One of the biggest problems that people in an office environment complain about include eyesight and posture problems. There are cases where the muscle tissue in the wrists, arms and back might be strained due to repetitive motion or staying in one position for too long. Bright lights from a computer monitor can also cause trouble for the viewer’s eyes.
In this case, buying ergonomically correct equipment, like monitors, keyboards and mice, is important in maintaining a good posture and comfortable working environment.
Monitor. Old-school CRT monitors should be fitted with UV filters, to prevent too much radiation from reaching the eyes. As the price of LCD monitors has drastically dropped, these are usually recommended when buying new computers. A flat screen reduces strain and also gives better image reproduction, especially when working on pictures and graphics.
When working on a computer, the monitor should be at a distance of 18 to 24 inches from your eyes. The monitor should also be at eye level, so you don’t strain yourself looking up or down. In the case of laptop computers, the monitor should be angled upward, so that you are directly looking onto it. However, this position usually results in strain on the shoulders and neck.
Keyboard. As far as the keyboard is considered, there are differing opinions on the positioning of the keyboard. Most are inclined, which allow for better visual access. However, touch typists prefer keyboards that are flatter, because these don’t require the typist to flex the wrist upward too much. A flat keyboard reduces strain on the wrist. However, if you are on the keyboard for extended periods of time, make sure your computer has a comfortable wrist-rest. Some keyboards come with wrist-rests as attachments.
Most laptop computers also situate the keyboard toward the rear of the computer, near the screen, so as to provide a comfortable resting area for the wrist. Some third-party manufacturers also sell soft wrist-rests for desktop computers. A wireless keyboard can also provide better comfort if you can situate it on your lap, which provides for a more natural typing position.
Mouse. The choice of what kind of mouse to use is often a subjective matter. Choose a mouse that is sized just right. An adult might prefer a regular-sized mouse, while a child would be most comfortable with a miniature mouse. Choose a mouse that fits the curvature of your hand comfortably. When using a mouse, move your entire arm, and not just your wrists, which helps prevent repetitive stress injuries.
Most laptop computers come with built in touchpads. As with typing on a keyboard, it’s a good idea to use a wrist rest when using the touchpad. These are not meant for extended use, though, and if you are on your desk at the office or home, ergonomics experts usually suggest plugging in an external mouse, which can help reduce strain.
Some companies like Logitech www.logitech.com, Genius www.geniusnet.com and even Microsoft www.microsoft.com sell ergonomic keyboards and mice as a package. These are meant to replace the stock keyboard and mouse often sold with desktop computer packages.
Whether you work at the office, or you’re a student who likes chatting with classmates and friends, using an ergonomic keyboard, mouse and monitor helps reduce strain and stress caused by repetitive movements and sitting down in front of a monitor for hours. These are a good investment, since they prevent health problems that might be costly and painful.