In our previous article, we introduced Kinesthesis and its relation to the work environment. Today, we continue the discussion by focusing on screens/monitors and how they relate to Kinesthesis.

Monitors or screens should be centered in relation to the body, not angled left or right1Cornell University Ergonomics Web at http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ and should be about arm’s length from one’s body. This is the ideal configuration to minimize stresses on the body. 

However, when multiple screens or monitors are present, this ideal is harder to maintain. Using a swivel chair, minimizing the amount of back and forth movements of the head, or limiting the range of neck movements can help to lessen potential issues caused by more than one monitor.

The same goes for switching between laptop screen and keyboard.  Adjustable laptop stands can be used to lessen the distance, relieve neck pressure and eye movement strain. Usage of monitors relates to both kinesthesis and vision.

Yvonne snapshot: I have three different screens – two oversized monitors and my laptop. The majority of the time, my laptop is closed and I use the two monitors. I do the bulk of my work on the one centered in front of me. The other is used to handle certain tasks that I have scheduled at certain times of the day. I keep those relevant windows open to use in conjunction with what I am doing on the main screen.

This allows me to minimize the number of times that I have to move my head back and forth, and by keeping windows open on that second screen, it lessens the up and down eye movements and head turns needed to search for and open items. This might seem like very small and inconsequential things but as I suffer from vertigo on occasion, the less I move my head and eyes from side to side and up and down, the better it is for me.

Too small or too large monitors can also cause issues. If the space you are working in is not sufficient to accommodate a large sized monitor, then you will find yourself unconsciously straining backwards in your chair to attain a comfortable enough distance. Too small sized screens lead to hunched over shoulders, neck jutting forward and squinting eyes.

We will be discussing monitors in greater detail in our next article which focuses on Vision.

(Written by Yoko Kawai and Yvonne Burton)