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6 Best Ergonomic Laptop Set up and Usage Tips

21 June 2023

The pandemic has resulted in a significant change in workplace dynamics. Today, more than ever, individuals with desk jobs are working from home, many of whom had never done this before. Since there was little or no notice when people were sent home amidst the pandemic, all they knew was they had a laptop that would keep them connected to their workplace.

Little did they know that it would prove to be an alarming problem over the years as people who went home with the laptop mostly didn't have appropriate work set up at home. Their homes lacked desks, chairs, accessories, and any knowledge of how to effectively work at home with a laptop.

As a result, an increasing number of employees with desk jobs who switched to remote working experienced an increased incidence of musculoskeletal concerns like back and neck pain. Therefore, it's critical for all remote workers to know how to properly use a laptop at home, and that's what this post is all about.

In what follows, we share a few ergonomic laptop setups and usage tips that you need to know so you can feel productive and great again.

Let's get started.

Importance of Properly Using Your Laptop at Home

Over the last few years since the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has experienced a great shift in the working style. It has led to an unexpected shift with employees working from home; however, this change is there to stay. It's, therefore, critical that employees with a remote jobs learn important ergonomic laptop tips on how to properly work at home to prevent discomfort and injury.

Why Working on a Laptop at Home Makes an Ergonomic Risk?

Not many individuals realize that laptops were not originally designed to be used all day. Instead, their primary purpose was to provide flexibility and mobility to the users so they could carry their equipment to important meetings and continue to be connected and working during travel.

However, with the transition to remote working, millions of individuals around the world have switched to working at home using a laptop which has led to significant ergonomic risks.

Health Implications of Laptop Use

Extended use of a laptop can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. Moreover, it also contributes to headaches and eyestrain and may result in a series of "overuse injuries" of the arms and hands.

The good news, however, is that you can quickly learn to use the laptop safely and effectively so your health doesn't get impacted.

In what follows, we look at a few risks associated with working on the laptop, along with laptop setup and usage tips that will help you solve the associated risks and live a healthy and productive life.

Working on a Laptop – Top Risks and Setup and Usage Tips for a Healthier and Productive Life

#1. Prolonged and Regular Use of a Laptop Creates Neck Flexion

Perhaps the most common concern associated with prolonged and regular laptop use is that it creates neck flexion. The position of the screen is such that it constantly requires you to look down at the monitor if you place your laptop at your conventional workstation. Constantly looking down at the laptop monitor can create neck strain and may also lead to frequent headaches.

Ergonomic Laptop Tip # 1

The easiest way to combat this problem is to adjust your laptop's height. Make sure you raise the level of your laptop higher to eye level, so your neck isn't bent down when you're working. As a result, your neck muscles will not overwork, and you'll be able to work on your laptop more comfortably.

You can rely on a DIY solution of raising your laptop by using crates or books to elevate your laptop, or you invest in a shelf that allows you to place your laptop at an elevated height. You can also go for laptop riser kits which typically include a laptop riser, an external mouse, a keyboard, and wrist rest if you intend to work from home permanently.

#2. Using a Laptop's Keyboard Can Strain Wrists and Hands

Typing on a laptop's keyboard every day can strain your hands and wrists tremendously as the keyboard isn't designed to provide adequate support to your hands and wrists,

Ergonomic Laptop Tip # 2

To overcome this problem, it's best to invest in an external keyboard and mouse. Since an external keyboard and mouse aren't attached to the laptop, it allows you to conveniently position the accessories so that your hands and wrists are best supported.

Moreover, getting an external mouse and keyboard makes a viable choice as they are often lightweight and easy to carry, so you can conveniently travel with them when you're on the go.

#3. Resting Your Wrist Against the Desk Edge Can Lead to Hand and Wrist Injuries

Few individuals with remote jobs realize that leaning your wrist against the desk edge can lead to hand and wrist injuries.

Ergonomic Laptop Tip # 3

Ensure that your arms make a 90 degree angle, so you don't have to place your wrist at the edge of the desk. You may be required to lower your desk or raise your chair to ensure that your hand and wrist are well-placed.

Along with maintaining adequate posture, it's also critical to invest in accessories like a wrist pad at the keyboard so your hands can rest when you're not typing.

#4. Working on a Laptop While Laying On The Sofa Isn't Recommended

Many individuals who started remote working continued to enjoy it as a luxury they can try everywhere. As a result, many remote workers ended up laying on the couch or sofa while working/ However; the inappropriate posture led to neck flexion and awkward postures that resulted in the shoulder, back, and neck pain.

Ergonomic Laptop Tip #4

The best way to overcome this problem is to invest in a designated workstation where you can work daily. Instead of laying down on your couch or sofa or using your kitchen stool and counter as your workstation, you need to purchase a work desk that you can conveniently use every day.

From an ergonomic perspective, we recommend investing in a height-adjustable standing desk that provides flexibility to the users to adjust the height of the desk conveniently. It can be used as a regular desk that you can use while sitting on an ergonomic office chair, but it can also be changed into a standing desk as required to offset the negative implications of prolonged sitting.

Moreover, a height-adjustable standing desk makes a great workstation and can also be used by multiple people at home with different height and size requirements.

Vici Duplex Standing Desk makes one of our top recommendations for a height-adjustable standing desk. It's not just any height-adjustable standing desk. Instead, it's a two-tiered standing desk that makes it an ideal choice for working at home using a laptop, especially when you have kids around.

#5. Using a Laptop On the Lap

While a laptop is designed such that it can be used on your lap conveniently, however, prolonged working on a laptop on your lap can strain your neck and spine.

Ergonomic Laptop Tip # 5

A solution to this problem lies in avoiding the use of a laptop on your lap for prolonged periods. It's best to invest in a desk and accessories like a laptop riser so you can conveniently maintain your body posture while working remotely.

#6. Handling Pets and Kids While Working

Many remote workers handle kids and pets while working. While it's natural to take care of those around you, especially when you're working at home, you need to be mindful of how taking care of your pets and kids affects your posture, as it's very easy to get into awkward postures while trying to multitask.

Ergonomic Laptop Tip # 6

If you struggle with pets and kids around you while you're working on a laptop at home, you need to take measures to set up a dedicated workspace at home. Make sure you have a desk and an ergonomic office chair set up in a specific section of your home where there are limited distractions, so you don't have to sacrifice your posture.

Wrapping Up

If you're working remotely, you may likely be using a laptop to stay connected. However, when using a laptop every day, you need to follow a few laptop guidelines and suggestions so you can take care of your health and stay productive while working from the comfort of your home.