According to UK law employers must reduce the risks associated with using computers, in particular ‘Display Screen Equipment’, for prolonged periods of time.
Most of us are well aware that poor working posture caused by a badly designed workspace can result in various musculoskeletal problems including pain in the neck, shoulders, back, arms, wrists and hands, not forgetting fatigue and eye strain. Skeptical? Ask Emma how many dates she’s been on lately…
Monitor arms form an essential part of a well designed ergonomic workspace. Put simply a monitor arm (sometimes referred to as ‘monitor mount’ or ‘monitor bracket’) is a support arm that firmly holds computer monitors, displays or screens, usually secured using VESA fixings on the back. Often the arms are clamped to the back of the desk but can be clamped through desktop porthole cutouts too. Below we outline 3 key benefits of choosing to use monitor arms.
The HSE recommendations state that a worker’s “Forearms should be approximately horizontal and the user’s eyes should be the same height as the top of the screen.” Commonly the stands that come packaged with computer monitors just don’t cut it. Many workers ‘fix’ this issue by erecting makeshift screen raisers from boxes, piles of heavy books or a homemade woodworking attempt resembling Barbie’s dining table. However these are often cumbersome and sometimes unstable. Monitor arms provide a far more flexible long-term solution, and you won’t have to sacrifice screen height every time you need to refer to your dictionary…
Books that are thick enough to provide enough height and wide enough to accommodate your monitor stand often take up large amounts of desk space which could be used for your essentials. Ergonomics nerds talk about your ‘neutral reach zone’ which is the area your hands can easily reach when your arms are bent and your elbows are beside your body. This space should include the things you handle most throughout your working day, like keyboard and mouse, stationery, a mobile phone, a packet of Skittles® or a peppermint tea. The more cluttered and and shallow your work area is the more you have to place these essentials out of reach, causing you to stretch unnecessarily. Monitor arms allow you to place desktop essentials within easy reach under your monitors.
Even if you possess arms like a gorilla, sitting down to a messy, cluttered desk makes most people feel glum at best and stressed at worst, so creating extra space can really help. Quality monitor arms also offer integral high capacity cable management to help you tuck power and data cables out of sight and stop you getting tangled whilst gesticulating wildly during your Zoom calls.
Most monitor arms provide the scope to position your monitors precisely where you need them. This involves being able to adjust the vertical tilt and horizontal angle as well as the distance from your face, which the monitor manufacturer’s regular stands don’t offer. For workers using two or more monitors (like increasing numbers of greedy computer users are) you’ll benefit from the ability to adjust individual screens to suit your work habits. Well-designed monitor arms also provide the option to quickly rotate your screen from landscape to portrait which can prove invaluable if you’re working with long lists of data or code.
Pole-mounted monitor arms are sturdy and discreet and work well for single-user workspace arrangements where monitors are likely to stay in one position once setup. Gas lift monitor arms are incredibly easy to adjust so work well for workspaces shared between different height people and are ideal if you’re using a sit/stand desk, where the height of the monitor(s) will change depending if you’re standing or sitting.