Before I left on holidays, I read an interesting ergonomic assessment from one of our consultants. The worker he assessed worked at a desk that was too high and did not have a pull-out keyboard tray. This is common, but what struck me was that the worker used the small center desk drawer as a keyboard tray. While this was a creative solution, there was not enough room for the mouse. So, she put it up on the high work surface, meaning she had to keep her arm raised while using the mouse. Although she didn’t think this was an issue, the assessment revealed she had early stages of discomfort along her neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Building on Unique Adaptations
What made this assessment interesting to me was the creative ingenuity involved in utilizing the desk drawer as a keyboard tray. The employee recognized the workstation was creating some type of discomfort and experimented with ways to make her work more comfortable, coming up with an inventive solution.
What were her options? A new workstation was already being considered for her, so our consultant made some recommendations to consider before making a purchase:
- Provide a fully adjustable keyboard platform that is no less than 27” in length to keep both the mouse and the keyboard on the tray.
- Lower the desk height 1.5 “ (currently 28.5”) and find alternative storage and desk height options to allow other users to have the desk height adjusted if need be.
- Make sure the opening at the keyboard platform is at least 30” to provide clearance on the left and right sides of the individual’s chair.
Take a look around your office or factory. Have any staff utilized creative ways to work more comfortably? Take note of your observations and build on those ideas to discover a better workstation or solution that has long term positive effects for your new staff down the road.