Do your employees spend a lot of time at their computers? At this point, who doesn’t?
If you’re serious about improving employee productivity, it might be time to consider upgrading to ergonomic keyboards. Ergonomic desk accessories help reduce repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel and other musculoskeletal disorders.
They also improve worker comfort and efficiency. After all, no one is able to give 100% when pain starts creeping into their everyday workplace experience. You might even notice an improvement in the general morale around the office when you improve your employees' comfort level.
One of the most overlooked and underrated tools for improving employee productivity and health is the ergonomic keyboard arm. But how do you know what's considered ergonomic, and what's not? And, which ergonomic option is best for your office?
Ergonomic vs. Non-Ergonomic Keyboard Trays
Standard desks are simply too tall or short for some people to type comfortably. The classic and unassuming articulating keyboard arm to the rescue! Unfortunately, non-ergonomic keyboard tray mechanisms often have the same "Goldilocks" problem -- they’re either too high or too low.
An adjustable ergonomic keyboard tray mechanism performs an important service. It allows your employees to properly align their arms, wrists, and hands no matter how tall (or short) they are. The adjustability ensures your employees will be more comfortable while also receiving the ergonomic benefits.
In lieu of a tray, you may also opt for a keyboard arm clamp. This mechanism is mounted directly to the keyboard arm. Clamps aren’t quite as popular today because recent keyboard designs have gotten so slim that it’s becoming hard to clamp anything onto them.
Choosing the Best Ergonomic Keyboard Tray Mechanism
Once you've decided to take the plunge on an ergonomic desk setup, there are several questions you should ask a supplier:
- What material is it made of?
- What features does it have?
- What will it cost?
Are Certain Materials Better Than Others?
To help them stand up to the heavy use they'll get in a busy workplace, your new ergonomic keyboard tray mechanism should be:
- Easy to clean
These keyboard trays are available in a variety of materials to match your office aesthetic. Material choices range from steel and phenolic-type material to wood or bamboo.
The latter choices are gaining in popularity because they are "green." However, don't expect them to hold up as well as the stronger and more durable steel or phenolic products.
Whichever material you choose, you'll want to avoid VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can affect indoor air quality. These toxic fumes can cause both short- and long-term health problems for those exposed to them.
What Are the Most Important Features?
Ergonomic keyboard tray sets for desks should give employees the ability to change keyboard positions as needed. Regular changes in position can fend off fatigue and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Palm rests that provide wrist support are also helpful in preventing this common workplace injury.
Important questions to ask:
- Is the ergonomic keyboard tray mechanism VESA compatible for easy installation?
- Will the desk support the weight of the platform and keyboard?
- Can you lift, tilt, or swivel the keyboard to a more comfortable position?
- Can the mousing surface be moved as needed?
- If the tray has a separate mouse platform, does that platform have a rail or “fence” to keep it from falling?
- Does it slide under the desk when more desktop space is needed?
- Does it leave a comfortable amount of legroom under the desk?
What Affects the Price?
As with any other ergonomic office equipment or furniture, the price is dependent on the quality of the material and construction, as well as any added features. You can expect to pay substantially more for an adjustable steel keyboard tray with a fully customizable mouse pad than for a less sturdy and more basic bamboo setup.
Choose an ergonomic keyboard that balances your budget with the performance your users deserve.
Finding the Best Ergonomic Workstation Accessories
Look for an ergonomic keyboard/mouse setup that's sturdy, durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. The best models will also be adjustable enough to match the unique needs of each of your employees.
The free office manager's e-guide below can help you choose the best ergonomic office equipment for not just keyboards, but also desks, monitors, mouse trays, and more: