Selecting the right keyboard is an important part of designing your computer workstation. If you have the wrong keyboard setup right now, your aching hands and wrists likely agree with the previous statement.
Of course, there is no one size fits all solution and there are many considerations for finding the right keyboard for you.
According to OSHA’s Computer Workstation etool, the basics are always the same:
- The keyboard should be directly in front of you.
- Your shoulders should be relaxed and your elbows close to your body.
- Your wrists should be straight and in line with your forearms.
The idea is to get your wrists in a neutral posture which puts the least amount of stress and strain on your body. To accomplish this, you’ll need to consider keyboard height, keyboard distance and the overall design of the keyboard.
Keyboard Placement – Height:
If the keyboard is too low, you’ll have to compensate by bending your wrists upward. If the keyboard is too high, you’ll have to compensate by raising your shoulders to elevate your arms. To get the keyboard at the right height, adjust your work surface and your office chair so that your elbows are at about the same height as the keyboard and your shoulders are relaxed. Your wrists should be in a neutral posture.
If your work surface and office chair can’t be adjusted to this position, you may need to use a keyboard tray. Be sure the keyboard tray is adjustable in height and tilt and provides adequate room for your legs to fit comfortably underneath it.
Keyboard Placement – Distance:
If the keyboard is too close or too far away from you, it will cause you to compensate and creates awkward postures. The keyboard should be directly in front of you at a distance that allows your elbows to stay close to your body with your forearms and wrists parallel to the ground.
Design and Use:
Keyboard design, size and tilt should all be considered when selecting a keyboard. As mentioned earlier, there is no one-size fits all approach. For more on selecting the right keyboard, see the videos below created by Steve Meagher of Site Solutions.
Video: Choosing a Keyboard
Video: All About Keyboard Trays
Get Up and Move!
Designing your computer workstation to allow for good posture is important, but so is making sure you get up and move during the day. Take frequent stretch and movement breaks throughout the day to get your blood moving.
Keyboard Articles and Resources
Check out the links below for more information and guidance on selecting and using a keyboard:
- Ideal Typing Posture: Negative Slope Keyboard Support
- CUErgo Keyboard Research
- Ergonomic Keyboard + Mouse System Evaluation Form
- Proper Keyboard Selection
- Computer Keyboard Design
Grab a free copy of our office ergonomics checklist
For more on how to set up your office workstation, grab a free copy of our office ergonomics checklist.