People who are old enough to remember the arrival of personal computers in the workplace and at home, at the end of the 70s, intuitively understand the CPU’s revolutionary character. The productivity increase potential seemed limitless at the time. And with reason.
That being said, in order to fully harness the productive power of those technological tools, one needs to understand the importance of ergonomics – by fine tuning the work environment to the human body’s needs. It’s not only a question of tools, but a question of knowing how to use those tools in the most natural way possible, from a physiological standpoint.
Experience tells us that a mediocre understanding of ergonomics will unmistakably lead to eye fatigue, migraines, musculoskeletal disorders… and so on, and so forth! It’s not surprising to learn then that, according to experts, improvements made on the CPU intensive workers’ environment leads to an increase in productivity of roughly 10 %.
Which is why it’s all the more surprising to see that while most of us spend countless hours in front of a computer screen on a daily basis, we don’t necessarily often ask ourselves how our comfort could be improved. There are tons of tools at our disposal. And monitor arms – or LCD/LED screen supports – are more popular than ever and well worth looking into as an entry solution to our day-to-day woes.
Monitor supports come in all shapes and sizes, in terms of quality, and in terms of number of screens supported by the mechanism. On most models, screens can be moved at will; one can change their height, make them pivot, extend their reach… the possibilities are endless, granted one has the necessary budget. Depending on the needs – does the user have 1 or 8 screens, for instance – one can easily go from $100 to $1,500 per setup.
Once the choice has been made, here are some tips that should help you increase you productivity and comfort in front of your screen.
- Position the screen right in front of you, so that the upper edge of the screen is roughly half an inch higher than your gaze.
- Your screen should be at arm’s length when you are comfortably seated.
- Try not to set the screen too high or too low; your back should be straight and your eyes looking slightly downwards when you’re looking at the center of your screen.
- Make the screen pivot so that it stays relatively parallel to you.
- Ideally, try to minimize the amount or reflections on the screen.
- Change your position during the day and take short breaks often.
- Recalibrate the arm if you change position, in order to stay comfortable.
- Take the time to stretch regularly.
In essence, your productivity is not only a function of the tool which you are using, but of the use you make of it. An effective workspace is an ergonomic workspace, adapted to the user. And ergonomics begin with one of the most crucial interfaces of all, the monitor. All you need is a little bit of support, and everything will be clearer!