Keyboard Trays

Written by Erwann Marshall
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Before the invention of adjustable or removable keyboard trays, many office personnel were plagued with upper back problems. Cases of stiff shoulder, back and neck muscles grew in number as more workers sat for hours in uncomfortable environments. However, soon business managers realized that both morale and productivity could be increased with the application of simple ergonomic principles and the addition of pain-saving devices as well.

There are many different kinds of keyboard trays, from simple rolling designs that can be slid underneath the desk to floating trays that are supported by a strong but flexible arm. Some arrive as a fixed accessory on an already ergonomically designed desk. Others can be purchased separately and can be installed to the underside of a previously existing desk.

The best ergonomic keyboard trays are called "articulated," meaning they can be set to a number of different positions, heights and angles, depending on the user's preference. The person seated at the desk should use common sense and ergonomic rules to put their tray in a comfortable position. Many keyboard trays include a secondary tray that can be set to either the right or the left side for the mouse pad and mouse (or trackball) so that there is a symbiotic relationship between it and the keyboard.

Basic Ergonomic Rules Regarding Keyboard Trays

If the keyboard is fixed and does not have the ability to be adjusted to the person's individual preferences, the chair should be either raised or lowered so that the wrists and hands can rest comfortably on the keys. The forearms and wrists should be in alignment parallel with the floor. However, these same principles apply if an articulated keyboard tray is in use, and it should be positioned while the individual is seated in his or her chair so that there is at least three inches of legroom set above the thighs.

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