The habits about posture that you might have heard in typing class are true as well. And for the record, I took typing in junior high and high school rather than shop, and I’ve never looked back in regret. I might not know how to use a saber saw very well, but I seldom feel pain from spending hours writing or playing Battlefield 2 on the PC. My point is that you shouldn’t slouch, and when using a computer, your monitor should be at eye level. More importantly you shouldn’t let your wrists droop. This is where troubles can start and pain can take root.
For this reason I swear by a wrist rest for my mouse hand. Some ergonomic experts would say that using a rest actually encourages users to bend their wrist, but I positioned it to keep my wrist completely level, and this is good for Web surfing or even playing a computer game where most of the action is controlled through the mouse.
And when it comes to typing, I swear by those natural keyboards. The split keyboard may look confusing, and if you have to hunt and peck at it, the confusion can grow. But it really has helped me.
I personally love the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, yet I have a big complaint. For reasons I don’t understand why the keyboard—and this is true of most keyboards, normal or ergonomic—includes riser tabs that allow you to lift the back of the device. This creates a ramp, as if your fingers were going to run up the keyboard and be launched into the monitor. Most experts I’ve spoken with say that the keyboard should be flat, and I actually chose to rest the entire keyboard on my laptop trays wrist rest. The result is that the keyboard is nearly flat with only a slight downward grade away from my body. This position forces me to keep my wrists level and deters any limp wrists even after hours of typing.
My final ergonomic item is my chair. While it is easy for a home office user to run to Staples and buy a $100 chair, or even a $300 “executive” model in leather (or more likely faux leather), I swear by my Herman Miller Aeron Chair. This might be the best move I ever made when it came to my home office. The chairs are totally adjustable with adequate support for the lower back. And while they’re not cheap, even after nearly a decade, they’re worth every penny. If you’re going to splurge on one item for your small business I say get a good comfortable chair!
The bottom line is that if you spend a lot of time at a computer you should invest the time and money to make sure you are comfortable. This can really make the difference in your work performance, but also ensure you don’t suffer an injury. While it might be hard to believe that a chair or properly placed keyboard can make a difference, there are plenty of workers who suffered repetitive stress injuries that wish it didn’t!