With the new government regulations, we're going to be at home for the foreseeable.
If you’re a student, freelancer or live in a smaller house, you may use a laptop more than most.
They’ve become must-have tech essentials for many, packing in the power of a desktop computer into a gadget the size of a backpack – but if you’re not careful, prolonged use can lead to a host of back and muscular issues over time.
So what can you do to ensure working on your laptop doesn’t end up putting your health at risk?
Why you should use a laptop stand
Jan Vickery, Head of Musculoskeletal Health at AXA PPP healthcare, says laptops can be awkward to use because the keyboard and screen are often joined together, forcing your head, spine and hands into awkward positions.
She advises: "the best solution is to elevate your screen (on a laptop raiser if possible) and to use an external keyboard and mouse.
Start by sitting with your knees at about hip level or a little lower. Next, place your keyboard so that your wrists are at about elbow level when they are relaxed by your side.
Finally, raise your screen so that the top of the screen is at about eye level. This allows your neck and spine to be upright (in a gentle s-shape, with the lower spine slightly arched)."
It is advice in line with the NHS, who also advises using laptops “on a stable base where there is support for your arms.” Ironically, laptops shouldn’t really be used on your lap at all.
Feeling achy or stiff? There are exercises you can do while seated to keep yourself flexible.
Ms Vickery says: “Stretches that are good include arching your back, moving your neck gently from side to side, pulling your wrist backwards. Be gentle and hold for 30 seconds.”
Ultimately standing up and moving around is the best way to keep your muscles moving: “Try to build reasons to move into your day e.g. drink lots of water, stand if you’re talking on the phone (but not while using your screen!) etc”.
Aside from upping your physical activity, setting up your work station is crucial, no matter where you’re using your laptop. To keep your head at the correct angle, invest in a separate keyboard, mouse and most importantly of all, a laptop stand. This will elevate the screen so it’s at eye-level, rather than forcing your head downwards.
From adjustable legs to sleek, modern designs, here are the best laptop stands to buy now.
NEXSTAND K2 Foldable Laptop Stand for Laptop, Tablet, MacBook
A fabulously designed product for those who are always on the go, this lightweight and compact stand folds down into a carry pouch for easy portability. It also has a minimalistic look that will blend into most workspaces, making it ideal for freelancers and contractors. Your laptop will rest on two arms which are fully adjustable so it will work for people of all heights, with a maximum length that tops out at 32cm.
With eight different height adjustments options, the K2 laptop stand can extend within a range of 15cm to 30cm off the desk.
The K2 fits all laptops with a front edge less than 2cm and keyboard width greater than 27.5cm.
Amazon Basics Ventilated Laptop Stand
If you haven't got lots of cash to spend, Amazon's Basics range is a life-saver. It offers a host of no-frills gadgets and household items that do exactly what they say on the tin, and all at happily affordable prices.
This approach is best demonstrated in this sturdy curved laptop stand. It needs to be used with a separate keyboard which you can find on Amazon.
Futon Company Wood Laptop Table with Drawer
If you're short on living space, you need one of these Laptop Desks, pronto.
Available in an array of calming, zen-like colours, you can use it as a setting for your laptop as well as a makeshift floor desk for children. Made with MDF and bamboo legs.
NULAXY Laptop Stand
Compatible with all laptop models and sizes from 10-17 inches, this ultra-light stand is made from premium 5mm aluminium alloy yet can support an impressive 4kg.
Rubber pads fixed to the arms will stop your laptop slipping and sliding while the forward tilt angle encourages air flow to keep your device from overheating. Also available in silver.
House by John Lewis Insert Laptop stand for the Bed
Back and neck pain expert Michael Fatica of The Mayfair Clinic says laptops should never be used "in bed, on the sofa or any seat where you're using the laptop on your lap."
While we know we shouldn't use them in settings where there are no adequate supports, we also acknowledge that old habits die hard.
So, if you're going to do it, invest in John Lewis' contemporary side table to get your device up to eye-level. The metal frame design is ideal for tight spaces and it can be used by the sofa as well as the bedside.
SIGFINN laptop stand
This minimal-look stand has a classically Scandinavian aesthetic thanks to its clean, sleek lines and glossy veneer. It’s perfect for giving your laptop an extra boost of height when you’re already seated at a table or desk.
Eco-Friendly Laptop Stand
Bamboo is one of the most lightweight and sustainable materials on the planet, so it makes sense to use as much of it in replacement of plastics where possible.
This stand boasts an ergonomic design that elevates the laptop a few inches - so ideally, this should be used on a flat surface like a table or desk. The open base helps to keep your laptop cool and the two freestanding legs mean you can use this to stabilise a device of any size. It’s a home office essential.
Posture Laptop Stand
Holding an incredible 50kg, this is one of the sturdiest laptop stands around. Its unique legs adjust easily so you have the flexibility to work from practically anywhere in total comfort.
It's also ideal to use as a monitor stand and can convert your desk into a standing work station should you wish to stay on your feet.
Available in a choice of three colours.
Easy to setup and quick to fold away, the NEXSTAND K2 laptop stand will fit a wide range of laptops and can support up to 9kg—six times the weight of a traditional laptop or MacBook.