Organizing your home office: Staying screen savvy

by Clare Kumar

 Whether you work with a laptop or desktop, interaction with the screen is an important part of workstation safety.

Clare Kumar

Avoid neck strain by keeping your neck in a neutral position by having the top of the monitor no higher than your eyes. There is some evidence that having the monitor at slightly lower levels provides more comfort.

With traditional monitors, this can be achieved by mounting the monitor on the base provided. If you’re taller, consider adding additional stands, or for optimal flexibility, mounting the monitor on a moveable arm.

Having the monitor at a comfortable viewing distance of 20-26 inches (50-67 cm) away and directly in front of you will help avoid eyestrain.

If screen font is small, it can be helpful to increase font sizes. Keying ” Ctrl and +” at the same time is a handy shortcut command to increase font size, “Ctrl –“ will reduce it. For Macs, substitute the Command key for Ctrl. Aside for facebook readers: this can also help de-clutter your screen by pushing the sidebars out of view!

Related story – Sorting out which equipment to keep and which ones to dump

If you’re entering a lot of data, consider using a document holder to keep the document close to the screen to avoid neck twisting.

Glare is another factor that can impede comfortable viewing. A monitor is best placed perpendicular to a window to avoid reflections. Also watch the angle of your screen to ensure it is not reflecting ceiling lights.

If you are lucky enough to have two screens (the biggest instant boost to productivity I have experienced), position them beside each other so your neck does not have to move excessively. There is even a dual monitor arm that will elevate your laptop screen to a comfortable level and hold a second monitor. In the above photo you can see that I use a monitor arm and a separate laptop stand.

Folks using tablets stay tuned. I got one over the holidays and I am still exploring tablet ergonomics and the effects of touch screens.

Happy viewing!


(1) The influence of computer monitor height on head and neck posture

(2) How to sit at a computer

A Toronto-based Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant with a talent for teaching and motivating others, Clare Kumar founded Streamlife ® in 2005.

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