Laptop Ergonomics and Tips
Laptop computers were designed with portability in mind. Many of the design features which make laptop computers excellent mobile solutions create problems when it comes to ergonomics. The fact that a laptop keyboard and monitor do not adjust independently of one another forces a user to choose between comfortable hand/wrist or head/neck posture. This puts the laptop user into awkward or unhealthy postures which may lead to short- and/or long-term discomfort or injury. In addition, transporting a laptop can present another strain on our bodies. The American Medical Association recommends that no more than 15% of a person's body weight should be carried or strapped on for transport. Add the laptop weight to other items you are carrying around and calculate the percentage of your weight you are hauling!
RecommendationsWhere you use your laptop on a regular basis:
- Use external devices. Attach an external keyboard and pointing device to your laptop. Position them at a height that allows your upper arms to hang loosely from the shoulder and your forearms to extend horizontally to the floor towards the keyboard.
- Raise the laptop. Place the laptop on a stand, book or other surface that raises it to a height that you can see the screen without having to bend or rotate your neck.
- Ensure proper seating. Use a chair that supports your body.
- Carry only the essential laptop accessories.
- Use a sturdy bag, backpack, or rolling luggage.
- Look for laptop friendly work surfaces. Avoid high table surfaces. Use a keyboard tray if available. If you cannot find a surface that is low enough, choose an armless chair and put the laptop in your lap, using a book or pillow to elevate it a few inches.
- Pack an external mouse. If you find the integrated touchpad or rollerball causes you any strain, always bring an external pointing device or use keyboard shortcuts.
- Be aware of your posture. Avoid resting your wrists while typing. Keep your wrists as flat as possible. Use whole hand and arm movements to navigate the keyboard. Avoid bending your neck and head forward to see the screen.
- Take frequent breaks whenever you use a computer.