Ergonomics Program

Campus Address
120 USB
Mailing Address

120 University Services Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Keep ergonomics considerations in mind as you establish your at-home workspace. The right work surface, chair, computer positioning, etc., can enhance your comfort and productivity.

Computer Monitor

  • Set the top of your monitor at or slightly below eye level.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look 20 feet away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

Keyboard and Mouse

  • Try to keep your arms close to your body, with elbows near your sides.
  • If able, use an external keyboard and mouse.


  • Choose a chair with back support and sit so your back is supported, reclining slightly if possible.
  • Try to keep your knees at 90 degrees, with feet flat on the floor.
  • It is okay to occasionally sit on other surfaces, but do not sit on a stool, couch, or exercise ball for prolonged periods of time.

Work Surface

  • Use a hard flat surface such as a table or desk.
  • Remove clutter and any drawers directly in front of your seat.

Noise and Light

  • Noise can be managed with noise-canceling headphones or by listening to unfamiliar sounds or music in the background.
  • Lighting should be bright overhead. Position your screen away from other light sources to limit glare.

Getting Comfortable

If your workspace doesn't feel quite right, try these steps:

  • Place an additional chair cushion on your seat for extra comfort or height.
  • Use a box as a footrest to support your feet and legs.
  • Use speakerphone or headphones with a microphone to take calls instead of holding the phone.
  • Raise your monitor with an adjustable stand, laptop stand, or stack of books.
  • If your monitor is too small, increase the zoom settings.
  • If you only have a laptop, tilt the screen backwards to create more distance and use keyboard shortcuts to reduce trackpad use.
  • Stand up and move more often if your home setup isn’t ideal.

Reversal of posture exercises also can improve your comfort and prevent injury. 

Spending long hours in front of your computer or other devices can strain your eyes and even lead to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). University of Iowa College of Dentistry has several tips to help protect your vision and use good posture while using devices.

More at-home tips available at the Remote Work Ergonomic Toolkit and at Working During COVID-19.