The portability of laptops has opened a wonderful new world for those who like to work on the go. So much so that many of us use our laptop as a primary PC. This is not always ideal, as laptops lack the ergonomic features of a desktop computer. This is mainly because the screen of a laptop is attached to its keyboard, limiting the way you can position the device. Whether you use your laptop on a daily basis or as an occasional alternative to your main desktop computer, here are some simple steps you can take to make it more user-friendly.
Docking Station and Full Sized Monitor
The fixed screen and keyboard placement of a laptop can cause bad posture. As such, investing in an external monitor that plugs into your laptop is a great idea if you use your device on a regular basis. Clocking in at 22 to 33 inches, monitors provide a clear display, and let you adjust the height ratio between the screen and the keyboard. Alternatively, connect your laptop to a docking station that already comes with a keyboard and mouse. This way you will be able to adjust the placement of the monitor, keyboard and mouse to your specific height.
Attaching a separate keyboard to your laptop, rather than using the one in-built into the device, lets you adjust the height of your laptop screen. When working on your laptop, your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle, around an inch above the keyboard. This will stop you from hunching and building tension in your shoulders, and pulling your neck muscles, while you work.
Attaching an external computer mouse to your laptop can be a game changer—particularly if it’s an ergonomic one. This is because using an external mouse helps to keep your shoulders in an open and relaxed position while working. Computer mouse design has come a long way since the 80s, with modern designs promoting natural hand and wrist placement rather than forcing them into an unnatural placement. Today, many mouse designs let you work in a handshake position, placing your hand, wrist and arm at more ergonomic angles to reduce muscles strain. If you don’t like the idea of cords, opt for a mouse that connects to your laptop via Bluetooth. Every good computer mouse should come with a great mouse pad. Having the correct padded support underneath your computer mouse will help you maintain neutral wrist position and reduce nerve compression caused by resting your wrists on a hard surface.
A portable laptop desk can take the discomfort out of using your laptop while on the move. Laptop desks are placed on regular desks, letting you position the screen so it is at a more ergonomic angle. Lightweight and thin, they can be easily carried in your laptop bag for use on planes, in hotel rooms or at your colleague’s office. They also often feature ventilation holes on the bottom to keep the laptop cool during use. To make the most out of a laptop desk, use it in conjunction with an external keyboard and mouse.