Monitor Setup

Okay. You bought your desk, set it up, and are on your way to better health and improved productivity.

Wait, what about your monitor? Is it set up right?

All your posture improving practices will be for naught if your monitor is poorly positioned. Again, just like your standing desk set up, there are individual nuances and preferences, but this is a good reference to start. 

MONITOR DISTANCE

 As in the picture below, you ideally should be 20-30 inches away (that's 50-76cm for my friends who prefer the metric system).  If you are bad with distances and don't want to get out the measuring tape, it's about your arm's length; hold out your arms and you should be able to touch the monitor while at your sit stand desk.

MONITOR HEIGHT

When properly set up, your neck should feel comfortable and relaxed.  The monitor should be straight ahead of you, and your eyes should be approximately 2/3 up from the bottom of the monitor.  Ideally, you would have an adjustable arm mount that can raise or lower the monitor slightly as needed. The monitor should have a slightly angled tilt. You should NEVER have to tilt your head up OR down to look at the monitor. Tilting your head uses your neck muscles, and if held for long periods can lead to repetitive stress injuries (and other serious medical issues such as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome).  If you don't have an adjustable height monitor, you can use a stack of books until you get yourself a good arm mount. 


Standing Desk monitor setup height 

 LAMENTING THE LAPTOP (AND THE TABLET)

Look, I love my laptop (and tablet) as much as anybody (well, maybe not as much as some of the young nextgen kids), but the sad fact is that extended laptop use without the proper ergonomic aids extracts a horrible toll on our bodies. Harvard Medical School even recently did a study on laptop ergonomics, and the results aren't pretty. I'll be doing a separate blog post talking more about laptops, and how using a laptop stand at your desk can help, but for now let's focus on the laptop screen.  Look at the picture below and the neck strain caused by looking down. There is some exaggeration because the laptop is on the person's lap, but even if it was at a desk, the neck would still be tilted down, and repetitive injury would result after long enough time. The lesson here: if you want to use a laptop and be portable, try to use an external monitor connected to your laptop so you keep the screen at eye level and keep good neck posture to avoid extreme neck positioning ("flexion" if you want to get scientific).