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ErgonomicChair.org


Need Two Monitors? Here’s How to Set Them Up Ergonomically

Posted on 3rd Sep 2011 @ 4:58 PM

Dual-monitor setups are beloved by developers, designers, and everyone who wants to pretend that they are working on the bridge of a spaceship. The argument is that having two (or more!) screens allows workers to be more productive, more flexible, and to feel just as important as the other people in the office who already work with two monitors. But what does it do for ergonomics? The answer, as always, depends on how you set up your work area.

Common Complaints With Dual-Monitor Work Stations

Folks who move from a single monitor to a dual-monitor system often complain of aches and pains, especially while adjusting to the new setup. The worst offenders are:

1) Neck pain, from swiveling from one monitor to another, or from staring at the monitor at an angle.

2) Shoulder, wrist and elbow pain, from holding the mouse at a different angle than that with which they’re comfortable.

3) Eye strain, from constantly staring at one screen or another. The two-monitor setup seems to discourage breaks, which isn't great for workers' eyes.

 

How to Set up Two Monitors Ergonomically

Much of the standard ergonomic setup advice applies. (Keyboard trays and ergonomic chairs, for example, will help you out no matter how many monitors you use.) But there are also several specialized tips that can help you reduce strain in a dual-monitor situation.

1. Use eye movements to look from screen to screen, rather than swiveling the whole head.

2. Place both monitors at the same height.

3. Keep screens as close together as possible. Flat-panel monitors often make this easier.

4. If you don't use both monitors evenly, consider making one the primary monitor and setting the other off to the side, at a 30 degree angle.

5. If both monitors are used equally, place them side by side and center the keyboard between them.

 

And, as always, no matter what your setup, be sure to take lots of breaks. Your eyes -- and sanity -- will thank you for it.


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