Ergonomic Tip of the Month: Work Surface or Keyboard Tray?
-by Kim Granata-Clark, MS in Human Factors and Ergonomics, Ergonomic Specialist
Do you use your keyboard and mouse on the keyboard tray or on the work surface? Is your keyboard on your keyboard tray and your mouse on the work surface? Are you having any neck, shoulder, or wrist discomfort?
If you choose to use your keyboard and mouse on the work surface, you need to raise yourself so your resting elbow height bent at 90 degrees needs to match the height of your work surface. Place your elbows close to your body, bend your elbows at 90 degrees, and when you put your palms down, your keyboard and mouse should be at that height. If this is not the case, you might be raising your shoulders slightly to use your keyboard and mouse. If your feet are dangling after you have raised yourself in your chair, use a footrest or something under your feet for support while working on the computer.
If you are using a keyboard tray, again your keyboard tray should be at your elbow height or slightly lower if you are a touch typist (don’t look at the keys when typing). The keyboard tray should be at your elbow height and the work surface should be 1-2” higher than your elbow height so you are more comfortable when reviewing paperwork on the work surface.
The keyboard and mouse should both be on the keyboard tray or work surface, not split between them. This should reduce any neck, shoulder, or wrist discomfort.