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Workstation Discomfort Symptoms and Solutions

This graphic illustrates the proper way to set up your workstation. If you are experiencing discomfort while at work, such as back pain or eye strain, click on a number in the graphic to match your symptoms with our solutions.

E-mail Kate Greenberg kgreen15@umn.edu or Neil Carlson carls001@umn.edu if you would like an on-site evaluation to improve your current workstation setup.

Discomfort Area: Neck


Risk Factors How to Decrease Risks
Monitor is too far away and head is tilted forward or person is nearsighted Bring monitor closer, up to 15-25 inches away (roughly arms length away), or change vision prescription
Mouse is too far to one side, too high, or too far forward Move mouse closer to keyboard height
Documents on desk or documents too far to one side Place the document and the monitor at height that allows neck to be neutral (straight)
Individual wears bifocals and tilts head back
  • Lower monitor and bring monitor closer (approximately 15-20 inches or arms length away)
  • Wear computer glasses
  • Use bi-level table that allows monitor surface to be lower than the keyboard surface
Monitor too low, neck tilted forward Raise monitor
Phone cradled between neck and shoulder Phone use 1-2 hours per day:
  • Use speaker phone
  • Use head set
  • Hold phone with hand, don't cradle with neck
  • Use phone rest
Elbows are above the keyboard height and there is a crease at the wrist
  • Lower chair height (Knees should not be higher than hips)
  • Install a keyboard drawer
  • Purchase soft foam on the edge of the table
Phone use 2 or more hours a day:
  • Use speaker phone
  • Use head set