer screen to protect your eyes from harmful UV400/UVA1 rays and direct light exposure. You should also rest your eyes for about 5 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Your chair should be suitable for the desk you are sitting at. While working, you should be sitting fully in the chairs with your hips and back as close to the back of the chair as possible. Adjust your chair so that it is the right height for your desk and so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in line with your hips. If your feet dangle at this level, you may need a footrest or shoes that support your feet in their natural position.

Good self-care, which includes eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, and having regular exercise, is a main principle of healthy living. Maintaining proper cleanliness of your body, home, and environment, particularly when it comes to your office desk and space, is also very important. A workplace that is not hygienic can cause unnecessary sickness and disease that might otherwise be avoided.

You probably spend many hours a day at your desk, so make sure your office is a clean, safe and healthy environment.

Related content

Ask a Quick Question

Please complete the form below and we'll get back to you within 48 hours with a response

Rate This Article

User rating: 0 out of 5 with 0 ratings

Recommended Doctor

On-umar Banpamai, M.D. Summary: Internal Medicine Infectious Diseases