When we think of factors that can have negative health repercussions at our computer desk, the usual items come to mind: the computer monitor, the chair, or perhaps the desk itself.
We rarely consider the keyboard tray. However, this small piece of your setup may be the most important of them all.
Read on to discover all the ergonomic benefits of an under-desk keyboard tray.
What Are Ergonomics?
Many people falsely assume ergonomics is related solely to the promotion of better health habits at businesses. However, ergonomics is actually the study of workplace efficiency.
Researchers investigating this category attempt to answer questions about what makes employees work better and why, which sometimes results in inspecting practices that may have negative health effects on an employee.
OSHA puts the heart of ergonomics eloquently: "More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker's body to fit the job."
More companies are paying attention to ergonomics as they realize they can benefit both their business as well as their employees.
What Is an Under-Desk Keyboard Tray?
"Oh, it's just a keyboard that fits under a desk," you might be thinking. You're about a quarter right.
The keyboard does, indeed, usually slide back under the desk. It is meant to be pulled out and worked on. Truly ergonomic keyboards have the extra advantages of being able to tilt, lift, slide and swivel, as is the case with the KT1 adjustable tray.
The idea is to have the flexibility to move that keyboard wherever it needs to go to optimize your comfort and work. Further, they're built with your health in mind.
The best position for your keyboard tray is actually at a negative angle. The top of the keyboard should be bent slightly downward, allowing your hands and wrists to type more naturally.
Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably and your forearms to stay level with the floor. Your monitor should be at eye height or lower, and you should maintain a three-foot distance from the screen.
While the positioning may seem awkward at first, it is best suited for your health.
The Benefits of a Keyboard Tray
Sure, they make your life easier, but these trays have a few surprises many consumers fail to consider.
Proper keyboard placement is an invaluable tool in promoting healthy posture.
Sitting correctly when typing affects blood flow and discourages the muscle and joint pain experienced when computer users slouch or lean forward. When we slouch, we involuntarily strain our muscles. A keyboard tray helps with all of this.
By having the flexibility to pull your tray back, you can ensure you're seated properly.
No more lower back and neck pain. Hello, healthy muscles.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when too much pressure is consistently applied to the median nerve, which runs from your forearm through your wrist. It can result in tingling and numbness in the wrist as well as general weakness.
With an ergonomic keyboard tray, however, you can kiss carpal tunnel goodbye.
Having your keyboard at the proper height and angle can reduce the chances of carpal tunnel. With a regular tray or no tray at all, this positioning capability is lost.
Proper keyboard positioning can also help discourage tendinitis, an irritation of the tendon that is often caused by repetitive movements.
By using proper ergonomics at work, you protect your tendons from the stress associated with typing. Furthermore, the flexibility allows you to type at different angles, avoiding repetition of the exact same muscles from being in the same position.
Studies indicate when employees are comfortable at work, productivity increases. In fact, one report suggested controlling work temperature, lighting and noise levels alone could increase productivity by as much as 14%.
When you have the ability to sit, stand and move your keyboard as your desires and work compel you to, you will naturally be able to get more done.
Believe it or not, your vision is even impacted depending on your keyboard's location.
Ideally, individuals should stay a little over three feet from the screen. Without a keyboard tray or a monstrous-sized desk, this simply isn't possible. However, an ergonomic tray allows you to reach that distance with no sweat.
With over 60% of Americans reporting eye strain from computer use, this is an important topic to keep in mind.
No more awkward poses to reach around your keyboard for that cup of coffee. Now, it can be pushed to the side or slid directly under your desk.
The average person wastes over four hours per week searching for items or paperwork on or at their desks because of clutter. That's a large chunk of time that could be devoted to other things.
A keyboard tray takes away the rectangular space that has to be devoted to the keyboard (and which things mysteriously seem to disappear under). It gives you those four hours back with a quick flourish of the wrist.
Out of sight, out of mind. No more searching for that USB drive that just happened to wedge itself under your mousepad.
Many ergonomic trays today are created so that you can stand or sit while you work. Standing at work in intervals has been shown to decrease weight gain, boost energy and reduce unhealthy blood glucose levels.
Finally, you don't have to break the bank to afford an ergonomic keyboard tray. You can order a simple one for about $50.
That may seem like a lot, but the numerous benefits pay off as soon as you put the new equipment to work.
Ready to Slide, Tilt, and Swivel?
Sure, that old desk with the pull-out drawer will work. But you're not doing your wrist, back, neck, joints or muscles any favors. So do yourself a favor: purchase an ergonomic keyboard tray.
You'll experience more relief at work, better productivity and a much happier body. Take a look at our KT2 for a keyboard tray that can do it all.
You can thank us later.