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Ergonomics derives from two Greek words: ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws, to create a word that means the science of work and a person's relationship to that work.

Ergonomics, also known as human factors, is the scientific discipline that seeks to understand and improve human interactions with products, equipment, environments and systems. Drawing upon human biology, psychology, engineering and design, ergonomics aims to develop and apply knowledge and techniques to optimise system performance, whilst protecting the health, safety and well-being of individuals involved. The attention of ergonomics extends across work, leisure and other aspects of our daily lives.

Ergonomics for computer workstation can generally be split into two parts. The first part is learning about good work posture and habits which involves applying ergonomic principles. This is where this website can help you in your ergonomic education.

The seat pan should not be too long for your legs; otherwise, it will either catch you behind the knees or it will prevent you from leaning fully back against the lumbar support. For clearance, you should have at least a 0.5-inch gap between the front edge of the seat pan and the back of your knees. The seat pan should be long enough to provide you with comfortable support for at least three-quarters of the length of the thigh. Many ergonomic chairs have a adjustable length seat pans to accommodate different body sizes. Most ergonomic chairs have a seat pan with a waterfall front (one that curves down) that prevents the seat from catching you behind the knees. The seat pan should also be contoured to allow even weight distribution and it should be comfortable to sit on. The edge of the seat pan should be soft and contoured so that it cannot cause compression of the thighs and buttocks. The rear of the seat pan should provide comfortable support. You may also want to choose a chair that swivels easily.

In first considering the "conventional" style of office chair, there are a number of things an ergonomic chair should have, including:

Seat height: Office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. A seat height that ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor should work for most people. This allows the user to have his or her feet flat on the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk.
Seat width and depth : The seat should have enough width and depth to support any user comfortably. Usually 17-20 inches wide is the standard. The depth (from front to back of the seat) needs to be enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the ergonomic office chair while leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable.
Lumbar support : Lower back support in an ergonomic chair is very important. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching (which flattens the natural curve) and strains the structures in the lower spine. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.
Backrest :The backrest of an ergonomic office chair should be 12 to 19 inches wide. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle. It should be able to support the natural curve of the spine, again with special attention paid to proper support of the lumbar region. If the office chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it from going too far backward once the user has determined the appropriate angle.
Seat material : The material on the office chair seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a harder surface.
Armrests : Office chair armrests should be adjustable. They should allow the user's arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing.
Swivel: Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.

Correct sitting is not all about sitting up straight

Correct working posture Always sit back and move your chair close to the desk to maintain contact between your back and the seat back to help support and maintain the inward curve of the lumbar spine. This can easily be achieved by choosing a seat which has a forward tilt of 5°-15° thereby ensuring your hips are slightly higher than your knees.
Poor working posture Do not perch on the front of your seat. Do not place your keyboard too far away. Instead move it closer to the front of the desk Avoid incorrect slouching where the angle of the pelvis rotates backwards. This results in the loss of the inward curve in the lumbar spine, causing excessive strain on the lumbar discs.

You can slouch if you need to in an ergonomic chair4

Correct slouch Balanced rocking pelvic tilt and adjustable floating chairs allow the user to release the whole seat and back into free float thereby allowing the user to lean back and 'slouch correctly' whilst the chair supports the user. You must ensure that you remain in the correct position with bottom back and the chair back following the lumbar spine.
Incorrect slouch Do not be tempted to slide forwards as this will stop the natural inward curve of the lumbar spine. Take care with synchro mechanisms whereby the "freefloat" feature allows the chair back to go past 90° resulting in the pelvis rotating backwards to reduce the curve of the lumbar spine.

Take your time: Take your time Experts agree that you have to try a chair for more than a few minutes in the store. Check with the retailer on their return policy. To know if the chair you're considering is right for you, have it delivered to your office and work in it for several days. If it turns out that you're not comfortable in it, don't be afraid to send it back. When equipping an entire company with chairs, it's impractical to custom-fit each employee. Rather, you'll want a chair that's sufficiently adjustable to fit most of your workers.

How do you use your desk ? Do you lean forward a lot, working on paperwork or a computer? If so, you need what's referred to today as a task chair. Workers who lean back a lot, while talking on the phone, for example, will benefit from a different kind of chair. However, some newer task chairs are built to provide comfort in a range of sitting postures.

Allow for proper blood circulation : Look for a seat with a rounded front edge, which helps blood circulation in the legs. Look for a good proportion — your feet should be firmly planted on the floor. An improperly proportioned chair will stop just behind the knees and cut off circulation. Make sure there's at least one extra inch of chair extending beyond your hips for comfort and thigh support.

Will the chair roll around on carpet or a hard floor? :The casters may not roll as smoothly on one type of surface as on another. Also, the overall seat height with casters should ensure that your feet are always flat on the floor.

Cloth, leather or vinyl ? Vinyl and leather clean easily, but they can trap heat because they don't breathe well. Cloth is usually more comfortable, but if you eat at your desk a lot, spills will eventually show. With newer mesh models this won't be a factor.