You are managing it all. Your work, your look, your social media. Well, mostly. The occasional conflict arises, but it is nothing you can’t handle.
You are on the move. Places to go. People to see. Your busy life means that you have to be able to work in any location, at almost any time.
The nearest coffee shop / bookstore has become your office, and your laptop is your most trusted tool. You maybe wish you could stand more, and you think sometimes about that pain in your neck. Is it stress, or is it from leaning over the keyboard and looking down at the screen so much?
The most frequently reported cause of missed work time is musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by repetitive motion. You’re starting to wonder if there might be a way to improve your workspace to help your body feel more relaxed and comfortable, and to be even MORE productive and satisfied than you are now.
The ErgoTree is the stylish answer to the problems that accompany hours working at your laptop, and to preventing debilitating pain and strain down the road.
Laptop Lifestyle Conflict
Whether you are hoofing it in the gig economy by working at libraries and restaurants, or your traditional 9-5 has you chained to a desk, your body is built to wander. Your spine is designed to hold your weight and more, supporting it vertically on cushioned vertebrae. Your wrists are built for twisting, turning, and flexible, varied movement throughout the day. Your neck evolved to hold your head upright to look for opportunities and dangers, and your eyes grow weak if they aren’t occasionally looking off into the distance, presumably searching for food and predators, or both simultaneously if you are in a high school cafeteria.
In short, your laptop lifestyle is at war with more than your waistline. It can slowly lead to backaches, serious wrist pain including carpal tunnel syndrome, “techneck”, and strained eyes that lead to headaches and migraines.
Unfortunately, there are a host of physical problems associated with our laptop lifestyle. Review the lists below to see if you have experienced one or more of them, even if for a brief time.
Lower Back and Hip Pain
Your back should be supported and upright, and your feet should be firmly on the floor to promote the best posture as you work at your computer.
However, many of us slouch when we sit. This intensifies when we hunch over our keyboard on a desk or when we place it on our lap. Your screen position can affect – positively or negatively – whether your back and hips are appropriately aligned when working on the computer. Asking your lower back and shoulder muscles to do the work your skeleton evolved to do causes strain and pain over time.
Your sore back can cause cramping that wakes you up at night, or limits your motion. Back and shoulder pain can significantly decrease the quality of your life, especially if it becomes chronic.
Wrist Pain and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Laptops and desktop keyboards are a common cause of MSDs. They seem to work against all the best rules of protecting your wrist from repetitive stress injuries:
- Keep your forearms in line with the keyboard
- Hold your wrists up, “floating” above the keyboard instead of resting on it
- Keep your wrists straight by moving your arm rather than flexing your wrist to hit the keys
- Use both hands for all but the simplest, most compact key combinations
- When not typing, turn your wrists over to allow them to rest in a neutral position
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a leading cause of missed work time in the US, even as it is frequently underreported by employees who choose to “tough it out” and stay on the job. Or people like you who have no choice but to keep working. Taking simple steps to avoid this debilitating pain is a good investment in a pain-free future.
Another source of laptop-induced pain is straining the complex group of muscles and nerves in the neck. As with the spine, the neck contains skeletal structures intended to carry the weight of your skull and your big, meaty brain. Holding your head tilted downward or off to the side for a significant length of time strains those muscles, and constricts critical blood flow.
Situating your screen to keep your head upright fixes those problems. It puts the weight of your head firmly on your (now upright) spine, and allows blood to flow freely to the home of your creative ideas.
Eye Strain and Headaches
Looking for too long at a screen can cause a host of problems, especially if that screen is placed too close to your eyes.
Your eyes are susceptible to the same sorts of physical repetitive stress disorders as your wrists. Repeating the same motions, such as looking at a certain portion of your screen or not taking breaks to look away, can cause repetitive motion injuries which can cause vision issues such as increased nearsightedness and worsening vision overall.
Eye strain can also prompt headaches.
Placing the screen about an arm’s length from you, perhaps by supplementing your laptop keyboard with an external keyboard for part or all of the day, can help reduce these concerns.
Of course, not all the solutions are about your workspace. Build in regular breaks where you look off at a medium distance for a small portion of each half hour.
There is a Solution
It all sounds discouraging. If you have felt the impact of one or more of these problems, you know that the pain can negatively impact your daily flow. Fortunately, through ergonomics, we know how to alleviate these problems through specific, intentional steps.
By making your workspace match the needs of your body, you can lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the number and severity of work-related musculo-skeletal disorders.
It is recommended that you take the following steps to decrease these problems:
- Center the screen in front of you
- Position the top of the screen at or just above eye level if possible (above the height where it typically sits on a table)
- Sit about an arm’s length from your screen
When so many tabletops are placed low, closer to our lap than our head, keeping our heads up while working can be a challenge. And when our busy days cause us to encounter surfaces at many different heights, we can often feel enslaved to our surroundings.
Fortunately, there is an elegant, lightweight, and portable solution to these problems.
The ErgoTree laptop stand can help you alleviate the strain that is borne from working at an uncomfortable position.
Beautifully crafted from lightweight but durable wood, this laptop stand is more than just a way to keep your battery cool while you tax the CPU. It is also a conversation piece.
Its adjustable height allows you to take an ergonomic workspace with you wherever you go. And when you are done, simply fold it up. Perfectly placed magnets hold it together securely without bulk. Slip it in your backpack or briefcase where you won’t notice its slim profile and light weight, then step out into the sunshine.
Pair it with an external keyboard to create the ideal ergonomic command center.
Being able to work in a comfortable and sustainable way, sitting or standing as you desire, means a chance to stay in creative flow longer, producing new work more efficiently than ever. This allows you to get back to doing the things you love more quickly.
Even if the thing you love involves staying on the computer.
Memory and Mood
Can a product really make you feel better? Even beyond the initial rush of opening and using something new? Even beyond its ability to draw comments and praise from friends and strangers alike?
In addition to preventing physical pain in your neck, back, and hips, there are emotional and cognitive benefits to proper posture. Sitting upright has been shown to be related closely to an improved mood, positive affect, and even decreased depression.
Perhaps because of increased blood flow, or because of physiological responses to “alert” posture, sitting upright and changing your posture is related to the strength of memories and your ability to recall memories in detail. Sitting upright has been shown to increase test scores, and to sometimes dramatically increase individuals’ responses when asked how they were feeling.
It is a rare tool that facilitates getting more done, being more creative, and being more comfortable for longer periods of time.
Your active, on-the-go workstyle meets your needs. You are accomplishing your goals. But what if you could be producing more, or more quickly.
What possibilities open up if you submitted finished projects sooner? What if you weren’t bothered by a nagging screen-induced headache or that pain in your wrist?
The ErgoTree might just save your day, or even more. Beautiful, compact, and adjustable, it is the answer to your solving your “many offices” problem.
Learn more here: The ErgoTree Laptop Stand
Maybe you know someone with an active lifestyle or love of stylish tools? The ErgoTree also makes a thoughtful and elegant gift.