First and foremost, let’s discuss what ergonomics is. From there, we can move on to teaching you how to set-up your laptop in a way which is healthy and allows you to work efficiently. Basically, ergonomics is a system or set of guidelines which allows you to achieve the most out of your work when on a computer- in this case, a laptop. You’ll have much more energy, be less sore, and get more done in a less amount of time.

What you must realize about ergonomics is that it is completely subjective depending on the individual. For example, your body is not the same as anyone else’s; so what works well for you may not work so well for them (and vice versa). As a general rule of thumb, take what works with ergonomics and use it while eliminating what doesn’t work. With that being said, let’s discuss some reasons why ergonomics would be needed for lap-top set-ups in the first place.

Designed For Portability

Laptops are designed for one purpose: portability. This is why they are so small and why they can cause so much harm on your body. You have to squint to see small monitors, you get crams in your hand due to small keyboards, and you don’t really have room to adjust anything. One of the few options you do have is purchasing other equipment which can transform your laptop in a much more user-friendly machine. The irony behind their portability is that they can cause serious harm so understanding proper ergonomics is crucial to your health.

The Solution

There are four key areas to worry about with your laptop set-up: the keyboard, monitor, and touch pads. To begin, monitors are generally way too small for them to be effective while in use. You generally have to squint or lean in (bad form) if you want to see certain content. Hand cramps are caused by keyboards which are too small or by touch pads which offer limited amounts of movement. Luckily, there are ways to handle this.

For one, adjust your monitor to the best of your ability. We understand that you are limited in this department. Work with what you have. Your ideal goal should be to line up the screen so that you don’t have to bend your head or neck to see it. When it comes to keyboards, there really isn’t much you can do besides keep your wrists straight and natural. Don’t curve or angle them as common advice would suggest. Finally, touch pads are not ideal either. The best thing you can do for them is to purchase a separate mouse to attach to your laptop.

Reliable Information

There tends to be a lot of junk when it comes to ergonomics on the Internet. Do your best to filter through all the bad stuff. Find something which works well for you. If you can, make sure that it is backed by a reliable source or by scientific evidence. Ergonomics is something which can be really subjective so it is easy for people to post what works for them while disregarding the general population.

Other Solutions

If worse comes to worst and you don’t want to be to a back pain specialist, purchase accessories. A separate mouse and keyboard can help turn your laptop into a regular computer. This relives tons of physical and mental stress. Just make sure that you have the budget to do it. If you don’t, then don’t worry; there are many other ergonomic solutions which don’t require a financial investment.


Decide whether or not ergonomics is something which is right for you. If you are suffering from joint or muscle pain as a result of spending too much time on your laptop, then it is definitely something you want to consider. Last but not least, be open to learning the principles associated with ergonomics and don’t disregard something simply because it feels weird in the beginning- it generally will the first time you do it.

About the Author

Melissa Cameron, freelance writer, discovered the Internet back in 2003, loves to research, currently she writing a series of articles on back pain and the importance of developing an ergonomic work space with the help of a Sacramento low back pain specialist. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, husband Dave, 2 kids.

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