We spend a lot of time sitting or standing in front of a keyboard. In fact, the average American devotes almost 4 1/2 hours per day to a computer, smartphone, or tablet. And for workers who spend their 8-10 hour workdays in front of a computer, that number of hours is likely much higher.
As a result of this extensive screen time, our posture can suffer. When we’re on our devices, we tend to jut our heads forward, round our shoulders, and slouch our backs. These actions put increased stress on the neck, back, shoulders, and spine that can lead to stiffness and pain.
To realign our bodies, the study of ergonomics—the science of how humans can interact with objects in a safer manner—has helpful best practices on the proper posture for typing that you can implement to lessen and alleviate any electronic device-related pain.
Computers and Laptops
When seated or standing in front of any computer or laptop, these are the essential ergonomic standards you should follow:
Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle resting on the keyboard.
Your eye gaze when looking straight ahead should hit the top third of your screen. And your head should remain level, not bent up or down.
Both feet should be resting squarely on the ground. If you’re standing, your weight should be evenly distributed between both legs.
Source: Ergonomics Health Association
Unless you have a laptop that allows you to detach the screen from the keyboard and create the conditions listed above, your laptop will not be ergonomic and good for your posture.
If you have a non-detachable laptop, hook it up to an external monitor or even your television. In that way, you can design your workplace according to the ergonomic best practices, using the monitor as your screen and the laptop for its keyboard.
Smartphones and Tablets
Unfortunately, there’s no way to make smartphones and tablets ergonomic. Instead, focus on ways to avoid soreness and pain from these electronics:
Limit your use of smartphone or tablets, and use an ergonomic computer setup in their place whenever possible.
Put your smartphone or tablet in a stand to stabilize it so you don’t have to hold it. If you’re simply watching something on your device, position the stand so your eye gaze hits the top third of your screen when looking straight ahead.
Avoid extended typing or texting by using speech and text dictation programs.
Use a headset or Bluetooth when talking and and refrain from holding the phone by putting it in a pocket or purse, if you can.