Ergonomic Laptop Use

Laptops are quickly becoming the primary device for today’s fast paced business world. They are fast replacing the traditional desktop due to the fact that we can work from them whenever and wherever we want! However, these conveniences come with some consequences. Laptop compact design forces users into awkward postures and can increase the risk of Occupational Overuse Syndrome.  Some ergonomic features are compromised for the portability nature of a laptop including posture, keyboard spacing, screen size and positioning. Often, I see people using laptops on their laps or on their desk in poor postures (I am also guilty of this) such as neck flexion, rounded shoulders, awkward wrist positions and no lumbar support. The main problem with laptops is that you cannot simultaneously position the screen and have the keyboard at the appropriate positions without some external assistance.

There are a few ways you can implement while using your laptop to make sure it is as ergonomically appropriate as possible.

  • Elevate the laptop – use a laptop stand/ raiser or place your laptop on a stable supportive surface such as phone books to eye level to reduce neck flexion and a hunched posture.
  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse – use a separate keyboard and place it 15cm from the each of the desk to allow neutral wrist position. Use a separate mouse to maintain an open shoulder posture and to minimise repetitive wrist strain when using the touch pad.
  • Monitor size and positioning – use an external monitor when available and position the monitor at arm’s length away. Laptop screens are often too small which result in strain on the eyes. It may also cause you to slouch forward to read off the screen resulting in poor posture.
  • Use an ergonomic chair – make sure the chair has 3 adjustable levers for the height of the chair, lumbar support and chair tilt.
  • Take regular postural breaks – it is recommended to take regular postural breaks every 15-20 minutes.

If you think you may benefit from an ergonomic assessment or have further questions, please contact the Accredited Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance for further information via info@absolutebalance.com.au

Daniel Nguyen (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)

Reference

Ekta Chavda, S. P. (2013). Current Practice of Laptop Computer and Related Health Problems. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 1024-1025.