We all love our tablets and smartphones, but do our gadgets love us back? In the ergonomic sense, definitely not.
It’s nearly impossible to have good posture while using mobile technology. The rules we observed so religiously when we were working at desktops (feet on the floor, knees at right angles, monitor at or below eye level) go right out the window when we work on iPads and the like. Here are a few ways mobile devices are affecting our posture , and what we can do to combat the problem.
1. Reclining while reading.
There’s nothing like kicking back with a good book, or the 21st century equivalent: a good tablet. The problem is that at work, they tend to frown on sofas and hammocks (unless you work at a super-cool start-up with a nap room.) The result is strain our eyes by bringing the screen too close to our faces, and messing up our necks craning our heads.
Solution: If you need to read and absorb a lot of information, either plug into a screen or set your tablet in a stand. Then, make like you’re reading on a monitor of old and sit with your feet on the floor and your head upright.
2. Using more than one device at a time.
Many of us go back and forth from phone to tablet to laptop all day long, craning our necks this way and that, trying to absorb all the information at once. The result is eye strain and reduced productivity. It turns out, you really can’t do more than one thing at a time.
Solution: Stop doing that. Try to concentrate on one thing at a time, and use the biggest screen possible for the bulk of your work.
3. Swiping, swiping, swiping.
There’s nothing more satisfying than “turning a page” on your tablet, but unfortunately, doing this for long periods of time with your tablet flat on your desk means that you have to keep your head bent at a right angle over your work surface. Not great for your neck.
Solution: Use a stand, and try to limit your tablet time by switching off with a laptop or desktop.
4. Falling into a trance.
This is a danger with any computer, but it’s even more common now that we have such speedy and easy-to-navigate devices. Staring at your computer for too long without blinking dries out your eyes, causing strain and discomfort.
Solution: Consider loading up one of the many productivity programs that will remind you to blink at regular intervals.
5. The good old-fashioned slump.
We’ve been fighting against slumping over our keyboards since keyboards were invented. Bad posture from slouching causes everything from backaches to headaches to eye strain.
Solution: Swap out your old-fashioned desk chair for a ball chair, or try one of the new standing desks, or really anything to keep you from letting your core go lax and your spine bend forward.