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Posted on 06-28-2016

While we often think about ergonomics as an office issue it is also important to consider your home ergonomics if you spend significant time working from home.  Working from home presents more options such as working in bed and on smaller screens such as tablets. A recent study looked at some of these options to try to find the best keyboard and location to avoid neck, wrist and elbow pain. 

The  study looked at typing on a tablet PC, which allowed people to work in non-traditional settings. As screen size reduced, the posture required to type became more limited and accelerated the usual rate of pain onset in the neck, elbows, and wrists.

This study also looked at three different positions used when working on touch-screen devices: desk, lap, and bed. The healthy subjects completed six, 60-minute typing sessions using three virtual keyboard designs: standard, wide, and split. The researchers monitored the position of the wrist, elbow, and neck while the participants typed and followed up each session with questionnaires designed to measure discomfort.

The research team reported that typing in bed required greater wrist extension but resulted in a more natural elbow position than typing at a desk. The angled split keyboard significantly reduced the wrist deviation vs. the standard or wide keyboard designs. All three regions—the neck, elbow, and wrist—exhibited more movements (13% to 38%) towards the end of the one hour sessions, which correlated with a significant increase in pain in every body region investigated. Overall, using a wider keyboard while sitting at a desk was the most tolerable position among study participants.

The one thing missing from this study is to add standing work stations to the mix.  I believe this would be better than sitting at a desk.  

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