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Ergonomics > Laptop Use
Ergonomic Recommendations for Laptop Computer Use
Laptop (notebook) computers provide a work anywhere platform for
users, but compromise computer workstation ergonomics. The joined
keyboard and monitor makes it difficult to create a computer workstation
that follows ergonomic guidelines without implementing corrective
Guidelines and Solutions
- Complete the web-based computer workstation ergonomics training
- Take frequent breaks (every 30 min for ~2min) and alternate
tasks to break up continuous computer use. If the recommended
computer postures cannot be achieved, take breaks more frequently.
- Use an appropriate office chair for prolonged laptop use (>1
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse for prolonged laptop use (>1
hour). Position the keyboard and mouse to allow the shoulders to
relax, elbows to be at the sides, and the hands to be at or slightly
below elbow level. Place the laptop on a riser to position the
monitor at an appropriate level (Figure 1).
- Use a separate monitor if you prefer to use the keyboard and
pointer built into the laptop.
- Take frequent eye breaks. For example, follow the “20-20-20”
rule: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Avoid resting the laptop on your lap for extended periods of
time. The weight of the computer compresses against sensitive
tissues in the thigh and pelvic regions. Heat generated by the
computer may pose a burn risk.
- Use a telephone headset for prolonged phone use (> 1 hour/day)
and simultaneous phone/computer use.
- Consider the weight of the entire laptop workstation when
choosing a carrying case (i.e. the weight of the computer, spare
battery, pointing device, power supply, etc.). A rolling carrying
case is recommended for heavier loads (over 10 lb).
- Laptop carrying cases (including backpacks) should have wide
straps with sufficient padding.
- Be creative if you use a laptop in a hotel. Pillows can be used
to adjust seat height, phone books make suitable footrests, and
small towels can be used as lumbar supports.
- The monitor screen should be perpendicular to windows to avoid
glare. Close shades and blinds to avoid bright light from outside.
Avoid working under bright sources of light. Finally, don’t work in
- Integrate stretching and exercise into your workday and daily
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