Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Maintenance affecting the library catalog will occur on July 26-29. The catalog will be available except for newly added e-resources, which will not appear until after the maintenance is completed and the backlog of changes can be delivered - possibly 10 days. In addition, renewals and changes to circulation status will not be visible in the EDS interface during this time.
Notice: Maintenance affecting the library catalog will occur on July 26-29. The catalog will be available except for newly added e-resources, which will not appear until after the maintenance is completed and the backlog of changes can be delivered - possibly 10 days. In addition, renewals and changes to circulation status will not be visible in the EDS interface during this time.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.

Recommendations

Want to make sure you're working in an ergonomically correct office? Here is some information on setting up your workstation, working away from your desk, and working remotely.

Workstation Set Up

An employee can spend a lot of time at their workstation. Therefore, it is very important to make sure your workstation is safe and comfortable. Here are some recommendations to make that happen:

  • Keep the top of the monitor at or just below eye level.
  • Your head and neck should be in-line with your torso.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Your elbows should form slightly more than a 90 degree angle.
  • Your chair should support your back.
  • Your hands and wrists should be kept straight. Do not bend your hands up at the wrists!
  • Keep your keyboard, mouse, and other items you use frequently, close to you.
  • Your feet should be flat on the ground or use a footrest to support your feet.
  • Room lighting should match screen brightness.
  • Less light is better though you will need more light as you age.
  • Use task lights if necessary. Light should be where work is occurring and should not be directly overhead. Position to reduce glare and shadows.
  • Use a document holder or headphones if necessary.
  • See our section on dual monitors.
  • For more information see:

Non-Workstation Considerations

Handling Books

  • Do not grab too many books at once
  • Use two hands if lifting heavy books
  • Hold books close to your body
  • Use your entire hand(s) when grabbing books - avoid the pinch grip
  • Do not twist your body, take a step and turn instead

Working in the Stacks

  • Do not reach over your head, use a step stool
  • Do not bend over when reaching low, squat or sit on the step stool and keep your back straight
  • Alternate between your left and right hand when shelving
  • Wear closed toe shoes
  • Work in pairs if possible, especially when working with books on the higher shelves

Book Trucks

  • Push book trucks from the end not the side
  • Go at a normal pace
  • Keep your wrists straight
  • Keep the truck close to your body but allow enough space for your feet
  • Push book trucks except when going through doors
  • When pulling a book truck keep it close enough so that your arms are not fully extended
  • Pull book trucks when exiting elevators or going through swinging doors
  • Do not use a damaged book truck, wheels should turn and rotate freely
  • Do not completely fill up a truck, keep it light enough to be moved easily
  • If a book truck falls, let it fall. Do NOT try to catch it. Get out of the way
  • CAUTION: some book trucks have four wheels that turn instead of two

Other Non-Work Station Considerations

  • Vary your work tasks, do not do the same thing for hours on end
  • Take frequent micro-breaks to prevent fatigue, stretch, focus your eyes on something else
  • Work at a comfortable pace
  • Do not repeatedly use forceful exertions in your work tasks
  • Have minimal contact with sharp and/or hard edges and surfaces
  • Do not perform work tasks at the end of your range of movement, example: lifting things with your arms fully extended

More Information:

Remote Working Recommendations

Ergonomics and the home office setup

Working from home can have its perks, but like in the office proper, you need to set up a workstation that is ergonomically correct and lessen distractions. Here are some recommendations to 'get the job done.'

Basics of home office set-up

Sit or stand or both? Comfort and capability are key. Sit in a chair with proper leg height and back support. Slouching can be comfortable for a while, but ultimately it will wear on your back, hips, shoulders, etc. If standing, make sure there are no impediments in your standing area (shoes, table legs, doggies, etc.). On the table surface, like in your office set-up, keep your elbows at 90, your mouse in close proximity to your keyboard, and the monitor slightly below eye-level and an arm's length away. If using a laptop, consider a wireless mouse and separate keyboard as these tools can be more comfortable when used for an extended time.

Keep necessary supplies at hand - organize your area so you aren't constantly stopping because you need something that's 'over there'. Prepare for the task at hand before you begin so you can concentrate on the project itself.

Lighting - set up the monitor so there's little glare. You may want a task light or lamp if an area is too dark to see paperwork or the keyboard.

Beyond the workstation, consider these things -

Noise and sounds - if these bother you, set up your workstation away from these distractions. If not possible, consider a white-noise option (water or sound), or wearing noise canceling headphones. Food, too, can be distracting. Establish regular snack breaks so the pull of the refrigerator doesn't distract you from tasks.

Prepare others in the home that you are working! This can include significant others and kids. Anticipate some of their needs and plan accordingly. Likewise, tell them that you need some time to work on your own. If they know that you are working and need to get a job done, more than likely they'll interrupt you less (pets may not necessarily follow this advice).

Plan your work tasks. Since working remotely you may need to wait on others for feedback based on your contributions. Consequently, you may find you're working on multiple projects in chunks while waiting for feedback. If a project is such a case, be mindful of others and contribute your piece quickly, then respond in a reasonable time so the project can keep moving forward. You may want to provide a phone number - just because we're not in the same building doesn't mean we can call each other. Talking can clarify points quickly and provide a quicker solution than waiting for yet another email. Texting between parties, with permission, is acceptable too.

Set work hours. Set time for work projects and separate that from house hours. When taking a break to stretch or necessities, don't drag it out and get pulled into doing housework (or another snack...). Remind yourself you've got work to do and people are counting on you to get it done. Likewise, just because you've go a lot of projects in the hopper you don't need to work beyond the normal workday hours. Work is work, home time is home time - you need to set boundaries so you, your supervisor, and your family know what to expect and when. Doing so allows you to relax and enjoy the time and effort of both, an one less stress is better for you mind and body.

MSU Libraries Ergonomics Committee's Research page has ergonomic tips for laptop usage, stretching & exercises, and tips for popular hobbies and gaming.

Working from home articles: