I am no stranger to working from home; in fact, I was working two days a week from home even before the pandemic forced many of us to strictly avoid the office. So I’ve had a decent home office setup for a long time – a standing desk, a second monitor hooked up to my laptop, and a decent office chair. What didn’t bother me was a dedicated keyboard and mouse, instead of the laptop’s built-in keyboard and trackpad, which worked well … in pain.
To be fair, muscle issues weren’t new – I have suffered from chronic back muscle contraction for quite some time. Using the laptop’s keyboard and trackpad exacerbated the problem until it became a deep burning sensation in the right shoulder joint.
As reluctant as I was to change the setup I was so used to, something had to be done – and so I introduced an ergonomic keyboard and vertical mouse into my life. By the third day of using both, the burn I was feeling in my right shoulder was all but gone.
There is a lot of debate about whether an ergonomic setup is really beneficial – some swear by it (especially companies trying to promote these products), while others think they are overrated. I’m taking the middle lane: The keyboard and mouse didn’t cure my repetitive strain injuries (RSI) – far from it – but they made my day-to-day functioning much more comfortable and I’ll be happy to extol the virtues of the keyboard. and ergonomic mice for anyone who wants to listen.
I will also be the first to admit that it may not be for everyone. But if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve the comfort of your home office, it’s definitely worth considering.
To go ergonomic or not to go ergonomic …
The problem with getting an ergonomic keyboard is that there are different types, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s not easy to figure out which one is right for you, especially when you can’t go to a store to try one on.
I’ve spent days researching arm and wrist placement on different types of ergonomic keyboards to see which one would (in theory) help the shoulder joint the best. I ended up choosing the Logitech Ergo K860 Wireless Split Keyboard – it’s also the model we consider to be the best ergonomic keyboard here at TechToSee.
And since I wasn’t sure if it was the laptop keyboard or the use of the trackpad that was causing my discomfort, I decided that I might as well buy an ergonomic mouse and for that I chose the mouse. wireless Logitech MX Vertical.
Honestly, I can’t say if it was the new split keyboard, vertical mouse, or a combination of the two that worked for me, but the pain that no amount of physical therapy could fix apparently went away within days. Clearly, the investment was worth it.
Another factor to consider when purchasing ergonomic accessories is compatibility. Most ergonomic keyboards work remarkably well with Windows machines, even offering additional feature keys that make the job easier. If you are a macOS user, you should make sure that there are drivers that you can use.
That said, there are plenty of ergonomic wireless keyboards and mice that work well with both operating systems (sometimes even without dedicated drivers). My two new accessories instantly connected to my MacBook via Bluetooth, but they required the Logi Options app to be installed to convert them from their default Windows configuration in order to work properly with macOS.
Another reason I opted for this particular Logitech keyboard is that it uses the company’s PerfectStroke keys, which doesn’t require a lot of effort and therefore helps reduce strain on fingers and wrists. Additionally, the dome-shaped split keyboard design ensured that my arms were well placed, forcing me to sit in a certain way and thus improving my posture.
When it comes to the mouse, the Logitech MX Vertical is an odd device to say the least, but this bulging boat-like shape works in its favor. The “sail” (or vertical) portion that rises from the main body is tilted slightly to the left, providing a remarkably large and comfortable thumb rest, while the opposite side of the vertical rise leaves enough room for it. rest of your fingers. Interestingly, the way your fingers are intuitively placed is pretty much perfect, with the index and middle fingers on the left and right buttons, respectively, and the scroll wheel in the middle.
The amount of finger movement required to operate this mouse is the bare minimum. And don’t be fooled by its size – the mouse is extremely light, so moving it around is effortless.
It’s not all sun and daisies with my new ergonomic setup though. It cost me a pretty penny – most ergonomic keyboards and mice are a huge investment – and it took me days to get used to the split keyboard.
Typing at my usual speed initially resulted in so many typos that I was forced to slow down and watch what I was doing which affected my productivity and triggered some neck aches because I kept looking up. the bottom.
I’ve had the keyboard for about four months now and I’m still getting used to it. Although I have become faster at typing – making fewer typos and not watching too much what I do – like most people, I am not a skilled typist, and the old muscle memory is still up. my fingers in the wrong place. sometimes. For example, my thumbs sometimes still end up in the empty space between the two halves of the keyboard when I search for the G, B and N keys, and I always press the Fn key instead of Opt / Ctrl on the right side of the keyboard.
Even the vertical mouse took some investment time on my part to get used to. It’s quite big and my hands are small. Adapting a trackpad to a classic Apple Bluetooth mouse and then to the larger MX Vertical was not so easy. A few weeks after using it, it seemed like the most natural thing to hold, but I have to use my middle finger to scroll because its longer length reaches the scroll wheel more easily.
Although I claim that the two new accessories have improved my daily work, I can still feel my neck and shoulders complaining every now and then. It’s important to remember that ergonomic keyboards and mice aren’t a cure – they’re preventative, provided you’ve found the right one for you. The damage to my muscles has been done – the keyboard and mouse help reduce other problems and give the body a chance to heal itself.
And they don’t work independently. You still need a good chair to maintain your posture and make sure your arms and knees are parallel to the floor – this is the entire setup that can help relieve the strain of typing.
So if I’m still feeling it, was it all worth it? For me, yes. The fact that I can work painlessly in most cases outweighs the disadvantage of learning to adjust to an ergonomic setup. Sure, I’m still a bit slow to type and the keyboard takes up a lot of space on my desk, but I’ve seen a huge improvement in working comfort.
This article is part of TechToSee Technical resolutions series, an explosion of motivating incentives showing you how to power up your New Year with technology. From Sunday December 26 to Sunday January 2, our series will also reveal how we aim to improve the lives of our gadgets in 2022. So whether you’re looking to become an advanced Chromebook user, beat your take-out obsession with a new air fryer. or use a smartwatch to propel yourself to new heights of fitness, we’ll show you how to have a great New Year. And when things inevitably go wrong, you can always blame the gadgets.