Are workstation ergonomics creating more sick days?

Poor ergonomics have been shown contribute to work-related illness. The right tech can be part of the solution.


In February of 2014 government statistics showed that the number of days lost to illness in UK businesses in 2013 was a staggering 131 million, and that the majority of these were due to minor illness. However, the largest proportion of these minor illnesses related to back, neck and muscle pain – 31 million to be precise.

With employers facing a bill of around £9 billion for sick pay (according to the Department of Work and Pensions) and the use of laptops and other mobile tech continuing to rise at a significant rates every year, the importance of reducing illness relating to workstation and specifically laptop use is now more important than ever.

Modern problems

There are rules and regulations to help prevent work-related illnesses but these were last reviewed in 2002. Since then the ways in which we work have changed significantly. There’s been a huge shift from desktop to laptop computing, which creates a whole host of different ergonomic problems for employees.

Chris Adams, human factors engineer and ergonomics expert has identified specific areas where laptops can create problems different to those found with normal desktop computers.

  • Keyboard spacing. Wrist and repetitive strain injuries can occur, as the spacing on laptop keyboards is smaller than regular keyboards.
  • Monitor size. Eyestrain can become a bigger problem due to the smaller screen sizes found on laptops.
  • Monitor placement. Because keyboard and monitor are attached users are unable to move monitors to the best positions leading to bad posture.
  • Touch pads and scrolling. Laptops use touch pads or dot scrollers that are not designed for protracted use, again leading to repetitive strain injuries.

How can enterprises address these problems but still keep a more flexible, efficient and agile workforce?

Review desk ergonomics and increase productivity

There are several ways in which these problems can be combated, helping to keep sick days low and productivity levels high.

Docking stations

The most versatile and innovative of which is using a universal docking station. These allow a laptop to be connected with one wire to the dock, which can then have a number of peripheral pieces of hardware attached.
The dock will allow you to attach a full-sized keyboard that can be used instead of the one integral to the laptop. It will also allow an ergonomically-designed mouse to be attached; both of these products should help reduce wrist and repetitive strain injury problems.


To help reduce the chance of eyestrain from focusing on smaller monitors, or neck and back pain from looking down at a laptop, a docking station can allow full-sized monitors or multiple monitors to be connected to each workstation. These can then be used for more detailed work without causing the user to strain to see. Screens can be moved to correct eye and posture positions for better ergonomics. Larger and multiple screens have also been proven to help improve productivity too in a number of studies, including works by Pfeiffer Consulting, so these are investments that are likely to see returns beyond just improvements in health.

Other options

A less high-tech solution is to invest in a stand designed specifically to hold laptops. These allow the laptop to be held so that users can see the screen at an eye-line and position that is correct for them and better for their posture. It also means that you can move the screen and connect a keyboard and mouse to use it like any desktop computer, eliminating health and safety concerns surrounding laptop use.

At Targus we have designed a range of products that can address the possible health problems relating to laptop use and hopefully reducing the need for staff to take sick days. If you’d like to find out more about these products including universal docking stations, stands, keyboards and mice you can visit our products page. Or if you’d like to discuss other workstation solutions please get in contact with our team.


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We acknowledge that many Organisations would like to try our universal docking solutions in the situ of their workplace. We offer a fully supported on-site evaluation of our products to ensure they deliver to your specific needs.

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Discuss our range Of Universal Docking Stations

Targus offer a full range of docking solutions to support a complete range of requirements and price points. Please call us to find out the best docking solution for your Organisation.

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Discuss our range of Universal Docking

Targus offer a full range docking solutions to support a wide range of requirements and price points. Please call us to discuss the best docking solution for your organisation.

Speak to Targus

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