Five reasons why you should trash your standard flat keyboard once and for all.
For many of us, typing is something we do all day, every day. In fact, most of us type more than we drive, watch TV, talk on the phone, or even eat. But how often do we really think about these seemingly benign, uninteresting contraptions we type on? Shouldn’t we take a closer look? The short answer: Yes, we should. Here’s the long answer.
The fact of the matter is, these standard flat keyboards we type on present a host of health and financial risks to both employees and employers. And few of us are aware of these risks, and how they are damaging our personal health and the health of the companies we work for.
Wait, it’s just a keyboard… It can’t be that bad, can it?
It can be pretty bad. Millions of people every year deal with the physical and mental fallout that comes from hours, days and years spent typing on a traditional keyboard. So while it may look like just an innocent object on your desk, there are many good reasons to dump your standard keyboard in the trash right now, and get something better.
1. Your wrists aren’t flat, so why is your keyboard?
Simply put, a standard flat keyboard is unnaturally shaped. When you type, your wrists don’t bend the way a standard keyboard forces them to. And why would they? After all, the basic design and layout of the keyboard — one of the greatest inventions of the industrial world — really hasn’t changed much since its invention in the 19th century. “Ergonomics” wasn’t exactly top-of-mind back then, we assure you. It turns out there’s a cost to this unnatural design. After all these years, we now know that forcing human hands and wrists into the awkward angles that traditional keyboards require causes a great deal of physical damage over time, some of which can be downright debilitating. Which brings us to our next point…
2. Traditional keyboards lead to RSI’s and CTS
When your muscles and tendons are under pressure for hours each day, they can suffer minor tears and other injuries, which lead to swelling in the area. These types of injuries are called Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSIs. When the swelling pressures the carpal tunnel nerve, it can lead to pain, fatigue, weak grip, and tingling. This is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Left untreated, CTS can require surgery to alleviate these symptoms.
It’s not just Carpal Tunnel either. In the human body, everything is connected. Pain and poor positioning in your wrist can affect your entire forearm, which in turn affects your upper arm, which in turn affects your upper body, neck, and even the cranial muscles around your head. This can cause neck and shoulder aches as well as headaches. And if you’re hunched over that keyboard all day, symptoms only worsen. In this way, a problem that starts small can become very big, very quickly.
3. Your healthy habits shouldn’t be left at home
So many of us have embraced the fact that “healthy living” extends way beyond watching calories. It’s a holistic endeavor that can touch almost every part of our lives. Think of all the things people embrace to stay healthy: We run, bike, lift, stretch, do cardio, crossfit, eat, drink, yoga, meditate — even sleep — with our health in mind.
What do we do when we walk into the office? We leave all of those healthy habits at home, undoing all of that hard work by simply typing on an unhealthy keyboard. Even if you sit in the best chair, work at a standing desk, and run laps around the office every 30 minutes, that flat keyboard is still doing you harm.
4. Injuries keep you from doing what you love to do
Work today doesn’t look anything like it did 50 years ago — or even 10 years ago. We’re more mobile and self-powered than ever before, and we work with a passion. Losing time to injury means losing time to do what you love. From work-related things like writing, programming, and gaming to more meaningful things like kickboxing or playing with your kids. When pain keeps you from your everyday passions, you don’t get to be you — and that’s not fair.
5. Ergonomics keyboards aren’t just smart. They’re cool, too.
Admit it: we love cool office tech. And we love cool health tech, too. We wear it on our wrists, carry it in our pockets. Some of us wouldn’t mind having cool tech implanted in our brains. In this world of increasingly seamless integration between technology and the human mind, why do we spend our days typing away at generic beige clunkers on our desktops? Keyboards are a technology. You deserve ergonomic technology that is just as slick and cool as your other gadgets — and it should benefit you while looking great, too.
1. Slowed productivity
When employees are in pain, their minds aren’t focused on the job. This slows down productivity, increases distraction, and can make work far less efficient.
2. Decreased creativity and innovation
Workers who are in pain aren’t usually in a very creative mood either. Rather, their mentality tends to be more one of “getting by” and survival, (i.e. “I just have to make it through this next day.”) Those aren’t ideal conditions for brainstorming, doing innovative work, or for digging in deep to their work.
3. Workers compensation claims and OSHA fees
Workers compensation claims have been on the rise for white collar workers, and our digital devices have a lot to do with that. The fact is, when businesses don’t provide office workers with top ergonomic equipment, they are opening themselves up to risk of costly workers compensation claims.
What’s more, audits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are simply no fun. They can be costly, too, if you’re not up to code, especially if you wind up with a hefty fine on your hands.
4. High absentee rates
The more pain an employee is in, the more often they’ll need to stay home to rest up. If their injury eventually requires surgery, that can lead to a long absence from the office as well. Teams with missing members are less productive, overworked, and can be resentful of each other, especially when the absent team member has unique expertise.
5. High turnover rates
From a larger wellness perspective, employees who don’t feel like their employers care about them won’t stick around for long. Something as simple as providing the correct ergonomic equipment to improve the way an employee feels at work can change an entire workplace culture. And as we all know, employees who stick around are committed to the company, invested in their work, and dedicated to growing their careers with the same employer. In contrast, companies with high turnover rates must constantly pour money into training and hiring.
Ergonomic keyboards from Goldtouch
Just like exercising and eating right, improving the way we work is all about preventative care. With a Goldtouch keyboard solution, employees and companies can mitigate pain while preventing further problems from developing into big issues.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Standard office equipment can hurt your employees when it forces them to repeatedly move in unnatural ways. Their heads are locked in place to view a monitor. Shoulders, arms and hands roll in and stay uncomfortably stationary. The only movement is stooping, reaching and pounding on the keyboard, punctuated by stretching to use the mouse. They do it for hours, and the strains add up. It’s hard to be creative or innovative when so much of an employee’s attention is focused on their pain.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) are one of the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. They recommend ergonomics to lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number and severity of injuries.
An ergonomic mouse and ergonomic keyboard prevent strain and the resulting injury. If you make decisions for your business, your choice between standard equipment and ergonomic business solutions either safeguards or disregards employee health needs.
Ergonomic Business Solutions and Back Pain
If employees receive a back injury at work, they can’t work and you face worker’s compensation costs. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) provides these surprising facts and statistics:
- Worldwide, back pain is the top causes of disability, preventing people from going to work and engaging in everyday activities.
- Back pain results in around 264 million lost work days a year. That adds up to two work days for every full-time employee.
- Lower back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in healthcare alone. With lost wages and decreased productivity, that number climbs to $100 billion annually.
- Ensuring a workstation is ergonomically correct helps prevent the onset of back pain.
The office equipment you choose could cause or prevent back injury and back pain. Poor posture from using a standard desk and chair causes drooping shoulders, a curved spine and strain in the neck, back and hips. When you choose ergonomic business solutions, you’re doing everything you can to avoid injury and support employee health.
When Stillness is Life-Threatening
If your business requires employees to sit for long periods, it could create an environment of subpar results. Being sedentary for hours changes your metabolism, weaken mental sharpness and creates chronic conditions like the following:
- Obesity – Physical inactivity leads to weight gain. Obesity increases risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other serious medical conditions.
- Heart disease – Research supports a connection between high amounts of sedentary time and coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Diabetes – Physical inactivity puts workers at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You could help your employees achieve their personal best at work with ergonomic business solutions.
It’s All Connected – And Up to You
You may not have realized the possible health risks employees face or how it’s cutting into your bottom line, but you do now. Standard office equipment causes health problems, some of which are life-threatening. Those health problems lead to absenteeism, disengagement, worker’s compensation claims and reduced productivity. All those issues reduce the amount of money your business makes on a daily basis.
“As a Computer Science researcher who works on Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, my career involves heavily using mice and keyboards on a daily basis. Eight years ago, while working at MIT Lincoln Lab, I developed extremely painful repetitive-stress injury pains (ulnar nerve issues with wrist and elbow pains). After months of trying different ergonomic solutions from many companies, I finally tried Goldtouch accessories. I immediately found relief and have used their products ever since (V2 Keyboard and Ergonomic Comfort 24-degree Mouse). Now, as I work long hours trying to finish my PhD at Brown, I rely on Goldtouch to help make thesis writing as pain-free as possible. Truly, if I use a standard mouse or the built-in laptop keyboard for just a few hours, I immediately feel discomfort. For this reason, I love Goldtouch and will continue to recommend them to my friends and colleagues. Thanks!”Chris T.Providence, RI