Whether you are trying to prevent a future ailment, be more productive, or rehab an existing injury, the sooner you invest in an ergonomic set up for your computer workstation the better. It’s never too early or too late to start thinking about how to care for yourself while you work or play. That’s because even a short amount of time with the wrong set up typing on a keyboard can lead to uncomfortableness in the wrists or a slight pain in the neck.
But for people who are new to ergonomics, how do you know where to start when choosing what to change with your workstation? With so many different products out there, it can seem overwhelming. And since this is an investment, and we’re not all made out of money, not everyone can immediately buy a complete set that might include an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, monitor arms, wrist rests and more.
If that’s the situation you find yourself in, here are some tips to keep in mind to decide what is the first ergonomic product you should purchase. The key is to not overthink it. If the main reason you are looking to change your workstation set up to one that is more ergonomic is because you have experienced pain or suffered an injury from your current set up, look to address that issue first.
Do one or both of your wrists hurt? Examine the amount of typing and mousing you do on a regular basis. Also determine if one wrist is in more pain than the other. If you use your mouse quite often, and it’s your mouse hand that seems to be hurting the most, look to invest in an ergonomic mouse. A properly designed mouse will give your wrists and musculoskeletal system all of the support they need so that you can avoid pain and fatigue and stay focused at work.
If you don’t use your mouse too much, and both wrists seem to be in the same amount of pain, starting with an ergonomic keyboard is probably for you. The right keyboard will adjust to you instead of forcing you to adjust to it. This will allow you to straighten you wrists, arms and shoulders while you type away.
Do you have a pain in your neck? Do you find yourself hunching over quite often while working on your computer? If this is the case we would recommend investing in equipment that will change the height of the screen you most often work at. For laptop and tablet users, that would stand that can change the angle and increase the height of the screen. For desktop system users that would be a monitor arm that attaches to your desks and allows you to control the height of the screen so you don’t have the hunch over.
Or are you lucky enough to not currently be dealing with pain caused by working on your computer? Are you trying to be proactive with preventing a repetitive strain injury? In this case we typically recommend an ergonomic keyboard as a great first place to start. Not only have studies shown that people who use ergonomic keyboards are more productive, but using one can help prevent the aches in the hands, wrists and forearms that are some of the most common complaints from people who work at a desk. And those symptoms can be precursors to serious injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
We’re happy for you that you are taking the time to invest in a set up that will lead you to being healthier and more productive. Even if you can’t completely change your workstation all at once, starting with one change will put you on the path you are looking to take.