What is a Computer Workstation

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2020
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A computer workstation is an ergonomically designed area of an office that accommodates a desktop computer and all of its peripherals. Ergonomic design means that the user shouldn't have to assume uncomfortable positions in order to perform his or her duties. A good workstation provides a comfortable and adjustable task chair, a properly positioned monitor, a keyboard shelf, a mouse pad with wrist rest, and peripherals (printers, speakers, disk drives, etc.) that are easily accessible.

Before the advent of proper computer workstations, office workers often had to modify existing desks to accommodate all of their hardware, and the results were not always conducive to good health. Monitors were often placed too low or too high for comfortable viewing, causing the user to position his or her head incorrectly for hours at a time. The keyboards had to be placed on top of the desk, forcing the user's hands into an unnatural typing position. Early computer mouse systems did not always provide ergonomic wrist rests, leading to muscle fatigue and soreness.

This is why the modern ergonomic workstation has become so popular. The monitor can be positioned so that the midline of the screen is at or slightly below the user's eye level. Keyboards are often placed on a platform suspended below the desktop, keeping the hands at a comfortable distance while padded wrist rests reduce fatigue. The mouse pad uses a smooth surface for easier navigation and a wrist rest for the user.


Peripherals and processing towers on a computer workstation are generally stored out of the user's workzone, preventing accidental bumps and trips. Overhead shelves may hold manuals, reference books and other paper materials. Side drawers often contain office supplies, such as extra printer paper, ink cartridges, mailing aids, and repair kits. The lower portion of a workstation might hold the central processing tower, external drives, printer, and fax machine.

An ergonomic workstation can reduce the number of injuries suffered as a result of poor body positioning or repetitive motions. This in turn can lead to reduced group health insurance rates and higher worker productivity. In the US, federal OSHA guidelines for proper computer workstation configuration are available online or through other outlets for governmental agencies. These guidelines should cover everything from the proper angle of a desktop monitor to the position of the user's hands while typing or reading copy.


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Discuss this Article

Post 10

@dautsun - Adjustable computer workstations are really great. Since everyone in the world is not the same height, being able to adjust the table height is really great. I'm short, and I hate having to reach up uncomfortably to get to my keyboard.

Post 9

Since I don't have a desktop and use my laptop all the time, I don't need to have a complete computer workstation setup in my apartment. However, I do have an adjustable table set up that is a good height for me to set my lap top on to get some work done. I also invested in a comfortable chair, and I think it makes a big difference.

I find I get a lot more done if I sit at a dedicated workstation, and it's way more comfortable since I adjusted the table. If I ever do get a desktop, I'm definitely going to get a modular computer workstation to go with it.

Post 8

@Monika - It's unfortunate that your old boss didn't care enough to make sure you guys were comfortable at your workstations. I wonder how many of your coworkers also suffered some injuries from the set up?

Post 7

I think it's really nice that some companies provide ergonomic computer workstation desks to their employees. I think being comfortable (and not injuring yourself over time) can really boost workplace morale and productivity.

At my last job, I wasn't so lucky. After working there for a few weeks, I realized I had horrible wrist pain because I didn't have a wrist wrest for my keyboard and I had been typing with improper form. I went out and got a wrist rest, which helped me a lot. There wasn't really a lot I could do for the rest of my workstation though.

Post 6

While I can appreciate the power that a desktop computer workstation has available to its users, being strapped to a desk is simply not an option for my line of work. Using a mobile computer workstation is the only option that I have to in order to work in the fields in the industry that I am in.

By having a portable computer workstation, I am able to be flexible in my location and able to help clients on the fly. This mobility is unequivocal and means that my competition are stuck behind their desks while I am able to work right in front of the client and resolve any kind of issue or problem they might have to. This has led to my business be more successful than my competition and to mobile computer workstations I think is where my competition will be heading next to try and catch up with my competitive advantage.

Post 5

I don't require a powerful computer workstation like some people. I like to be able to do very basic tasks on my computer. Things like surfing the web, checking e-mail, updating my Facebook status are some of the simple things I actually do while on my computer workstation. Because of this I can go with some of the cheaper models of computers that are available are market today.

While for some people this may not be a reality, and may not even be able to consider purchasing a low-end computer like this, I like the savings that it allows in my budget. By not spending much of my computer use I have money for other things that I

desire to do. I think it's important to realize that when purchasing a computer workstation, you must purchase the amount of technology that you truly need. This can be hard to determine how much computing power that you use in your everyday life, there are guides available on the Internet to help you with this task.
Post 4

I use my computer workstation to be able to edit video and other types of media projects. Because of this heavy lifting that must be done my my computer technology, I always ensure that my computer workstation is the latest technology that is available on the market. While the expense can be very great for maintaining this type of high-level of the efficient equipment, my work depends on it and without having the speed that is produced by the latest and fastest computer workstations, I would be stuck in a world of waiting for computers.

Because video editing takes an extremely high amount of central processing unit power, it is very difficult to stay up on the latest cutting

edge technology. As much as I would love to use a portable computer workstation, only desktop computer workstations are capable of producing the kind of speed and power that I need to complete my highly advanced media work. At some point in time I do expect that portable computers will be able to outdo what desktop computers are capable of, but until that time, I must stick to a desk in order to complete my video editing.
Post 3

With a description so vague as computer workstation there is no surprise that it might help to define it better so people can understand what the term really means.

In my real life application of the tool, a computer workstation is a machine capable of propelling my business to the next level. I create, save, output and restore projects and information on this amazing system.

While I use my mostly for photography work I realize that the computer workstation has a variety of uses that no doubt help people all over the world. When I think of the term computer workstation though I generally think of serious computer users.

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