If you’re working in front of a computer screen all day, here are some ergonomic tips.

There are many factors that negatively impact our health and productivity in everyday working life, from poor posture, to noise disturbances. The amount of time we spend sitting in front of a computer screen every day also carries risks as it places high demands on our eyes, potentially causing eyestrain and headaches. Fortunately, there are some ways to minimise the risks caused by extensively working at a computer.

Avoiding glare

When working at a computer screen there is often a risk of glare and reflection. To avoid this, the screen should be positioned at a right angle to a window so that sunlight is not directly cast over your screen. Your monitor should not be placed directly in front of a window either, as the differences in brightness outside and the office environment leads to eyestrain. Remember to also check for potential glare from office equipment (e.g. cabinet surfaces) to ensure no-one is affected.

Reducing eyestrain

To reduce the likelihood of eyestrain, fatigue and headaches, we recommend that screens are set to display a legible character size and at an appropriate resolution. It’s worth investing in a 4K monitor as this will display text and images in a sharp, more optimised format. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that even with a high resolution screen, the character size still needs to be adapted to a suitable size that does not create eyestrain for the user.

The following table lists the recommended character sizes with the corresponding visual distances.

Tab. 1: Visual distances with recommended character size

Visual distance (mm) Character height (mm)
500 3.2 – 4.5
600 3.9 – 5.5
700 4.5 – 6.4
800 5.2 – 7.3

Although the table suggests that the distance between the eyes and the screen (visual distance) should be at least 500mm, the recommended distance is actually 700mm.

The following table contains guidelines on the appropriate visual distance depending on the screen size.

Tab. 2: Screen size with recommended visual distance

Screen measurement (diagonal) visual distance (mm)
LCD (inch) CRT (inch)
13 15 500
15 17 600
17 19 700
19 21 800

Improving posture

You can achieve a relaxed head and neck posture can be achieved with the help of correct screen position. Screens should be tilted slightly backwards, so that the head of the user is slightly lowered and their neck muscles are in a relaxed state. The height of the screen should be such that the top line of the screen is slightly below the horizontal axis of vision. If two monitors are required, they should be arranged into a position where the focal screen is positioned centrally. However, if both are needed at the same time, they should be closely aligned.

To minimise head and eye movement, we recommend purchasing computer screens that have a narrow frame. It’s also a good idea to support the screens using monitor arms as they allow you to position and reposition your monitors with ease. Monitor arms allow precise height and tilt settings as well as numerous changes that can be made quickly and efficiently.

Wearing glasses

Even if you wear glasses every day for work, they might not be sufficient to meet the special requirements of your job. It’s worth keeping in mind that our vision deteriorates as we get older. It’s possible to get specialist computer glasses, which can be prescribed by an occupational health physician or optician. When using these glasses, it is important that they are coordinated with the work task at hand. Ultimately, a decline in vision can lead to burning or watering eyes and increased head and neck pain.

It’s not only general screen work that can lead to eyestrain. Similar issues can be caused by software applications, including CRM systems.  This means that software programs should be adapted to the skills and tasks of employees so they can work efficiently and effectively. By adapting your office hardware and software to the needs of your employees, you’ll reduce levels of stress, frustration and boredom while increasing efficiency, well-being and productivity.

For more information on office ergonomics please email infouk@adaptergonomics.com and one of our Ergonomic Solutions Specialists will be in touch.

Adapt ErgonomicsIf you’re working in front of a computer screen all day, here are some ergonomic tips.

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