Whether you are looking to upgrade your desk layout or want to improve your posture, choosing the right monitor with the right features can break your budget.
Most monitors will be supplied with a simple monitor stand attached the monitor. Some may allow the monitor to be tilted or may have some height adjustable stand that provides greater flexibility in the positioning of your monitor.
Purpose – Why do would you want to change the basic stand?
For most users the included stand will allow them to place the monitor on their desk and angle it so that they do not end up with a bad posture. Adding more than one monitor to your desk can cause a few issues as they take up more desktop space or you may want to mount them at the same height and angle the screens so that they give the best view with a minimal gap.
Most of us at some times have used a basic monitor stand to increase the height of the screen. These also give a bit more desk space back to use, or as a place to keep your mouse and keyboard when not in use. Using a monitor arm will help with your office clear desk policy.
If you have different brands or models of monitors, then using the included stand may result in using some books or reems of paper to make the screens align. We’ve even seen clients using a couple of bricks to support their monitor.
For staff with bifocals, positioning the screen higher may cause them to crane their neck back and can result in bad posture. Having an adjustable stand or arm will allow the user to adjust the screen(s) to the height where they feel comfortable. If they are using the screen(s) for long hours, then they may need to adjust their screen tilt throughout the day.
What Health & Safety regulations relate to display screen equipment (DSE)?
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK has the following regulations and guidelines for display screen equipment (DSE) – https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf & the Display Screen equipment workstation checklist https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ck1.pdf
If you have DSE users, you must:
- Analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks
- Make sure controls are in place
- Provide information and training
- Provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and special spectacles if needed
- Review the assessment when the users or DSE changed.
The regulations do not require the DSE to swivel and tilt to be built in. The HSE advise that the position of the screen should ensure that the screen is readable and free from any glare.
How many monitors do you need to mount?
Monitor arms can come with one or more arms that can be used to support a monitor or laptop. Adding a second monitor to a PC will improve the available computer desktop so you have more than one application in view at any time. See working with multiple screens for more information.
If you have ever used two monitors on the same computer, then getting the two to align can take several attempts.
Most monitors have a VESA standard mount holes that can be used to attach the monitor to the stand or monitor arm of your choice. Some monitors may not have the VESA fixings, so it is worth checking the manufacturers specification to avoid disappointment later.
Some mounts can support 4 or more monitors. This could be useful in a CCTV control room however for most 1, 2 or 3 is usually enough. Just ensure your desk can handle to weight of the monitors and the monitor arms.
If you plan to add further screens to your desk or plan to add a standing desk converter then check if the selected mount is compatible.
Layout and position of monitors
Depending upon your layout requirements, you way want both monitors to be in landscape or portrait, next to each other or one in landscape and the other in portrait. If you plan to provide the user with choice, then checking the monitor arm can rotate 90 degrees should also be considered. Some mounts will allow you to place monitors side by side or on top of each other.
Fixing types – freestanding, desk clamp, wall, rail system
The type of fixing type you choose can have an effect on functions and aesthetic that you are trying to achieve. The budget you have may available may also need to be considered if your have several users who need a monitor arm.
A freestanding mount can be used if you do not have access to the rear of the desk or if you don’t want to damage the desk. The bases tend to be heavy as they are used to counter balance the weight of the monitors and provide a stable footing. Some monitor arms will give you a choice of the way the base fixes to the desk. This could also include a weighted base that also utilises the grommet or cable management hole in the desk for additional support.
Desk Clamps appear to be one of the most common types of fixings found in monitor arms. These will clamp to the rear of the desk or will use the grommet hole or may require you to drill through the desk. It is worth checking the position of any frames and the thickness of your desk, the clamp will need to be securely tightened to ensure it provides adequate support for the arm.
Wall mounts are more commonly used for TVs than monitors however we have installed several for some clients for CCTV, large fixed monitors for dashboard and vehicle trackers. The wall mounts generally require the arm to be fixed into brickwork or battens to provide sufficient support.
Some office furniture will have desk sub-dividers with rails. Monitors can be mounted to these if required however these tend to require specific fittings from the office furniture manufacturer. The Rail systems tend to be more expensive than other types as the manufacturers may be the only supplier of the rail system for your desk. However they will tend to guarantee the product longer and supply spares if required.
Flexibility & Function
The flexibility of the mounting system you choose may also allow you to add an arm that supports a laptop, which already has a screen so you can utilise both the laptops screen and an additional monitor. Some laptops can be connected via a docking station to multiple screens so this will provide additional flexibility for your users.
Gas assisted, flexible or fixed arms
As monitor arms have become more popular the range of designs has increased, so choosing between a gas assisted, flexible or fixed arms will come down to the end user’s choice. If they are going to make lots of adjustments throughout the day with one hand or if they will not touch the screen once its in the right position.
The cost difference between gas assisted arms only adds a small percentage to the cost so we highly recommend them.
One factor that is worth noting is that not all monitor arms have great cable management included. Each monitor will generally require 2 cables for power and data. These cables will need to be routed so they still allow the monitor arm to move freely. The cables also should not dangling onto the desk or disconnect when the user moves the monitor arm. Some manufacturers include in their design cable management while others may supply some clips or straps to manage the cable. We recommend additional Velcro straps to help manage the cable if required.
Several manufacturers also include speaker/USB connections at the base along with cables to connect to the computer. This saves additional USB hubs for each users.
If you would like assistance with your office setup or require assistance choosing the right monitor arm then contact us.