Sales of laptops exceed desktops in the U.S.. That is really bad news for backs, and necks, and shoulder muscles. When you use a laptop on a desk like this, inevitably what has to happen is, because the sightline is so low and the screen is so low, the person has to sit forward in the chair; they’re not using the backrest, there’s no support, so that person is mainly supporting herself. The hands are above the elbows typically, or very often, and that tends to leave the shoulders up. It puts more of a strain on the wrist area, the fingers are often going higher than they need to.
If you’re going to use a laptop for any period of time, or use it regularly for a few hours a day, you really need to somehow separate the monitor and the keyboard, and there are lots of different options for doing that. Laptop stands are really quite low-tech and inexpensive, you can carry them around with you, and they’re lightweight. They raise your monitor up so that the sightline is much better, and having an external keyboard like this, particularly on a tray, puts that at the right height also. I’m feeling better already, because I’m able to lean back, my elbows are supported; altogether, I feel in a much more relaxed position.
So here’s one option for making it slightly more ergonomic. In this case my colleague Joe de Avila is using a completely separate monitor, completely separate keyboard, and just using his laptop as the computer brain. Here, we separated the tools, he has an external keyboard and mouse (they happen to be wireless) and a very large screen. The important thing is to get the monitor up to the height of your eyes, and the keyboard down even with your elbows; then, you’ll be much more comfortable.