Setting up a Workstation

If you use Display Screen Equipment (DSE) continuously for an hour or more it should be set up properly for maximum use:

Choose a quiet area (you can always use a headset if needs be) that you can set up a workstation with a desk and chair (if this isn’t possible then you can use the kitchen table) that has sufficient light and circulation but always side on to a window, never in front of a window or with a window behind you because of glare.

Working from Home
Make sure your chair is at the right height. Your forearms should be at the same level as the desk.

Make sure your screen is an arm’s length from you and that the top of your monitor is at eye

level. Use monitor blocks or  phone books to raise your screen to the right height.

Once you’ve adjusted your seat to the correct height, use a footrest if your feet are dangling.

Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, do not sit cross legged.

Ensure you are sat right back into your chair, your lower back should be supported.

If you can’t afford a decent chair, consider an accessory like the lumbar support or the Back friend or a cushion.

If you’re using a laptop, use an external keyboard and mouse. This prevents putting tension on the shoulders through excessive reaching and avoids putting undue pressure on your wrists. You should also use a laptop stand to put the screen into a higher position to avoid strain on the neck.

There is no legal guidance about how long and how often breaks should be for DSE work.

It depends on the kind of work you are doing. Take short breaks often, for example 5 to 10 minutes every hour

is better than 20 minutes every 2 hours.

Breaks or changes of activity allow users to move around, or at least stretch and change posture.

Eyes and eyesight testing

DSE work is visually demanding, so it can make someone aware of eyesight problems they have not noticed before (including changes in eyesight that happen with age).  Long spells of DSE work can lead to:

Tired and dry eyes causing discomfort

Temporary short-sightedness



You can help your eyes by:

Checking the screen is well positioned and properly adjusted

Making sure lighting conditions are suitable

Taking regular breaks from screen work

Adjusting the glare of the screen, maybe change the colour so it doesn’t glare.

Making the font larger

Regular eye checks


Exercising while sitting at your workstation.

Leg Planks - Sit on the edge of your chair with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Gently extend your right leg out in front of you until it's straight and parallel with the floor. Hold the pose for 10 seconds, release, and repeat with your other leg. Do the exercise five times on each leg.


Foot Drill - While seated, try tapping your feet for 30 seconds at a time – or longer if you can.


Shoulder Raises - These are a great way to relieve tension in your neck. Raise your shoulders up toward your ear, hold for 10 seconds, and relax or do just one shoulder at a time, then alternate five times each.


Back Twist – You can relieve tension in your back by doing a back twist: sit in your chair and place your right arm behind your right hip; twist to the right side and hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Try to do three on each side.