Seattle, WA: 206-521-5676 Olympia, WA: 360-236-8748 Portland/Salem, OR: 503-768-9742 Arcata, CA: 707-382-2034 Info@SolutionsNW.com
3 Ergonomic Gadgets Every Office Should Try

3 Ergonomic Gadgets Every Office Should Try

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer.” – American Eye-Q 2015

If you’re like most American office workers, you likely spend a lot of time on the computer. In fact, “the average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer” says a 2015 American Eye-Q study.

Working on the computer for extended periods of time can take a toll on your body, especially if you aren’t proactive about researching what tools work best for your workstation.  

While it is always recommended to perform an ergonomics assessment of your workspace, this ergonomics blog will explore a few computer peripherals designed with computer ergonomics in mind.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Trackball Mouse

While no tools provide complete protection from carpal tunnel syndrome, the trackball requires much less movement and is considered by some to be a carpal tunnel relief gadget.

A trackball mouse, like a traditional mouse, is a pointing device. Unlike a traditional mouse, it remains stationary and has a ball on its top or side. In addition to the ball, a trackball commonly has one or more buttons that work like mouse buttons.

Operating the trackball with the three middle fingers reduces two ergonomics risk factors: static gripping and repetitive wrist movement.

Ergonomics experts recommend ambidextrous trackballs with a ball in the center rather than the side to minimize the risk of thumb tendonitis. Below are examples of a few ambidextrous trackballs:

Take a more in depth look at trackballs in our blog about switching to a trackball mouse.

Split Ergonomic Keyboards

There are many varieties of ergonomic keyboards such as split and contoured, but the split keyboard is a great way to reduce muscle strain and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel or other repetitive strain injuries.

Split keyboards that split into independent pieces are sometimes referred to as adjustable split keyboards. This type of split keyboard will allow you to move the keyboard into a comfortable position, allowing one to easily relax the wrist or entire hand.

When a split ergonomic keyboard is needed, we suggest taking a look at our article on the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.

Computer Glasses

You may have never heard of computer glasses, but with digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome being so common in today’s work place, products like computer glasses have started to gain interest among office workers.

Computer glasses look just like regular glasses and are usually around the $50 to $100 price range. Unlike regular glasses, computer glasses are designed with an anti-reflective coating to reduce screen glare and harsh light. Most of these glasses will also filter the blue light that your computer screen emits.

Filtering blue light should reduce negative symptoms of staring at a screen and make it easier to perform your daily computer work. Feeling headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes, or even neck and shoulder pain can be reduced. In fact, your posture may improve as well because you won’t have to hunch closer to the screen as much.

For an in depth look at computer glasses, check out our blog article on the subject.

In conclusion

Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out any possible underlying cause of pain. Whether you decide to try computer glasses, split keyboards, or a trackball mouse, be sure to communicate with your staff or co-workers to see if they’d like to try any of these products.

Additionally, be sure to perform an ergonomics assessment to ensure office safety. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit your ergonomics experts at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

Contact our Experts

What Makes a Mouse or Trackball Ergonomic

What Makes a Mouse or Trackball Ergonomic

What makes a Mouse Ergonomic?

By Janet DeLapp, MS, CDMS, CPDM, CPE and Matt Copeland, BS, CEOE

Have you been using a computer for a long period of time? Chances are yes in this digital world that we all live in. But how does that mouse treat you after you’ve been working for a while? Do you feel discomfort in the wrist, elbow, or shoulder? Chances are you are not using a device designed with ergonomics in mind. Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

What makes something ergonomic?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ergonomics as, “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely”. In this case, designing a device to fit a person properly would be ergonomic. So, what makes a device ergonomic? There are two simple points to consider when riddling whether your device is ergonomic or not: proper fit and placement/posture.

Proper fit: If your device is too big or too small for you, it’s not an ergonomic solution. If your device is too big, then you’re likely engaging the muscles of your hands and arm far more than necessary. Likewise, if your device is too small, you’re likely putting yourself into an awkward posture by holding your hand or fingers precariously to get enough hand/finger real estate on the device to use it.

Placement/Posture: Both are very important and both inform the other. Posture can be tricky as most all of us have developed our normal posture and departing from it can be difficult. Proper ergonomic or “neutral” posture goes like this. Your shoulders should be relaxed with your elbows by your side and bent about 90 degrees. Your wrists should be straight and not bent up or down or in or out. If your device is too far left or right, you are likely causing undue work for your shoulder. If it is too far forward or too close, you may start feeling it from the shoulder all the way to the wrist after extended periods of use.

In conclusion

If it doesn’t fit your hand and you can’t use it without straining your arm or shoulder, it’s probably not the right one, it is not in the correct position, or both. Be sure to consult with your Office Admin or Manager to see about ordering the proper tools and perhaps contacting an expert for a workplace ergonomics assessment.

Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

Kinesis Freestyle Pro Keyboard Review

Kinesis Freestyle Pro Keyboard Review

By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager at Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma Washington, California, and Oregon.

I’m a fan of the Kinesis Freestyle2 ergonomic keyboard, so when the new Kinesis Freestyle Pro mechanical/programmable ergonomic keyboard came out, I tested it out. In addition to having all the features of the Freestyle2, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro is fully on-board programmable and has low-force tactile Cherry MX brown mechanical key switches. Low force means that there is less force required to type. A tactile response reduces impact to the tips of the fingers.

One cool thing about the Pro is that while the basic configuration has 12″ of cable separating between the two sides of the keyboard, this can be adjusted. The cable compartment cover on the back of the left side can be removed, and additional length of cable can be pulled out up to 20″. Pictures of this are below.

Although they look similar, the VIP3 and V3 tenting accessories for the Freestyle2 do not fit the Pro. The VIP3 Pro (includes palm supports) and V3 Pro (does not include palm supports) are made for the Pro. They attach to the keyboard easily when following the included instructions. The tent setting adjustments are 5, 10, and 15 degrees on both the VIP3 Pro and V3 Pro. The VIP3 Pro is shown below with the different tenting angles. The V3 Pro accessory looks exactly the same, except it does not have the palm supports.

 

5 degrees of tenting

10 degrees of tenting

15 degrees of tenting

Hot keys on the Pro are desktop, last app, select all, undo, cut, delete, and copy & paste. Hot keys reduce mouse clicks as well as other repetitive and awkward movement of the hands.

When a split programmable ergonomic keyboard is needed, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a good choice.

For more ergonomics tips, visit SolutionsNW.com and subscribe to our blog.

SolutionsNW.com  provides work place and ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., an ergonomics assessment provider located in Seattle, Kent, Renton, Tacoma, Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

Freestyle Pro (PC & Mac)Mechanical / Programmable

Pin It on Pinterest