Best Computer Monitor Position for Posture and Happy Joints
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The best computer monitor position for posture support has been much studied, which is surprising when considering that so many of us walk away from our desk at the end of the working day doubled over in pain.
It is not pleasant, and it’s not safe.
Making sure your computer screen is in the best position for your posture is going to make a world of difference to your livelihood. With more and more people working from home, and that transition sometimes being rather rushed, getting the right screen and desk set up can easily fall down the list of priorities.
Your original shared office environment will hopefully have been optimised so you could work with good posture at a computer, but what about now, what about your home office?
Fortunately, it’s reasonably easy to get your computer monitor position set up for good posture. Not sure how? Here, we’re going to be looking at:
- Everything you need to consider to set your monitor at the optimal position
- How to set up your desk and chair to get the right posture at your computer
- Other factors you need to consider to optimise your work space
- The consequences of working in a poorly adjusted work environment
If you’ve ever wondered what the impact of working in bare feet (or at least, without any shoes on) does to your skeleton, check out our ‘straight to the point’ guide here.
Why do I need to know the best computer monitor position for my posture?
At some point in your late twenties, you start to exchange the ability to cope with awkward postures for a sensible monitor stand, a decent office chair, and research into the benefits of an orthopaedic mattresses.
Our bodies become less resilient to the stresses of youth and need some support to stop the aches and pains crushing your soul.
It’s at this point, or ideally before the aches and pains start, that you’ll find yourself investigating good posture at your computer.
The key elements of your computer monitor position for your posture are the height and the angle. Get these right and your body will thank you. You’ll be:
- Looking after your lower back
- Taking care of your shoulders
- Relieving your neck
- Unstraining your eyes
- Keeping your arms and wrists happy
What’s the best monitor height for good posture?
Getting proper posture at a computer will do wonders for your comfort at work. You’ll also be more productive. Studies show that when you’re more comfortable at work, you’ll get more done. Think of all that time you would save from no longer moaning about your ‘old man’ back.
The right monitor height for good posture needs to be adapted to your own height and the needs of your work.
Here’s some steps to take to achieve the right monitor height.
1. Are you sitting comfortably?
Before you even touch your monitor, you need to get sitting in the correct position. No point getting the monitor at the right height for a chair position that’s going the be pure agony to sit on for extended hours. To get your chair at the right level:
- Have your hips at a 90° angle to your spine
- Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips
- Both feet should rest on the floor
- Use a foot rest if you need to
- Arms should be at an L shape when using your keyboard
Once you’re comfortable at your desk, you can move on to the right monitor height for good posture.
2. Highs and lows
Sitting in your optimal position, the top of your monitor needs to be at eye level. This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but trust us on this.
For bifocal wearers, if you need to use the bottom of your lenses for the screen, the monitor should be below eye level and tilted back around 30-45°. It’s not ideal to use bifocals at a computer screen, though. Speak to your optometrist about computer glasses, ideally.
To double check you’ve hit the right height, open your web browser. Your resting gaze should be in line with the address bar of your internet screen. It’s a natural tendency that we take in more of what’s below the horizon than above it; making this the perfect monitor height for you.
3. Reach out
It’s not just about height. You need to keep a good distance from your monitor.
To get this right, sit in your well-adjusted chair and tilt back slightly – to around 100-110° rather than the 90° we noted above. Reach out your arm and your fingertips should touch the middle of your screen.
4. Straight up
Your screen needs to be directly in front of you. Don’t have it in a place where you’ll be twisting or straining to take it in. Make sure that you are able to see the whole screen, too.
I have a dual monitor set up, how do get the best monitor position?
Do you still feel like you’re in Star Trek or Hacker with your dual screen set-up? Sure a double screen set up looks super cool but it can also really improve your productivity.
You do have some extra considerations when it comes to getting the right computer monitor position for posture perfection using dual screens mind. Investing in a proper dual screen stand is one of those things that is going to give you all the adjustable options you need.
Our pick of the best dual monitor mounts is in this post.
Within a few days of having your dual screen set up, you should know what your usage is like. Which screen you use the most is going to affect how to optimise your set up.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting the right monitor positions when working from a dual screen:
- Establish which is your dominant eye: make a triangle frame with your thumbs and fingers and look through it at a distant object like a light switch or coffee mug. Close your left eye. If your focal point stays centred, then the open right eye is the dominant one.
- Primary and secondary screen set up: now you’ve had some fun finding your dominant eye, the screen you use least belongs on that side. Position your auxiliary screen on that side at an angle, as if you were forming a semi-circle.
- Equal screen use: using both screens equally needs a different set up, with both screens in front of you and them meeting in the middle. Don’t angle them inwards because it’ll make you turn your neck too much.
Once you’ve got them set up, the right monitor height will be the same as the four steps above.
What’s the best position for a computer monitor on a laptop?
With laptop computers outselling desktops in 2019 by nearly two to one, it’s a good idea to know how to set them up properly too.
At home, the principles we’ve covered are the same. You should invest in a proper laptop stand that will allow you to adjust your screen height, then follow the four steps.
The problem with working on a laptop is, to keep your screen an arm’s length away means you need to stretch for your keyboard. Wherever possible, use a USB or Bluetooth keyboard to prevent wrist strain and carpel tunnel syndrome when you choose the right one.
What’s the proper posture at a computer?
Did your office go super hip and change over to standing desks a few years ago? The fad came in suggesting that more calories would be burned and teams would be more productive.
The calories thing was pretty much debunked – you’d burn the equivalent of a carrot a day extra by standing rather than sitting at your computer. A small study did find better productivity and mental health in workers who stood more than sat at work, so it may have some positive effects.
Think about when you last tried to stand up for more than an hour. You might have been able to stand through an Oasis gig plus support acts in your twenties, but nowadays you might start to experience leg, foot, or lower back pain if you stand too long. Start off with a half hour stand, then slowly extend it over the course of weeks of this is the posture you want to aim for.
The correct posture on an office chair
Working from home is great fun when you can laze about on the sofa in your pyjamas whilst typing. The novelty wears off pretty quick though, and by doing so you’re not doing much to help your back stay healthy.
The right chair is crucial to getting the right posture. Got to choose between design and function? When it comes to office chairs, function must always come first, although there are some lovely looking and effective chairs out there.
To get the proper posture at your computer and be able to get the right computer monitor height, you need a chair that’s fully adjustable. Here’s some more detail about what to watch out for and how to make yourself comfortable:
- Support for your lower back is important – this will help you keep your back straight. Adjust your chair or even add a sturdy cushion to stop yourself folding at the waist.
- Don’t slump your shoulders over your desk. If you have to bend over it probably means your screen and keyboard are too low – adjust your desk like we’ve discussed above.
- Your arms should be at right angles at the elbow, your wrists should be straight rather than bent up or down when typing. Invest in a wrist rest to encourage this position.
- Get your feet flat, so if you’re too short to touch the floor whilst being at the right height for your screen and keyboard, get a foot rest.
I’ve got my desk set up, what else do I need to think about?
Getting the right computer monitor position for your posture is important, but also need to look at the bigger picture. The height of your monitor can cause other issues that you need to adjust for.
Screen glare can be really bad for your eyes. Make sure your monitor is at right angles to any light sources. Don’t have light coming from directly behind you, hitting the screen as this is going to really strain your eyes.
The brightness of your screen should be dynamic. A consistent brightness setting running throughout the day won’t work when your lighting will naturally change with the rising and falling of the sun. We’ve got a full guide on how to get the best brightness setting for your monitor.
Taking breaks from your desk is important. No matter how comfy your set up your need to get up and walk around. It can be harder to remember to take a break when you’re not in the office with your work mates, but you should go for a walk around your house, garden, or even the block, every hour for about 10-15 minutes.
What problems are in store if I don’t use the right computer monitor position?
When you get up from your computer and feel a bit stiff, that could be the start of a whole load of physical problems. Maintaining proper posture at a computer is going to help stave off a whole host of issues and moaning sessions with your mates.
You could end up with a whole array of injuries and problems, such as:
- Stiff neck, shoulders, and knees
- Breathing issues from slouching and closing your chest
- Bad digestion caused by too much pressure your abdomen
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists
None of these are pleasant, so getting the right set up for your desk and computer monitor height is going to do you the world of good.
Getting the right computer monitor position for your posture might just change your world. You can alleviate back, knee, and arm problems and even stop eye strain.
The best position for your computer monitor will depend on your physiology – your height and even your dominant eye will play a part in setting up your home desk setup, however follow our tips, you should be healthy and comfy across your whole working day.