Positioning your computer monitor correctly is an important part of arranging your computer workstation. A poorly positioned monitor could introduce awkward and uncomfortable postures which can eventually lead to a painful musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
Another common problem created by a poorly placed monitor is eyestrain, which is also uncomfortable and can lead to health and productivity issues.
Let’s prevent that by correctly placing your computer monitor. Get started with this simple, six-point checklist.
Checklist to Correctly Position Your Computer Monitor
1. Place the monitor in a location that eliminates glare on the screen.
Reflected glare from your monitor can cause eyestrain, but sometimes it will also cause you to assume an awkward position to read the screen.
2. Place the monitor at a right angle or away from the windows and task lights.
Glare and bright light directly behind your screen can cause eyestrain and be an uncomfortable computing experience. If you can’t adjust the angle of your monitor, try closing the window blinds or turning off/changing the lights if there is a bright light behind the screen.
3. Place the monitor directly in front of you.
Placing the monitor directly in front of you prevents you from twisting your head and neck from viewing the screen.
4. Place the top line of the screen at or slightly (0-30 degrees) below eye level.
According to ergonomics expert and professor Dr. Alan Hedge, “When you are seated comfortably, a user’s eyes should be in line with a point on the screen about 2-3″ below the top of the monitor casing (not the screen). Sit back in your chair at an angle of around 100-110 degrees (i.e. slight recline) and hold your right arm out horizontally, your middle finger should almost touch the center of the screen. From that starting position you can then make minor changes to screen height and angle to suit. Research shows the center of the monitor should be about 17-18 degrees below horizontal for optimal viewing, and this is where it will be if you follow the simple arm extension/finger pointing tip. You actually see more visual field below the horizon than above this (look down a corridor and you’ll see more of the floor than the ceiling), so at this position the user should comfortably be able to see more of the screen. If the monitor is too low, you will crane their neck forwards, if it’s too high you’ll tilt their head backwards and end up with neck/shoulder pain.”
5. Place the monitor at least an arm’s length away from you.
The monitor should be at a comfortable distance away from you, allowing you to view the entire screen without too much twisting of your head and neck.
6. Place the monitor so you can clearly read the screen without bending your head, neck or trunk forward or backward.
By now you’ve probably noticed a common theme. You need to place your monitor to reduce awkward postures. Get your monitor in the right position and your neck and shoulders will thank you!
To learn how to setup your whole computer workstation, grab a free copy of our office ergonomics checklist. Download the checklist here.
Get Up and Move!
We can’t end an article on office ergonomics without reminding you to get up and move! You are a workplace athlete and your body is designed for movement. There is no magical, perfect posture that will keep your body safe in the office. Invest in your health and well being by taking stretch breaks and getting in some form of movement every day.
Computer Monitor Resources
Check out the links below for more tips on how to correctly position your computer monitor.
- Dual Screen Use from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
- CCOHS: Positioning the Monitor
- Ergonomics Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation
- Workstation Ergonomic Tips: Computer Monitors and Posture
- Office Ergonomics Resources
Grab a free copy of our office ergonomics checklist
For more on how to set up your office workstation, grab a free copy of our office ergonomics checklist.