Four Small Steps that Lead to Big Ergonomic Results

1. Assume the right ergonomic posture.
2. Designate your main monitor.
3. Orient your mouse to the main screen.
4. Adjust both monitors so they are at parallel height and eye level.

There’s a reason why we’ve seen a 70 percent increase in dual monitor use since 2002, and multiple studies indicate that people who use two screens are more productive—as much as 43 percent more1. But if you don’t get the ergonomic setup right, the productivity payoff is often reduced by back pain and eye strain. If you want to get the most from your investment in dual monitors, read on for a few tips to help you configure your monitors for comfort and productivity.

1. Assume the Position

Posture is the foundation of comfort, so it’s critical to be in good form before you adjust your monitor arms. For seated positions, your back should be engaged with the lower back of the chair, your feet planted firmly on the ground, and your forearms resting on your desk at a 90-degree angle. The same goes for standing positions. Stand up straight, and make sure your forearms are on your desk at a 90-degree angle.

2. Designate Your Main Monitor

Once you’ve found the most comfortable seated and standing postures, it’s time to adjust your monitors. In a dual-monitor setup, the primary screen should be the one you use to type a report or fill out a spreadsheet. The secondary screen should be used for reference (or watching cat videos).

3. Orient Your Mouse

Once you’ve adjusted your monitors, point your mouse toward the main screen. This keeps your mouse out of the “far reach” zone—the zone that can cause repetitive stress injuries because your elbow angle approaches 180 degrees.

4. Adjust for Comfort

Position the main monitor squarely in front of your body and at eye level, and make sure your secondary monitor is at a parallel height to the main display. This will help you avoid the neck and eye strain that happens when you twist or look down at the other screen.