How many hours do you spend at your computer every day? If you answered two or more, chances are you’ve experienced some discomfort while you’re typing. Most desktops are from 28” to 30” in height, which works well if you are between 5’8” and 5’10” tall. If you are taller or shorter, you may find yourself developing physical problems. Most (although not all) desk chairs are height-adjustable, but raising or lowering the seat changes the angle of your legs, putting your joints in an unnatural position. The same is true of your arms, since you will have to adjust the angle at which you raise your arms to use your computer keyboard and mouse.
An improper arm angle puts strain not only on the muscles of your arms, but also on your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Over time, the strain can lead to pain. Aching backs, shoulders, and necks are among the most frequent complaints of those who spend a lot of time working at a desk. Ideally, your lower arms should be at an angle of about 90 degrees in relation to your upper arms for optimal ergonomic comfort. This will put your hands at or below the level of your elbows. If your desk and chair heights can’t be adjusted so that your arms are within the correct angle range while you type on your keyboard and use your mouse, you will probably feel the negative physical effects.
Correct Arm and Wrist Positioning
You should keep your wrists straight while you type, and hold your upper arms close to your body. Use your mouse at the same level as your keyboard, and adjust your mouse’s sensitivity so that you can move it without much effort. If you’re comfortable using keyboard shortcuts rather than the mouse, doing so will allow you to keep your arms in the optimal position for longer periods of time, instead of continually alternating between mouse and keyboard.
Using a Keyboard Tray
Of course, all this good advice won’t mean much if your desk or chair isn’t at the right height for your individual needs. One simple solution to this problem is to use an adjustable height keyboard tray with mouse platform. Choose an ergonomic keyboard tray with tilt capabilities, so you can fine-tune the hand position you need. Also look for a tray with an ambidextrous mouse platform that can be attached to either side of the tray, to accommodate both right- and left-handers.
Typing at the best angle for your back, neck, and shoulders can alleviate pain, allowing you to concentrate on your work and get more done. If you have questions about ergonomic keyboard trays or other products that can help you and your employees, please call or chat with us for assistance.