Are you working pain-free with your laptop?
Whether you are a digital nomad, remote worker or any breathing creature that works with a laptop, as you spent lots of hours of the day sitting down there's a high chance of feeling body pain if you haven't really taken care of your posture.
Just look around your favorite co-working space (or coffee shop) and you'll see plenty of people hunching over as they use their devices. If we don't do something about it, we might run into a epidemic of bad posture.
The main problem is that laptops weren't originally designed as we are using them. The word itself derives from "top" of your "lap", which means to get the computer above your lap. Or maybe it was meant to lay down in a couch, where the computer is on my lap, the screen is eye-level and is comfortable enough to write.
But we don’t work usually in these positions.
So if you care about your body, let me give you some ergonomic advices that I've applied for years to work pain-free.
- Find a flat table. First, to lay down your computer you should find a flat table like this one, similar as what you've already seen in many work from home setups. Just make sure it's spacious enough to add all your computer gear.
- Get a laptop stand. The top of your screen should have the same height horizontally as your eyes. And to make it possible, you will need a laptop stand. Just like the Roost Stand, it’s easy to setup. But is still not ergonomic as the position of the keyboard will force you to lean forward and curve your hands upward.
- Add an extra keyboard. I know, it looks ridiculous to have two at the same time but it's just the way it goes...
- Add a mouse. Then you will need a peripheral for scrolling so add either a trackpad or a mouse —which what I use.
And this will be your basic setup for better ergonomics.
Now, if you are going to sit down for hours is better to put your ass in something comfortable and better yet, ergonomic.
I'm talking about those chairs that you see in co-working spaces, work from home setups or even gamers.
These chairs helps you keep a correct posture, which goes like this:
- Relax your shoulders and open up your chest
- Lean your back a bit
- Rest your elbows between 90º to 120º angle
- Keep your knees separated some cms away from the chair
- And mantain your feet flat
Following these guidelines, you'll soon realize how important is the ergonomic of a basic furniture like a chair.
Another way of working that's getting popular, is standing up. You can buy a height adjustable desk or just find any tall table to lay your laptop.
Apply all the ergonomic principles I mentioned before and add a comfort mat is you feel tired after longer periods of work. Also use some books if your table is not high enough.
Is up to you whether you prefer standing up or sitting down. On my end I'd like to vary, working 70% of the time a chair and rest just standing up.
Also if you want to be precise on the dimensions, here's website where you can type down your height and it will give you ideal measurements for setting up the distance of your chair, table and computer.
I know this kind of setups aren't accessible for everyone, especially for digital nomads that travel often.
You don't have to sit perfectly like those ergonomics pictures and it's ok if sometimes you work at a coffee shop only with the laptop.
But as you as much can, try to keep the screen at eye leyel using the basic setup with the laptop stand.
It's important for your body to have a correct posture for most of the time you spent working or else... you will end up with a curved spine when you get older.
If you got the gist of the ergonomics that I explain here, please don't buy those mimic accessories that you'll see around the web. Most of them promise to correct your posture when they still makes you face down, hunch over or curve your hands.
I just hope this article helps you understand the importance of a good posture, and if you are working from your laptop everyday, you should care take of your body.
So please share it to any other remote worker who might need this information!