No matter how well an office workstation is designed, problems may arise if attention is not paid to the way the work is done. Working at a computer often involves very few changes in body posture/position. This lack of movement can lead to muscle fatigue and/or pain.

Ergonomics/Human Factors is a field of design specialty that focuses on the simple premise of Human Comfort and Safety. It ensures that the everyday items and spaces we use are positioned, designed, and set up in such a way that our bodies work the most efficient (the least amount of energy) and comfortably (positioning most body joints in anatomical neutral).

Outlined below are body positioning tips to stay safe and comfortable when using a monitor. It is important that this frequently used piece of computer equipment be positioned properly for both neck and visual comfort.


  •  Height: To ensure the head and neck maintain a neutral posture, the top of the monitor casing should be level with eyes when seated at a comfortable seat height. If the monitor gets positioned higher than this it results in a “straight forward” head and neck posture that when maintained for extended periods of time, dramatically increases the workloads on the tiny muscles coming off of the base of the skull. If using corrective lens users (reading, bifocal, progressive) the monitor should be positioned somewhat lower to set screen(s) into the near sighted portion of corrective lens.
  • Position: Directly in front of you. Dual screen setup should have screens slightly angled inwards towards you and where the two screens meet should be in line with your belly button.
  • Distance: Approximately an arm’s length away. A monitor that is set too close increases workloads on the tiny eye muscles. A monitor that is set too far away will encourage forward leaning in the chair and neck craning to view the screen.
  • Glare: Position monitor(s) perpendicular to primary light source (windows) or between and at 90 degrees to rows of overhead light fixtures. Use blinds or pull down shades when necessary.

Did You Know?

Viewing a monitor screen is considered a nearsighted task, like reading a book/document. Positioning the monitor at the recommended height listed above allows the nearsighted visual system the ability to focus better on what it is looking at, thus decreasing eye strain on the small eye muscles.

Visual Tips

In order to give your nearsighted visual system a rest when engaged in a high percentage of computer tasks, take frequent “visual” breaks as well and look off into the distance to engage your far sighted visual system for a few minutes.


Pam Dempster BA, BScOT(c), CMWA