Ergonomics & the Ideal Height for a PC Monitor

Written by tom streissguth
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Ergonomics & the Ideal Height for a PC Monitor
Correctly placing your monitor will make long work sessions comfortable (gibbone al monitor image by jeffbeal from Fotolia.com)

For millions of people, office jobs involve sitting for long hours at a desk while using a computer, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. This kind of physical environment can be tough on the human body, and incorrect position can bring physical and psychological discomfort. Ergonomics, or the study of proper body positioning, has generally accepted guidelines for configuring computers and work stations.

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Chair Height

Correct chair height helps your upper bodywork comfortably in front of the monitor. Your feet should be resting on the floor, and your knees should be level with your hips and clear of the chair edge. Your forearms should be horizontal, your wrists straight, and your hands positioned comfortably in front of you with objects you use frequently within easy reach. To get to a comfortable position, you may need to raise the chair and use a footrest.

Monitor Placement

The monitor should be placed on the back half of the desk, about an arm's length from your face, and directly in front of you -- not to the side, which forces you to twist your upper body to work. They monitor should be aligned squarely with the keyboard. Pointing at the screen should not involve leaning too far forward.

Monitor Height

Monitor height should be set so that your eyes are level with the top of screen. This usually means setting the monitor on top of the desk, and not on top of the computer. Craning your neck upward to look into a monitor will stress your cervical spine and the muscles in the back of your neck.

Glasses

If you wear bifocals and need them to work on the computer, place the monitor in a lower position so that your can look at it through the bottom half of your glasses without tilting your head. If this is difficult, buy a pair of single-vision glasses that allow you to focus on the screen.

Glare and Fatigue

Position your chair so that you are not facing a window. Bright light from outside causes glare and makes it difficult to see the screen. To reduce reflection on the monitor, position it so that it's facing an inside wall, and not an exterior or interior window. Rest your eyes so that you are not staring into a monitor for extended periods of time. This causes headaches, eyestrain, and fatigue.

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