Positioning computer equipment, such as monitors, shares the same principle as real estate: location, location, location. You can spend thousands on the greatest monitor available, but only if you put it in the right location will you reap ergonomic benefits. Alternatively, you can invest less in the monitor itself, but exponentially increase its user-friendly value by locating it properly. So let’s read on to know how to position your computer monitor ergonomically.
Read also: Ergonomics Examples in the Workplace
Here are three tips to guide your monitor positioning strategy:
1. Dual monitors are not a duplex
Tract homes and duplexes, equally situated, have benefits in the real estate world. In ergonomics, not so much. While professionals in different fields often use multiple monitors, two screens should not be treated as a duplex.
To position your dual computer monitors ergonomically, your primary monitor needs to be positioned front and center and your secondary monitor as close as possible. The secondary monitor should be positioned to the side of your dominant eye and angled toward you.
Positioning your monitors this way alleviates discomfort to your neck, minimizes awkward positions, and allows for the most neutral body positions. Taking these steps when positioning your dual monitors will create a working environment that takes care of you.
Extra Tips: Your dominant eye does not always correlate to your dominant hand. To determine which your dominant eye is, consider which you use to look through a camera eyehole or telescope. If you are leaning forward to view your monitor, there are 2 easy adjustments that will allow for healthy monitor posture: first, sit as close as you can to the front edge of the desk and then second, pull the monitor closer to you until you can sit with your head upright and your back supported while viewing the screen.
2. The Penthouse is not necessarily better
Remember in Pretty Woman when Edward admits that he is afraid of heights and Vivian asks him why he gets the penthouse? His response: “because it’s the best.” May be true in hotel accommodations and real estate investments, but not the case for ergonomic equipment. While monitor height is a very important factor to consider when placing your ergonomic equipment, a higher placement is not necessarily ideal. To determine the correct height run an imaginary line from the center of your forehead to the top of the monitor.
Extra Tips: If your neck is angled up to view your penthouse of a monitor, your screen is too high (bi-focals and tri-focals require lower monitor positioning). If your monitor screen is too low, raise it up with a monitor arm or monitor lift. If the top of the monitor is angled toward you, it will interfere with your normal focal point and has a tendency to force you to slouch. Also, as a general rule, your monitor should be positioned an arm’s length away, with larger monitors (24-36 inches) set even farther back.
A monitor that is positioned well positions you well for spending time focused on your work while maintaining good posture and good health.
3. A killer view is not desirable
While a nice view may help real estate values, placing your monitor in front of a window can quickly weaken your vision.
Your pupils constrict or dilate based on the amount of light exposure. If you are focusing on your monitor, but ample light is coming through the window behind it, your eye will take in more light than normal because the focal point is the dimmer screen. This sets up a conflict for your eyes and forces them to overwork, which can lead to eye fatigue and dryness; and eventually, continued eye strain may lead to worsening vision.
However, if you set your monitor perpendicular to a window, you can benefit from looking outside periodically and stretching your eye muscles.
If your workstation must be set up in front of a window, use vertical blinds work best for East/West facing windows and horizontal blinds for North/South facing windows.
Extra Tips: As the sunlight changes with the seasons, repositioning the monitor may be needed to minimize glare. Too much bright light can cause headaches. Be kind to your eyes: make sure to intentionally blink often and stock your workstations with Refresh tears.
Ergonomic Equipment Placement and Your Health
The principles of ergonomic equipment placement enable you to create a healthy environment and practice good healthy computing habits. They have been shown to minimize stress and lowering the risk of injuries and disorders caused by overusing of muscles, incorrect posture, and repeated tasks. So it is absolutely important that you know how to position your computer monitor ergonomically.
You spend a lot of time in your home and its location is critical in creating an environment that enables a healthy and happy lifestyle. The same can be said about the time spent in front of your computer monitor and the ergonomic improvements that will promote your health and well-being.
[Image credit: Snecx, Flickr]