I learned an important—and painful—lesson once when I moved my computer. Shifting it 90 degrees from a lower-level stand to my desktop allowed me to face my team members while I worked, but it also placed my keyboard higher than elbow level. Within a couple of weeks I started to have difficulty holding my mug of tea, because my wrists were damaged from pressing against the edge of the desk when I typed. Fortunately my wrists healed quickly after I moved the setup to a more ergonomic position.
Today it’s not just the computer keyboard and screen you need to adjust. Working on a tablet, laptop or e-reader can strain on your neck and shoulders. Looking at a device resting on your lap can damage muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments and even your spine. That’s why we’re passing along these tips from the October issue of The Harvard Health Letter:
- Position for comfortable viewing. The lower the device, the more strain on your neck and shoulders. Put devices such as an iPad or tablet on a table and use a case that allows you to adjust the angle.
- Align your body. With a laptop or desktop, your hands, wrists, forearms and thighs should all be parallel to the floor. Use an external keyboard for your laptop, so the screen and your arms can both be at the proper angles. Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows near your body.
- Move. Every 15 minutes, take a break and shift your position. Alternate between standing and sitting, move your hands and shift your weight.
Find more advice in the full article, “Prevent pain from computer use.”
What’s the most important adjustment you’ve made to work comfortably and safely?
[Image Source: Nicolas Nova]