When purchasing any kind of computer, most people would generally only be concerned about having a monitor and some sort of stand for their monitor. As long as you have the computer, monitor, and stand you should be good to go, right? What people sometimes do not even think to consider is that a monitor arm can be extremely beneficial to add to your new or existing computer setup. Many might speculate how much added advantage there is in purchasing a computer monitor arm which is why we can take a look at some of the benefits to help you decide if it is worth the investment.
Perhaps the most vital reason to have a computer monitor arm is the importance of working in an ergonomic environment. By working in an ergonomic environment every piece of equipment used, whether it be your office chair or in this case the monitor which you use, is tailored to be adjustable to fit the unique individual’s body. Monitor arms are specifically designed to easily adjust the height of your computer screen and can be brought closer or farther away from your face to find the optimum reading position. A good rule of thumb to correctly position your monitor is to make sure that the top of the viewable area of your display should be approximately at eye level, or in a position that is comfortable for you and does not cause you to strain your eyes in order to read what is on the screen. Ergonomic experts say that an arms length away is a good indication to a correct viewing distance, but this may vary from user to user. This type of movement and flexibility is impossible to achieve without the use of a monitor arm.
Another added benefit of monitor arms, is that they can be used by virtually anyone with any kind of computer. First and foremost, those with a desktop computer will always need to have purchased a monitor to begin with. But even lap
top users, like myself, can benefit from a monitor arm as well. A few months ago I found myself straining my eyes to read the tiny print on my 13” laptop monitor and knew I needed to find a solution before I compromised my vision. With the purchase of a large monitor and a monitor arm, I could easily attach the monitor through a port in my computer to make viewing text much less strenuous on my eyes. Increasingly workstations are shared between more than one user, especially for jobs that stay open all day with multiple shifts. If you share your station at work with another colleague, with a few simple movements the monitor can be easily adjusted to the height and depth suitable for that individual
Monitor arms are especially advantageous when trying to make room or save space on a desk. Most stands provided by manufacturers consume a lot of room on a desk, whereas an ergonomically designed monitor arm will typically clamp to the back of a desk or be attached directly to a slat-wall leaving the desk space completely clear. An office space or work place will look much less cluttered, more stylish, and more organized with the addition of a computer monitor arm. Some even come in stylish designer colors, such as white and silver, to further enhance the modern design.
In the long run, the monitor arm will not only add style and design to any work space, but it may also reduce work related injuries such as repetitive strain injury and chronic back pain if used ergonomically correct. Monitor arms are also built to withstand the test of time; generally if monitor arms are used 5 days a week for 8 hours a day you can expect it to last at the very least 5 years. While the move to a monitor arm may seem like a risk, the benefits vastly outweigh any disadvantages.
After making a flickr account today, I got the idea to take mass amounts of pictures of my workplace so everyone could see how Sitbetter operates and where us Sitbetter employees work everyday. So enjoy this short little picture tour I created and get to know us a little bit better!
What are ergonomic accessories, and how do we assess their value in an era when the “hot” term in the office is ergonomics? Everyone wants a piece of them, and everyone wants to charge a lot for them, but before you dive headfirst into “ergonomicafying” your office, let’s get a deeper understanding of what will and what can work for your work environment.
Ergonomic accessories can be classified into 3 general categories: Monitor Arms, Keyboard Trays, and Footrests. Some mice are included in this conversation, but only a few. Anything else is really an office accessory, including CPU holders, glare filters and task lights. While not disputing the fact that these office accessories are valuable, they are not focused at providing the same benefits to one’s body at work like the aforementioned 3 ergonomic categories.
Monitor arms became increasingly popular with the decrease in price of flat screen monitors – at first a tool for the hip, now a tool for comfort. Not only do they allow for more desk tabletop space by freeing up valuable real estate, but the true ergonomic benefit comes in the ability to position the monitor at the right height for the computer’s user. Ideally, the top of the monitor should be level to users line of sight – this dissuades slouching or leaning to read the screen. If you use two monitors, a dual monitor arm may be employed, and the second monitor should be aligned an arms length in front of you and to the right of the main monitor. If you have a laptop, you can still use a monitor arm – you’ll just need a monitor. By using a laptop tray, you can use your laptop monitor effectively without using a monitor arm.
What does “not slouching” do? Basically, your mother was right. (Funny how we always hear that as we grow older). The monitor arm prevents slouching, which means you are going to be in the optimal sitting position most of your work hours. Your back is going to be where it should be – leaning against the backrest. Why is leaning against the backrest good, aside from feeling good? Let’s look at the shape of the chair to the shape of your spine. Notice the S shape of your spine and how it rests against the S shaped backrest? Most ergonomic chairs will have such a shaped backrest, so leaning all the way back allows your back to appropriately meet the backrest.
Keyboard trays also encourage proper ergonomics by keeping your arms at an even level. This posture of your arms will reduce the strain on the wrists that is commonly associated with constant and repetitive typing. Keyboard Trays are becoming more popular and are usually a more commonly bought accessory – installation requires only a few screws and the benefits are immediate. There are many different types of keyboard trays – they all pretty much function the sames so quality is where the price differences arise.
So getting a keyboard tray is effective in relieving wrist related stress while typing, but like the monitor arm, it has a practical use as well – it frees up valuable desk space. While the paperless office has been attempted, lets face it, paper will always be around. Might as well have more room to spread your clutter!
You may be one of the many people that employ a laptop. As I write this from a laptop, I can tell you that having a laptop is no excuse to eschew ergonomics. There are utilities available to take advantage of a keyboard tray and monitor arm with a laptop, such as this nifty Laptop Docking Station (which is the one I use, by the way):
Lastly, the ergonomic footrests. What is the benefit of that? None if you don’t use it right. (Like anything). An ergonomic footrests is generally made for two purposes – one, to give users a place to rest their feet on high chairs or seating areas or two, as an accessory to encourage movement of the feet while sitting. This constant motion won’t burn many calories, but it will promote bloodflow, which in turn reduces fatigue. And that’s always nice. They even have some with massage balls – so you can get a nice massage in the workplace, provided your feet don’t, well, smell.
The idea behind ergonomic accessories is to add overall comfort to the user’s workplace atmosphere, and that is a goal that is not to be overlooked nor understated. The modern work lifestyle has evolved to the point where these items are not a luxury anymore- with people spending more and more time on a computer and on the Internet these days, being comfortable for a prolonged period of time is critical to overall well being.
Just think of how many hours a day you’d spend working in front of your computer, slouching forward and trying to make sense of the small text on the screen. (Make the font bigger, if you keep squinting!) A good monitor arm/keyboard tray/footrest combo will quickly and, if chosen right, inexpensively make your or your employees work days more efficient and better over the long run. All of the accessories sold at Sitbetter are quality items – nothing that will fail within a week or even a year, and if it does, it is a good thing you bought it here, because we have your back. It’s ok to drink our ergonomic kool-aid – we do.
So, you’ve finally decided to get with the 21st century and set up an ergonomic office! You might only have a few dozen questions or so on how to do it, why go to all that expense and where to go, etc, etc, etc!
Some great questions, because setting up an ergonomic office can not only be confusing, but expensive, so do it right the first time, not guessing about how to go about it and spending far too much on the wrong products!
I googled ergonomics, and I came across a particular ‘ergonomic’ e-tailer who was passing a chair like this one off as an ergonomic chair! Now, don’t get me wrong, this might be a perfectly great chair, but an ergonomic office chair?…. Not a chance!
So then you start looking around, and discounting the chairs which likely are not ergonomic office chairs, you start to see the price tags and the coughing, hacking and spasming starts!
After you wake up, drag yourself up onto your chair and sip some water…. let me explain to you just why it makes economic sense to set your employees up with as good of ergonomic office chairs and accessories as you can….
A recent study shows that the average employee, when outfitted properly with a sensible ergonomic office, chair, accessories and everything, is going to be 10-15% more productive.
Imagine that, figure if that employee is paid 40K a year, and gets even 5 % more productive…… (does math in head….. grrrr, not coming….. )…. carry the two…. ohhh forget it (grabs calculator)…. That’s 2000 more a year in productivity!
So figure, if a chair costs $800, keyboard tray, monitor arm, footrest and light another $600 or so…. (grabs calculator again…)… that setup pays for itself in 8 months! Or 4 months if you go with the 10 percent!
Quite simply, putting together an ergonomic office makes great business sense!
So how to do it? Well, you don’t have to take my word on it, you can look at Cornell University’s ergonomic website and see what they recommend. In short, however, a good chair, monitor arm, keyboard tray, footrest and task light. I’ll recommend the Freedom Chair as a great high-quality ergonomic office chair, and Humanscale’s keyboard tray, monitor arm and footrests are very good and quality pieces as well.
So, who to buy from?
Find someone who knows what the heck they’re talking about!
If their idea of an ergonomic office chair is like the one about…. ummm not likely a great place to shop!
Of course I recommend SitBetter.com, but heck, I’m biased!
(My apologies to all the simians out there who actually sit right!)
I do try to keep saying- there are other things to consider before purchasing an ergonomic chair, in fact you can buy the most expensive ergonomic office chair in the world, and if you don’t sit in it properly, it might just as well be a very expensive rock!….
Today, it will be monitor arms.
With todays flatscreen monitors, people found they have all sorts of new real estate on their desks, and despite the recent decline in real estate values, the sort that’s on top of your desk will always be in short supply!
Soooo, they take the monitor, put it allll the way to the back of the desk, put the keyboard right in front of it, and end up having to lean out of the chair just to see the monitor!
Remember that rock from yesterday? Yep, for all the good any chair is going to do you….
Try getting a monitor arm, they really do work.
Now some are better than others, granted, but frankly, any of them is better than none!
I use, here at work, a humanscale M4 monitor arm, (another crass commercial ad: Available at SitBetter.com!) and frankly, I love it! It gives me tons of desk space, it’s very stable and it’s highly adjustable.
I can put paperwork underneath it, swing it out of the way when I want to, and bring the screen up close when I need to use it (fine fine fine, I’m always on the computer so it’s always right there!).
In other words, monitor arms are great space AND back savers.