Home Dual Monitors or Laptop Screen: Which is a Pain in the Neck? Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: Nervana Wadie on July 11th, 2017

One of the ongoing discussions in the workplace is the comparison of different office workstation setups, specifically with the multitude of options available today; from various keyboard structures and angled mice, to monitor sizes and layouts.

Working with multiple desktop monitors has been increasing recently, in an effort to enhance productivity and efficiency.  On the other hand, laptop sales have greatly exceeded desktop computer sales due to their portability as well as the growing pool of technological innovation.

In a recent issue of Human Factors, a research study compared the effects of dual monitors and laptops on the musculoskeletal system. Although work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are a widely-spread issue amongst static, seated office work, there is only a handful of scientific data that outlines the effects of different computer workstation layouts on the posture and musculature of employees.

Some of the study’s prominent results are highlighted below:

  1. Laptops cause more eyestrain compared to dual monitors.
  2. Dual monitor set ups promote better neck postures compared to laptop use.

In order to reduce discomfort and possible musculoskeletal disorders in the upper body, utilize dual monitor set ups as opposed to laptop screens. The important factor to consider is that computer monitors should be at, or slightly below, eye level which can be achievable by adjusting the dual monitors, whereas laptops cannot be positioned correctly. Therefore, it is important to consider the layout of the workstation and customize it to the job performed to ensure proper utilization of the available tools.

References:

Zuniga, A. M., & Côté, J. N. (2017). Effects of Dual Monitor Computer Work Versus Laptop Work on Cervical Muscular and Proprioceptive Characteristics of Males and Females. Human Factors, 59(4), 546-563. doi:10.1177/0018720816684690

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