CAUTION: These 2 popular “Ergonomic Accessories”, desk top risers and key board mechanisms, can put you at risk. Even if you have an adjustable workstation, it does not mean you are free from all ergonomic risk. The correct height of the table, height and position of the keyboard and mouse, monitor(s), phone, etc., are crucial. Often a height-adjustable table is adjusted too high when sitting. This forces elevated shoulders and other awkward postures, which increases the risk for discomfort, fatigue and injury.
- Desktop Risers (Converters/Platforms) – making an “at risk” posture worse.
“Frank Gonzales of Colorado State University has this to say about standing platforms: “…beware of “platforms” and other equipment that sit on the desktop. Although these seem to be a growing trend and are easy to add and certainly allow for both sitting and standing to take place, if the proper adjustments cannot be made to allow for ideal working height for both sitting and standing, awkward postures are likely and risk for discomfort and fatigue increased.”
We’ve learned that standard desks and work surfaces that are normally 29″ above the floor, are too high for anyone under 6′-0″. So, when we place a desktop riser or sit-stand platform, with its keyboard shelf, on top of a desk or work surface, we are, unwittingly, making an “at risk” posture worse. We are forced to compensate by scrunching up our shoulders or raising our chair too high for proper support of our upper thighs. In addition, “sitting” is where we find ourselves the majority of the time – even when we have a sit-stand option.
Ever notice in ads for desktop risers – there is nothing else on the desk. When elevated, desktop risers/sit-stand platforms leave the desk behind, and when standing it’s difficult to reach phones, reference documents, and writing material which are still down on the desk. The desk becomes little more than a “platform stand”. The space we’re left with for our keyboard, mouse and the other stuff that we need close at hand is, well – challenging, to say the least.
Some sit-stand platforms incorporate a keyboard tray that sits below the height of the work surface. This may help alleviate some of the sitting height problem, but it brings into play added concerns regarding “reach zones”.
- Keyboard Mechanisms cause as many problems as they solve
Attaching a height adjustable keyboard tray to the underside of a work surface seems to be a natural solution for getting the keyboard & mouse down to a comfortable position. So why are so many keyboard trays not being used once they are installed?
Keyboard trays, whether they are attached to the underside of our work surface or to a desktop riser, sit in front of the surface of the desk. This pushes us away from our primary and secondary task areas (reach zones). This forces us into twisted postures as we strain for articles that are not within easy reach.
There is a sensible solution – Height Adjustable Desks
Electric height adjustable tables quickly and effortlessly raise from a sitting position to a standing position and back again. This flexibility helps to encourage multiple posture changes throughout the day. Electric height adjustable tables (sit-stand desks) have the added element of being able to be lowered to a comfortable keying posture. This enhances the benefit of the height adjustable keyboard tray by keeping everything else on the same level and within easy reach.
To maximize the ergonomics of your workstation, have a more comfortable reach zone, and improve your office health, contact My Office Planning Group (Jamie, put MOPG contact link here) for a no obligation consultation.