Proper ergonomics for dual monitors

I have noticed lately that many people are choosing to have dual monitors at their office workstation.  Dual monitors are great for increasing screen space and having many applications open and visible at once.  There are a few things to remember though when using dual monitors so that you don’t increase your risk for injury:

  1. Which monitor do you use the most? – If you use one monitor more than the other, the one you use the most should be directly in front of you.  This will reduce neck rotation and repetition.  If you used both monitors equally, the monitors should be as close to each other as possible with the spot where they meet directly centred with your line of vision.
  2. Both monitors need to be at the same height – Raise or lower your height adjustable monitors so that the tops of the screens are level with your eyes.  If you do not have height-adjustable monitors, use a height-adjustable monitor risers or arms to achieve the correct height (you can also do this with sturdy books or packs of computer paper).  If one of your monitors is your laptop, use a laptop riser and plug in an external keyboard so that your arms and neck are correctly positioned.
  3. Both monitors need to be the same distance away – Use the “arm’s length away” rule or experiment with monitor distance.  Too close and you will be at risk for eye strain; too far and you will be leaning into and squinting to see the screen.
  4. Don’t use big monitors as dual monitors – I don’t recommend using monitors larger than 20” in size when having dual monitors.  Any larger than that and you are going to be repetitively rotating, flexing, and extending your neck more than you should be.

Positioning your screens correctly will eliminate the risk factors associated with work-related injury and allow you a comfortable and productive computer environment.