Do you travel frequently for work? By the end of your trips, do you experience fatigue, pain, or discomfort in your neck or back muscles? This may be caused by maintaining poor postures when using your laptop for extended periods of time.
A laptop offers the flexibility to work remotely because the screen and keyboard are attached. However, the body compensates for the compact workstation by adopting awkward neck, back, and arm postures throughout the day. Over time, this behavior can increase the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). To avoid MSDs, consider putting together an ergonomics travel kit with portable and compact devices and equipment. You can tailor your workstation to fit you—no matter where you are! A shopping list of recommendations and usage guidelines are below.
Use a height-adjustable laptop stand to raise the height of your laptop screen. Products such as the Nexstand Laptop Stand and the Roost Laptop Stand require minimal space in your suitcase or backpack for transportation. When setting up your temporary workstation, adjust the stand to ensure that the top of the laptop viewing screen is at or slightly below eye level. The screen should be about one arm’s length away or between 18″ and 30″ from your eyes. Position the viewing screen within these guidelines to reduce awkward neck postures and minimize eyestrain.
Purchase a wireless keyboard to reduce reach distance when typing. The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is a full-sized keyboard that is thin, lightweight, and compact for easy storage. When purchasing a keyboard for travel, ensure it has full-sized keys to help you maintain appropriate wrist position and typing efficiency. When setting up your temporary workstation, position the keyboard close to your body on the worksurface edge. This will allow you to maintain neutral arm postures and to work with the shoulders relaxed when typing for extended periods of time.
Consider using a vertical mouse to help you maintain neutral wrist and forearm postures. The Unimouse Vertical Mouse folds relatively flat for easy storage and is a great alternative to a standard flat mouse. The design is angle-adjustable and allows you to keep your wrist and forearm in a neutral “thumbs-up” position, which provides benefits when mousing for long periods.
Avoid cumulative stress on the body by taking breaks and changing postures frequently. Stand, stretch, and walk around regularly to utilize different muscle groups and to allow your more frequently used muscle groups to rest.Following these guidelines will help you keep your neck and back upright, your elbows close to your body, and your wrists and forearms in a neutral position, thereby improving your overall comfort and reducing your risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.
By keeping your neck and back upright, your elbows close to your body, and your wrists and forearms in a neutral position, you’ll experience more comfort and reduce your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.