DSE Guidance

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Workstation checklist

For those of you working from home we’ve developed a range of tools and resources to help make life less challenging during your time away from the office.

Working from home doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself and your working set-up. We’ve put together some guidelines that will help you to set up your monitor, keyboard, mouse and body position so that you experience as little discomfort as possible.

If you’ve suddenly found yourself having to work in less than optimum conditions, Microlink has put together a series of tools that can support you during this challenging time, from our Home Worker Kit, to our Remote Assessments and Mental Health webinars we’ve got a host of ergonomic products, remote solutions and free resources to maintain your well-being and keep your productivity high.

Contact: WPA@microlinkpc.com / Tel: 023 80240300

Home Worker Kit Online shop: https://shop.microlinkpc.com


  • Adjust your monitor so that your eyes are parallel with the top of your screen.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Don’t stretch for your keyboard or mouse.
  • Elbows should stay in-line with your sides.
  • Make sure that your forearms are in-line with the desk.
  • When you sit down, sit as far back into the chair as possible
  • There should be a 2-3 finger gap between the back of the knee and the seat of the chair.
  • Drinking water from a glass encourages more movement throughout the day as you get up to refill your glass.
  • Keep your monitor an arms length away.
  • Your desk should be set just below your elbow.
  • If your feet do not remain solidly flat on the floor, when you are sat at the correct height, then you will need to use a footrest.


If you tend to sit for long periods of time, we would suggest investing in a good ergonomic chair to support various postures throughout your working day. If you are able to take your work office chair home with you then this is a good option. Ergonomic chairs are usually modular and built to your specification e.g. extra-deep seats for tall users or a shorter back for smaller users. Once you have found your perfect chair, take time to set it up correctly to make sure you benefit from all the features of your chair.
Office chairs are required to be adjustable for height and have an adjustable backrest for height and tilt. These features allow the backrest to be adjusted to support the natural curvature of the lower back, which in turn aids correct overall body posture. The height of the chair should allow positioning of the hands on the keyboard so that the wrists are straight, the elbows are resting by the side at 90 degrees and there is minimal reaching or leaning.
If you do not have an ergonomic chair, you could make some comfortable adjustments to your current chair with sitting wedges to angle your pelvis forward slightly for a better posture, to make it a little bit more supportive. If you are sat too low the placing of cushions or pillows on the seat pad may help raise your posture and prevent stress and strain on your shoulders, neck and lower back.

Please see: Chair Posture Set-Up


If your feet are off the floor a box will act as a footrest to support your feet and lower limbs. A footrest is used when the height of the chair (determined by arm position as noted above) does not allow a stable base of support to be established by the feet. A footrest will enable the user to gain a stable base of support, which aids in achieving correct posture during seated tasks.


Visual display units should sit directly in front of the user and approximately an arm’s length away, although this can depend on an individual’s focus and eyesight. The top of the screen should sit at eye level so that the majority of the screen is below the horizon. The muscles in the eyes are at their most relaxed when looking below the horizon.


If you are working from a laptop for any period of time, it is recommended that it is set up on a laptop stand (or on books) to raise it to eye height and it is then used alongside a separate keyboard and mouse to ensure the screen on the laptop stays at arm’s length.


The keyboard should be positioned approximately 10cm from the edge of the desk and within easy reach when sitting in a relaxed posture. This will reduce the strain on the neck, shoulders and back that is often associated with leaning and reaching. Items should not be placed between the user and the keyboard but should be placed either to the side or behind the keyboard or on a document holder. Extra caution should be taken to avoid ‘hovering’ above the keyboard with the fingers and thumb, as this can increase the pressure in the region. If your able to, take your work keyboard home with you.


The mouse should be kept close to the side of the keyboard and within easy reach when sitting with the elbow flexed to 90 degrees. Any reaching or rotating of the shoulder to access the mouse can lead to significant increases in shoulder strain that can have flow-on effects to the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. Using a mouse pad (although not required in new mice) can help to keep the mouse in the optimal position. If you are able to, take your work mouse home


There’s often a common misconception that ‘home workers don’t work as hard as those in the office’. However, it’s often even harder to switch off as the borders between work and home life blur. If you are working from home, make sure that you agree strict hours with your employer so that you feel comfortable in shutting down at a set time and can get on with your evening just as you would in a 9-5 office.

We also tend to have prompts to move around and take a break. Making a cup of tea might not seem significant, but little micro-breaks are great productivity boosters and also prevent you from sitting down all day. When you are working from home, try setting yourself little reminders to take proper breaks.

It is encouraged that you change your posture, between sitting and standing at regular intervals throughout the day. These posture breaks are to allow you to get up and alter your posture, and also to rest your hands from the keyboard and mouse. As a guide, it is recommended posture breaks of 2 – 3 minutes every 20 – 25 minutes are taken.

According to HSE guidelines (HSE 2003b) work should be planned so that there are regular breaks or changes of activity. It is therefore encouraged that employees take occasional breaks away from their workstation, take lunch away from their desk and lead an active lifestyle outside of work to prevent exacerbation of musculoskeletal problems.


If you are a regular phone user in the office, it’s more than likely that you use a landline on your desk. Telephones should be kept in positions where they are easily accessible so that there is no reaching or leaning required to access them. If you work from home without access to a landline, use your mobile on speakerphone or with an earpiece. Avoid holding it to your ear and neck.


General advice has been given on good posture when operating the DSE and other simple measures that will ensure a safe and comfortable working environment. Improvement in your health and comfort will depend on the advice being implemented on a daily basis.