Laptop computers are lightweight, portable and convenient. Unfortunately, the laptop’s compact design, with attached screen and keyboard, forces laptop users into awkward postures. When the screen is at the right height, the keyboard position is too high; when the keyboard is at the right height, the screen is too low. This creates an ongoing trade-off between poor neck/head and hand/wrist postures.
Setting Up Your Laptop
A comfortable workstation setup promotes:
- Neutral postures with the neck aligned with the spine (NOT bent or thrust forward)
- Back relaxed and supported
- Elbows close to the body and bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees
- Wrist and hands straight (NOT bent or turned)
Long Term Use (more than an hour)
- Maintain a neutral neck posture by placing the top of the screen at about eye level or slightly lower if using bifocal glasses.
- Use an external monitor, laptop stand or place your laptop on a stable support surface, such as monitor risers, reams of paper, or phone books so that the screen height can be adjusted.
- A docking station more closely resembles a standard desktop workstation with an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor attached.
- Use a laptop stand if you don’t use an external monitor. Attach an external keyboard and mouse at or slightly below elbow height. Use a footrest if needed.
Short Term Use (less than an hour)
- Place the laptop on your lap to help keep your wrists straight while typing. Try a binder or lap platform to maximize the height of the screen and maintain an upright head posture.
- Use a chair that supports a comfortable upright or slightly reclined posture. Use a towel roll or inflatable lumbar pillow for lower back support.
- Tilt the screen to maintain a neutral posture.
- Make sure to keep an upright posture. Don’t hunch your shoulders forward or lean your body towards your laptop screen.