Most office jobs today require the workers to stay seated before their computers and type away all day long. You may not find anything wrong in having to sit and type for several hours straight every day but did you know this sitting and typing can put you at the risk of numerous health problems like Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)?
Not many individuals are mindful of their posture while at work. Mostly, they’re seated at the edge of their office chair, with slumped shoulders, slouched in front of the computer or they may be seated in a way that they’re literally sitting on their spine instead of the buttocks. Even if workers are sitting properly, they’re seldom aware of the correct typing posture. Oh wait, is typing posture a thing too?
You might be surprised to know that there’s a correct and incorrect posture for typing as well and typing in the correct posture is as important as sitting or doing anything in the right posture.
If you had never heard of typing posture before and it’s something you would like to know more about, you’ve landed yourself at the right spot.
Typing Ergonomics – Is it a Thing?
Ergonomics is the science focused on finding the absolute best way a person uses the work tools at work. It correlates how the way a person goes about using the tools at work affects their health and overall wellbeing. Ergonomics revolves around the posture a person is sitting or standing while at work, the equipment they use, the way they use the equipment, and even the office lighting. All of these factors affect the physical wellbeing of workers and if that’s not well taken care of, it’ll eventually have an impact on the psychological health and thereby, the productivity and efficiency of the employees.
Now, when we say ergonomics is focused on the posture of the workers at work, it also includes the posture in which an individual types. Typing ergonomics includes placing the wrists and keyboard at the correct positions to minimize the stress and strain on the wrists, fingers, and arms. If you aren’t mindful of the typing ergonomics, you’re at a higher risk of developing serious health conditions which can be very painful and can impair your ability to work at the best of your potential.
Identifying Poor Typing Ergonomics
You’ll only be able to correct your typing posture if you’re aware of your incorrect practices. You may not even know that you’ve been typing in the wrong posture all along. Below are some poor typing ergonomic practices that you mustn’t be doing at all.
Leaning on Your Hand or Wrist’s Heel
Are the heels of your hands resting on the keyboard right now? If yes, you’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t be leaning on the heels of your wrists or hands while typing because that can stretch your Carpal Tunnel nerve and increase the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Not Taking Breaks
If you keep typing for several hours without taking a break, you’ve got to do something about it. If you don’t take breaks between typing, you’re letting your hands stay in the same posture for extended periods and that can make your hand muscles stiff. When the muscles of your hand stiffen, you’ll feel pain in your hands and wrists and typing would become difficult.
You Hit the Keyboard too Hard
It’s natural to get carried away while you’re typing. If you type too hard on the keyboard, you’ve got to stop right now and change the way you type. The fingertips you feel get sore at the end of the day is because you’re hitting the keyboard too hard.
Your Keyboard is Lower than the Mouse
Your keyboard and mouse should be placed at the same level. If the keyboard is at a lower level than the mouse, it’ll put a strain on your hands and will increase the risk of pain and injuries.
Why are Typing Ergonomics So Important?
Ergonomists put a lot of stress on typing ergonomics. You may wonder what can possibly go wrong if you aren’t typing in the correct posture. Well, there’s a lot that can happen. Continue reading ahead to know.
This is the most common Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) that’s associated with improper typing ergonomics. Typing the most frequently done repetitive movement and if you’re keeping your wrists flexed while you type, there’s a definite chance that you’ll suffer from wrist strain in the near future. When you type, your tendons are constantly on the move (back and forth). This movement creates considerable friction and can cause microtrauma. If that happens, your wrists will hurt and if you don’t do something about it, you may not be able to type at all.
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Another major health risk of poor typing ergonomics is shoulder and neck pain. You might not even know that you’re putting a lot of strain on your shoulders and neck when you’re typing. It’s only after hours of typing that you feel your shoulders and neck stiffening. That’s because you’ve been typing in the wrong posture all along. If your keyboard is placed at a distance, you’ll have to fold your shoulders inwards to reach the keyboard. If your monitor screen is far away and your keyboard is closer, you’ll have to crane your neck to see the screen clearly. Both of these postures are incorrect. They’ll put stress on your upper body, specifically around the shoulders, neck, and upper back. Continuing working in this posture will lead to misalignment of your upper body, which can have lasting consequences.
Proper Typing Ergonomics
Who knew poor typing ergonomics could result in such long-lasting health problems? Now that you know, it’s time you learn proper typing ergonomics and save yourself from the risks of poor typing ergonomics.
Place Your Wrists Right
Your wrists should be placed in a neutral position. They shouldn’t be bent; neither up nor down. If your keyboard is placed at a higher level than the wrists, you’ll automatically extend your wrists to reach the keyboard. If the keyboard is placed too close to your body, you’ll naturally shrug your shoulders, close your elbows, and flex your wrists. All of these positions are wrong. Your wrists and the keyboard must be at the same level on the same plane so that they aren’t bent.
Place Your Keyboard Right
The way you place your keyboard will affect your wrist placement. So, the position of the keyboard and wrists go together. You’ve got to make sure your keyboard is placed right to ensure your wrists are placed right. Place your keyboard such that it’s just below the elbows. It should be flat on your desk. You can even set it to a slightly sloped position (away from you). Your elbows must be at an angle of 90 to 110 degrees. This position will ensure that your shoulders and forearms are relaxed. Your best bet is to invest in an ergonomic keyboard that features a unique design, ensuring the correct placement of wrists and fingers. Make sure your keyboard is placed such that your arms and elbows are at your sides, with arms at an angle of 90 degrees or less.
How to Ensure Proper Typing Ergonomics
If you want to save yourself from the painful consequences of incorrect typing posture, you’ve got to ensure you’re typing in the correct posture. There’s a wide range of ergonomic products available in the market today that can help you attain the correct typing posture. Below are some tips that can help you a great deal.
Use an Ergonomic Keyboard
An ergonomic keyboard is one of the best investments that you can make for yourself. It features a specialized design. Ergonomic keyboards aren’t like regular keyboards. They’re divided into two separate sections, each at a different angle that facilitates the user to keep their hands at just the right angles. They also have wrists pads to support the wrists and prevent wrist strain. If you use a laptop to work, there’s nothing that you can do to bring it closer to your body or move it further. However, using an external ergonomic keyboard can help you do everything right.
Use a Laptop Tray
Most people today use their laptops for work. A common practice is to keep the laptop on the lap and work in comfort. However, we’re sorry to disappoint you here. You may think you’re in comfort when you really aren’t. Ideally, your laptop should be elevated enough to ensure the top line of the screen is just below your eye level. If you place the laptop on your knees, the screen will be well below eye level. You’ll have to bend your neck down and that’ll cause strain in the neck and shoulders. Your keyboard will also be at your knees in this case and your elbows will be bent inwards while you type. To ensure you’re sitting and typing in the correct posture, invest in an adjustable laptop tray that allows you to adjust the level of the screen and the keyboard as per your comfort and ergonomics.
Use an Ergonomic Chair
An ergonomic chair with armrests ensures that your elbows are supported while you type and thereby, there’s no strain on your elbows or arms while you type. Ergonomic chairs by FlexiSpot are leading the way in this domain. One of the best options for you to ensure proper typing posture is the Ergonomic Office Chair OC3B.
A little mindfulness today will go a long way. By ensuring correct typing ergonomics, you save yourself from all the risks of developing any health conditions that might impair your ability to work at 100% efficiency.