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A few things to consider when choosing a monitor stand

Updated: Feb 8


We see so many cases of monitor arms not-quite-working from an ergonomic perspective, that we thought it was about time we wrote a blog post about it.


So often, monitor arms are bought en-mass as part of a big upgrade of furniture and equipment, with considerable financial outlay for the business. The IT teamwork like troopers, selecting equipment, installing and rewiring all of this so the rest of the team can as seamlessly as possible get back to business as usual.




However, we wonder if, in all of the considerations about the technical spec of the screens, computer set up and cable management, whether the ergonomic implications for the desk user are forgotten…?


Common issues:

1) The monitors are too large for flexible positioning on a dual monitor stand. When the arms of the stand are at near full stretch, there is limited ability to move the monitors to both A) the optimal distance from the viewer AND B) the optimal angle (with the outer edges angled in rather than flat). Consequently, we often end up having to compromise on one of these things, leaving the user not being able to achieve a comfortable viewing experience. This can have knock-on effects for posture, such as them either leaning in to view or sitting too far back from the desk and having to reach their arms further forward (increasing shoulder tension) due to the screens feeling too close.


Consider:

- Most monitor arms state they can be used for monitors up to 32”; however, in our experience, most large monitors at the upper end of this, cause issues with flexible positioning.

- How large do you really need the monitors to be? Bigger is not always better; two big monitors also requires a lot of neck twisting.

- We suggest that you buy one set to try with your monitors before you buy a whole office’s worth to check if they are suitable. Can you move the monitors forward and back while they remain touching and angled in slightly for comfortable viewing, without altering your seated position?

- For two large monitors, two separate monitor arms might be better for more flexible positioning.


2) The monitor arm is restricted by a wall or screen immediately behind the desk. Again, this prevents flexible positioning of the monitors in a dual screen set up. Sometimes, they cannot be positioned both A) touching and B) at the optimal distance as the joint of the monitor arm hits the wall behind and blocks it from being moved as needed.


Consider:

- Can the desk be moved slightly forward from the wall or screen (by a few centimetres) to accommodate the movement of the monitor arm? If yes; this is a problem easily solved; if not, see below.

- Seek monitor stands that have three sections/joints per arm rather than two, so that each component does not extend back as far over the back of the desk. It also allows for more flexibility / ease of manoeuvring into the desired position e.g. Pinnacle Dual Monitor Arm, see below.

- Two separate monitor arms are again another solution for more flexibility with monitor positioning.

 

3) Monitor arm is mounted via grommet clamp (in a hole in the desk) that is positioned too close. This forces dual monitors to be positioned too close to the user, which is uncomfortable to view and makes them want to sit too far back from the desk, resulting in increased reach and shoulder tension. Alternatively, the screens can be moved back slightly by being moved apart and positioned either side of the pole. However, this results in increased neck rotation as the screens are not centralised.


Considerations:

- Can the monitor be attached to the desk with a C clamp instead? Positioning of the stand can then always be moved, rather than being permanent.

- If not, due to the desk frame being in the way, then a free standing monitor stand (that sits on the desk top) might be a better option.

 

Seek local suppliers for tailored advice and solutions:


We love working with Marcia at CG Furniture, who can help you pick out some monitor stands that are suitable for your workplace set up.


Marcia recommends Pinnacle as a preferred option that offers good flexibility of positioning for the screens, due to it having a third joint inbuilt in each arm.


Pinnacle Dual Monitor Arms $158.00 + GST at CG Furniture


  • Suits monitor sizes 17″ – 32″

  • Gas spring adjustment

  • 180deg swivel and 90deg rotation

  • Quick release VESA plate

  • VESA 75 & 100mm

  • Max load 9kg per arm

  • C-Clamp or Grommet installation options

  • Suits desktops from 20-60mm thickness

  • Integrated cable management

  • Finished in Black or White powdercoat

  • 10 year warranty





Alternatively, Agile Monitor Arms could be bought as single monitor arms, if this is going to work better for your set up in terms of flexible positioning.




Another great option is the CBS Lima Monitor Arm, which offers easy adjustability, and allows a second monitor arm to be added if required. For expert advice, speak to Alan at Canterbury Office Furniture:




 



Please note: Your IT team will no doubt have additional consideration to add to this from a technology / cable management perspective. However, we hope that the above will be helpful in bringing important ergonomic considerations into the conversation, so that your staff’s comfort is prioritised.



Lois Hill is an Occupational Therapist working for WorkSpace IQ with 11 years’ clinical experience and specialist in vocational rehabilitation and pain management. She is passionate about empowering clients with the means to maximise their function, health and wellbeing.



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