When considering how to set up an ergonomic workstation, it’s natural to focus on the parts that physically touch our bodies like the chair, the desk, the keyboard, and the mouse. These are all important aspects to optimize comfort and support, but one additional element that users hardly ever touch also plays a crucial role: the monitor screen. An improperly positioned monitor can force the user into awkward body positions that cause discomfort and can potentially lead to serious work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and eye strain. Employing ergonomic principles to place a monitor in the correct position promotes a healthy posture and can prevent stress on the eyes, neck, and back. A monitor riser is a simple solution to elevate a monitor to an optimal viewing level, and Kensington has developed several monitor stands that offer additional benefits as well. First, let’s explore exactly what makes an ideal monitor viewing height.
Creating Your Ergonomic Monitor Setup
When it comes to determining how a monitor should be positioned, the American, European, and Canadian health and safety agencies all agree that the two most important factors to consider are viewing angle and viewing distance. A monitor that is angled too high or low will cause the user to work with the neck and shoulders in an awkward posture—craned back or hunched over—that fatigues the muscles supporting the head. At the same time, viewing distances that are too long can make users strain forward without backrest support, while too short distances may lead users to push uncomfortably away from the screen. Holding our bodies in an unnatural position to accommodate an improper desk setup can cause aches and pains, but there are specific steps we can take to promote a healthy posture at our desks.
Global health agencies have clear guidelines to follow when adjusting a monitor to an ergonomic viewing position. First, make sure you’re sitting up straight and that your head, neck, shoulders, and arms are in a naturally relaxed position. Place the monitor directly in front of you so that the top of the monitor is at or slightly below eye level for your optimal viewing angle. Adjust the monitor’s distance so that it sits about 20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm) away from you in your normal typing position (for easy reference, that’s about a full armslength away). If you’re using a sit/stand desk, you should follow the same viewing angle and distance rules. After you’ve made your adjustments, sit down and listen to your body—it will tell you that you’re now in a naturally comfortable position.
Monitor Risers for Workplace Wellness
Elevating your monitor to an ergonomic viewing height is easy and affordable with a monitor riser, and Kensington’s newest monitor stands extend desk functionality as well. Monitor stands offer additional desk real estate by giving you a space under the stand, or in the case of Kensington’s SmartFit® Monitor Stand with Drawer, added storage in an A4-sized drawer for desktop accessories like pens, staplers, sticky notes and extra chargers. While the ergonomic guidelines above are refreshingly straightforward, finding your ideal viewing height is made even easier with Kensington’s SmartFit® System. The system uses scientifically proven research on the direct correlation between hand size and body measurements to help users select their personal height setting with the color-coded fitting chart. Providing support for iMac, all-in-one PC’s, and external monitors up to 30” and 33lbs, the SmartFit® Monitor Stand with Drawer takes the guesswork out of finding your optimal monitor position while providing extra storage for an organized desktop.
For those who want to achieve an ergonomic desk environment with larger monitors or a dual monitor setup, Kensington’s Extra Wide Monitor Stand is a sleek and sturdy way to support wellness and increase productivity. The solid steel base supports iMac, all-in-one PC’s, and larger monitors up to 32” and 44 lbs, and its extra wide platform also gives the option of placing two monitors on the stand. The added space underneath the monitor stand promotes a tidy desktop by offering ample room to store papers, a full-size keyboard, and other accessories.
With simple setup that requires no additional tools, the Extra Wide Monitor Stand can upgrade your desk environment right out of the box.
It’s no surprise that sitting for long hours can put strain on the body, but making adjustments to bring your desk environment in line with ergonomic principles can go a long way to reducing stress on the head, shoulders, and spine. Making your workspace more ergonomic doesn’t have to break the bank—affordable solutions such as choosing a monitor stand to raise your screen to an ideal viewing height can promote a healthy and comfortable posture throughout the workday. To learn more about Kensington’s range of ergonomics products that can transform your office, visit our Workplace Ergonomics and Wellness offerings.