Ergonomics is the science behind fitting the job to the person. This could include equipment, physical work environment, activity demands, and the individual’s postural habits and how they perform their work.

We aim to improve comfort, reduce strain, and prevent injuries by incorporating ergonomics in the workplace.


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Our Services

Most ergonomics services can be completed in-person or virtually.


An assessment is an in-depth analysis of  how you work in your workstation. We identify ergonomic hazards and provide recommendations on how to eliminate the hazards or reduce risk of injuries. We can focus on specific tasks that are uncomfortable or challenging for you.  This can be completed on-site at your workstation or virtually.


A showroom visit involves simulation of your workstation, equipment fitting, and a mini assessment. You will be asked to bring in a photo and measurements of your workstation to simulate at our Showroom. Based on your needs and anthropometrics, we will recommend and fit you to equipment. Then, we will assess how you interact with the equipment in your simulated workstation. 

Equipment available to trial for fit include: office chairs, sit-to-stand units, height adjustable desks, monitor arms/stands, keyboards, and mouse options.

*Showroom visits are by appointment only*

Trainings & Other:

We offer small group trainings by request. Please contact us at if you are interested in a service not listed above.


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Office Ergonomics

In a more virtual environment, people are frequently in front of a screen both in the office and in their remote workstations. It is important to fit your workstation to you to reduce strain and improve comfort.

The Top 5 Office Ergonomic Concerns identified among campus employees utilizing our services are related to:

  1. Desk height
  2. Keyboard/mouse width
  3. Monitor height
  4. Chair adjustability/function
  5. Chair fit

Below are some quick tips to improve the different elements of your computer workstation.


Person sitting at computer workstation with red marks indicating proper chair fit.

  • Seat Height: Adjust height so feet rest flat on the floor/footrest and knees are at or slightly below hip level. Hips and knees should be bent around 90° angles.
  • Seat Depth: Fit 2-4 fingers’ width between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
  • Backrest: Align lumbar support with the natural curve in your low back.
  • Armrests: If using armrests, gently rest elbows on armrests at around a 90° angle.


  • Desk Height:  Clear space under desk to allow legs to fit and move freely. When resting arms at your side, the top of the desk should be around elbow height. Ideal desk height for keyboard depends on the individual (seated: 22″-28″, standing: 37.4″-45.5″).


  • Monitor Height: Align top of monitor with eye level. Lower monitor slightly if wearing bi-focals. When using a laptop for a longer duration, raise the laptop and use an external keyboard.
  • Screen Distance: Monitor should be about an arm’s length away (20″-33″).
  • Monitor Position:  Center the monitor to you to reduce frequent and prolonged non-neutral neck position. If using dual monitors, pick one to be a primary monitor to center to you. The secondary monitor can be a less frequently used reference off to the side.
Dual monitor positions. Top shows neck rotation when person is centered to where dual monitors meet. Bottom shows neutral neck alignment when primary monitor is centered.
Top shows neck rotation when person is centered to where the dual monitors meet. Bottom shows neutral neck position when aligned to primary monitor.

Keyboard and Mouse

  • Wrist Alignment: Keep wrist angle neutral in all planes and avoid resting heavily on the palm side of your wrists (carpal tunnel).
  • Keyboard Width: Some people may find standard keyboards too wide, resulting in reaching far to the right to mouse. Consider using the left hand to mouse or a narrower keyboard without the numeric keypad.


  • Neutral: Ears, shoulders, elbows, and hips should be in alignment. Keep elbows at your sides to avoid reaching.
  • Standing: Standing to work depends on the individual, their preferences, and their needs.
  • Change Positions: Every 20-30 minutes, change your position (even if it is the most “ergonomic” posture) and add movement.

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Laboratory Ergonomics

UW–Madison is a renowned research institution with many different types of labs across campus. The unique demands of laboratory research may expose researchers to ergonomic risk factors such as:

  • excessive force
  • awkward or sustained postures
  • micromanipulation of small objects
  • repetitive motions
  • contact stress
  • temperature changes

These risk factors may lead to the development musculoskeletal concerns which could affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels, and discs.

Use the Laboratory Ergonomics Checklist to identify risk factors that may be contributing to discomfort in your lab.

Contact Ergonomics if you have additional questions or concerns.

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Materials Handling

Manual materials handling means moving or handling objects by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing, or pulling. Many employees move and handle objects as part of their job. Examples on campus include shoveling snow, emptying trash, moving furniture, and lifting Bucky up to do push-ups.

Use the Materials Handling Ergonomics Checklist to identify ergonomic risk factors that may be contributing to discomfort at work.

Contact Ergonomics if you have additional questions or concerns.

More information coming soon!

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What is the best ergonomic equipment?

It depends. The most ergonomic piece of equipment is the one that best fits you, your workstation, and how you work.

Examples of Ergonomic Equipment

  • Seating: adjustable office chair, lab stool
  • Work Surface: height-adjustable desk, sit-to-stand unit, adjustable lab bench
  • Computer Accessories: split keyboard, ambidextrous mouse
  • Tools: electronic pipette, long-handled toilet brush, electric stapler

Purchasing Process

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has policy and contracts regarding equipment purchase. It is the ordering department’s responsibility to assure that all current procurement policies are followed when making purchases.

Ergonomics can provide you with equipment recommendations and fittings based on you, your work, and your workstation. Purchase of equipment based on recommendations can be handled directly by your departmental process. If you are experiencing symptoms related to a chronic medical condition, disability or require medical treatment, please contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). Your DDR (found here) facilitates requests for reasonable accommodations in your School, College or Division.

If you do not require ergonomics guidance, you may directly contact vendors on contract. Some vendors have local showrooms you may visit to physically try equipment.

Current Showroom Chairs

The chairs currently in the Showroom do not mean they are the most ergonomic for you. The chairs represent a wide range of options selected based on adjustability to fit most of the population.

  • Ithaca, CXO, Alt 3
  • Steelcase: Leap, Gesture, Amia, Series 1
  • Herman Miller: Aeron, Embody, Mirra 2
  • Knoll: Generation, ReGeneration
  • Via 4u, Allseating YouToo, SitOnIt Focus

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Integrative Ergonomics

UW–Madison Ergonomics promotes a holistic, diverse, and human-centered approach when assessing a workspace. We aim to consider the physical, cognitive, environmental, and organizational factors that impact comfort, wellbeing, and productivity in the workplace.

More information coming soon!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Am I eligible for services if I'm not a UW–Madison employee?

Some UW–Madison affiliates may have access to services based on availability.

How much do Ergonomics services cost?

Ergonomics services are free for UW–Madison employees.


Emerson, S., Emerson, K., & Fedorczyk, J. (2021). Computer Workstation Ergonomics: Current evidence for evaluation, corrections, and recommendations for remote evaluation. Journal of Hand Therapy, 34(2), 166–178.  

OSHA Computer Workstations eTool.