Last week I visited a company that is giving all of its employees iPads. They told me that they felt this was a good way to circumvent the worry of ergonomics and safe workstation set ups. After all, they can stand up and move around all the time. They just take the computer with them!
It’s not the first time I’ve come across the idea that iPads and other tablets aren’t desktop computers, so the rules of good ergonomics somehow don’t apply. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All tablets are digital devices, so not only are the rules of good ergonomics necessary, they are essential as there is no foundation (such as one gets with a desk) on which to structure a safe workstation. (If you are reading this in Britain, it’s worth remembering that the iPad came onto our markets in 2010 and the HSE DSE regulations were last updated in 2002.)
Now that we are all using them more and more, it makes sense to adopt good iPad and tablet ergonomics, just like you would with your desktop computer.
Here are six things to keep in mind for good iPad ergonomics:
- If you are going to be using your tablet for long periods of uninterrupted work, get a stand so that your screen is at eye level.
- Take breaks. It doesn’t matter what digital device you are using, breaks are essential at least every 15 minutes.
- Tablets are designed to allow you to move, so get up and walk around with your tablet, but keep a mental note of how long you’ve been looking down. Again, if it’s long periods of time, you need to adopt a set up like the one you use for your desktop computer.
- Alternate the finger you use to swipe and tap. Don’t make your poor index finger on your right hand do all the work. Give it a rest now and then.
- If you are up and about, give the arm you are holding the laptop with a rest too and alternate whenever you think of it.
- When possible, use apps/software that allow you to speak your commands.