How to Make Laptops & iPads More Ergonomic

We love our laptops and now more and more are loving their iPads- and not just for pleasure, but for work, too!  With over 500 apps for business, all kinds of companies are looking to the iPad for impressive, portable support.  The unfortunate downside in this trend is that neither laptops nor iPads are ideal ergonomically.  With that in mind, keep these easy, ergonomic tips in mind as you get the most out of your laptop or iPad.

Laptops & Business

You essentially have to choose between good hand posture and good neck posture with a laptop since the screen and keyboard are connected.  The good news is that there are some ergonomic tools that can make your laptop a little more comfortable and also a little less of a challenging choice.

  • Keyboard: ideally, the best position for any keyboard is an inch or two above your lap and also slanting away from your body so you can relax your hands and shoulders and also keep your wrists straight. With a laptop, this is virtually impossible unless you install a keyboard tray below your desk and add a separate ergonomic keyboard. A wireless, mini keyboard would be a good choice, with a compact, portable design and no wires to worry about.  Many workers find that having an additional keyboard helps them to be more efficient, as well.
  • Mouse: If you are primarily entering data or typing, you tend to use the quick keys instead of reaching for your mouse; find a keyboard with a built-in touchpad would serve you well. But if you are designing or arranging page elements, you will use your mouse more significantly and should consider using a separate ergonomic mouse that fits and supports your hand.
  • Screen: With a laptop, you usually have to hang your head to look down to see it on a desktop or on your lap- or, alternatively, you hurt your wrists while looking straight ahead. A better option is to elevate your laptop screen and use a separate keyboard, as mentioned above. You may need to add a monitor shelf to achieve the necessary height.

iPads and Business

As aforementioned, more than 500 of the over 11,000 iPad applications are in the business category.   From sales guys to attorneys, more and more professionals are turning to iPads to get the biggest (and smallest) bang for their buck for desk work and presentations.

The Ergonomic Implications

If you’ve ever played with an iPad in the Apple store, you know how cool touch screens are.  However, it’s one thing to play a game or admire a flash image and quite another to type or work from an iPad all day.  After even a few minutes, holding an iPad gets quite tiresome as you look for a place to set it.  Even the store displays them in mounts for this very reason.  The inevitable down side is that extended use of an iPad can compromise the same basic ergonomics as stated above:

  • Keep your monitor at eye level.
  • Never bend your neck to see the screen.
  • Don’t cock your wrists or bend them awkwardly to reach a  key.
  • Dock your laptop for best ergonomics over a long period of time.

Unlike a laptop, an iPad doesn’t support itself close to eye level.  Rather, you have to lay it down on a flat surface to type, which probably won’t  keep your eyes, neck, and hands in a good ergonomic position.

Thus, a few helpful add-ons you might benefit from are a stand, a mini keyboard, and a swivel mount.  All three iPad accessories are made specifically to improve iPad usability for sustained periods of time.  You can even try a bundle and save a bundle at the same time.

Laptops and iPads are great for business but bad for your body ergonomically.  Thus, it’s important to try an ergonomic keyboard or even an iPad ergonomic bundle to improve your experience while decreasing the strain on your eyes, neck, shoulders, hands, and wrists.

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