TYPING AND ERGONOMICS – WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
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Do you ever think about the way you position your body as you type? Many of us will have heard about repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Often, when it comes to typing, it is not until the first signs of pain or discomfort that we consider what we are doing and how it may be impacting on our comfort. When you break your day down, do you spend a high proportion of your time typing? If so, learning about correct ergonomic typing position and technique is important for you. Prevention of issues is always the best approach!
POSITION OF YOUR KEYBOARD FOR TYPING
When discussing typing and ergonomics, correct placement of your keyboard is the first consideration. Your keyboard should be flat on the desk or sloping gently away from you. Place your keyboard just below elbow level, from here, you should be able to comfortably place your hands over your keyboard with yo ur elbows close to your body and at 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders and elbows relaxed here. Position the the keyboard directly in front of you, this is to reduce the need to rotate your body as you type.
A common mistake when placing your keyboard - Keyboard too far away.
In this posture, you will put excessive strain on your upper back, neck, and shoulders.
YOUR HAND, WRIST AND FINGER POSITION AS YOU TYPE
Over time, an awkward position of the hand and wrist may cause stress and strain and potentially lead to injuries. Good typing ergonomics can keep you productive and pain-free as you work.
In the above positions, the wrist is bent towards the thumb or towards the little finger. Sometimes keyboard size can have an impact on this, for example, a larger keyboard may cause you to bend your wrist towards the little finger more. Watch out for this and take note of your typical hand and wrist position.
Correct typing position is where your neck and shoulders are relaxed, elbows are by your sides at a 90-degree angle. From here, your hands and wrists should be straight or neutral such as this image.
You shouldn’t have to reach for your keyboard. Position your keyboard so you can type comfortably while sitting in a chair with your back supported.
TIPS WHEN TYPING
- When typing, keep your fingers relaxed.
- Type lightly, it is more efficient and will prevent your fingers from getting tired. Don't bang on the keyboard!
- Keep your wrists straight, not flexed upwards or downwards.
- Resist resting your wrists on the desk, keep your wrist and forearm floating as you type.
- Keep both feet flat on the floor. Use a footrest if needed.
- If you use a wrist pad, push it flush against the keyboard, and only use it when resting. Do not use it while you type.
- Consider using keyboard shortcuts to repeat common tasks.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows close to your body.
Try to incorporate this simple forearm and wrist stretch into your daily routine.
- Place your right arm out in front of you with your elbow straight and palm facing down.
- Move your wrist to make a ‘stop’ sign with your hand.
- Use your left hand to put some pressure on.
- Hold for 30 seconds or more.
- Turn your forearm over so that your palm is facing up, now move your wrist so the palm faces you.
- Use your left hand to put on some pressure. Hold for 30 seconds or more.
- Repeat both with the left side.
WHAT IS A SPLIT OR ERGONOMIC KEYBOARD?
Have you seen a colleague use a split keyboard and wondered why? Split or ergonomics keyboards divide the keyboard into two halves, each of which points slightly outwards. This outward angle lets your wrists and forearms point inward without requiring your elbows to come in as far. The idea of ergonomic keyboards is to allow your upper limbs to maintain a neutral position. If you have a tendency to twist your wrists and rest your forearms as you type, remember that equipment alone may not solve this, follow the tips above.
Remember that one size does not fit all. No matter which keyboard is comfortable for you to type with, where it is placed and how you use it makes a difference!
ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY
To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave. We also conduct customised ergonomic trainings to help your employees learn more about ergonomics best practices.