The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Ergonomic Tools That Change The Way You Work
There are lots of ways you can improve your work environment, from a refreshed and dressed-up cube to more healthful lunches and regular breaks but one change that will absolutely revolutionize your work day? Ergonomic tools.
For starters, ergonomic equipment is good for your health. It affects the way your hands and arms work and reduces repetitive injuries as well as stress.
Every piece of ergonomic equipment has particular design elements that will make it work better for your individual circumstance. Once you’ve selected the best one for you, there are guidelines to using ergonomic elements, too.
The mouse is a good example. From its grip to its buttons, an ergonomic mouse will work with the natural design of your hand. There are several different types of mouse, and you should try each one before committing to a version. Then, there are ways that you can choose to use the mouse that can help your body work in tandem with it—ensuring lots of room, the tilt of your wrist.
Another essential element for an ergonomic work place? A keyboard. Again, as with the mouse, there are different setups and types of an ergonomic keyboard, as well as tips to use it optimally.
Use this graphic as a good starting point to revamp your approach to keyboard, mouse, and other pieces of ergonomic office equipment.
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That change the way you work
Research shows good equipment can help eliminate many postural risks associated with computer use.
Ergonomic mice and keyboards are designed to put people in am ore neutral position which:
- Improves hand, wrist, and arm comfort
- Reduces strain
- Helps prevent and alleviate long-term repetitive stress injuries
The key to more ergonomic keyboard and mouse use is to keep the arms straight out in front of the body, rather than with elbows bowed out and wrists at an unnatural angle.
TIPS FOR USING AN ERGONOMIC MOUSE.
Choose a mouse that:
- First your hand
- Maintains a neutral positioning of the hand and wrist
- Has buttons that neither cramp the fingers nor spreads them out too far apart
- Has buttons that respond to a light torch, so you don’t have to press too hard to make it work
- Is the right size to support the natural curve of your hand
- Hold the mouse gently.
- Use your elbow as a pivot point and keep your wrist straight and neutral.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on the blood vessels near the skin at the wrist (where we often take our pulse).
- Avoid restricting arm movement, which can encourage flicking of the wrist.
- Choose a mouse design that fits your hand but is as flat as possible to reduce wrist extension.
- Make sure there is plenty of room for the mouse to move.
- If possible, use the mouse for some time in each hand.
- Good for people who spend more than a few hours a day on a computer
- Reduces the strain on your hands and wrist tendons by eliminating the “claw” or “clamp” grip
- Creates a more neutral “handshake” grip
- Good for workstations with limited space
- Uses a ball to move the cursor, which allows the arm and hand to be held in one place
- Keeps the hand and wrist in a neutral position
- Promotes the use of larger muscles of the arm and shoulder
- Allows the user to do most tasks with hands at the midline of the body
- Reduces strain on the shoulders
Ergonomic Keyboard Options
TIPS FOR USING A COMPUTER KEYBOARD:
- Keep the keyboard directly in front of you with the “B” key as the center point
- Situate the mouse as close to the keyboard as possible
- Tilt the keyboard back 10 degrees so your wrists remain flat
- Adjust your chair with your arms bent at or near a 90-degree angle so the wrists don’t bend when typing
- Consider a desk with a keyboard tray
- Wide and deep, so good for people with broader shoulders and/or longer arms
- Offers a similar feel and layout to conventional keyboards
- Good for people with large upper body mass and/or short arms
- Typically good for travel
- Offers neutral wrist alignment
- Accommodates a wide range of body types
- Good for people with small to medium frames, people who have limited workspace, or for travel
- Reduces reach to mouse
- Allows for best use of space when on the go
- Good for people who enter data frequently
- Allows for less wrist movement than entering data on a conventional keyboard
Correct placement — plus the right ergonomic keyboard and mouse — can help reduce strain, pain, and discomfort while you work.
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