“Poor posture not only hurts but is bad for your health.”
– Sara Winchester
Each person has different styles, different needs, and different tasks to do in the course of a typical workday. Maybe you’re a minimalist or someone who likes a little more clutter. Regardless of your personal preference experts recommend we divide our desk into reach zones arranging items according to how accessible they need to be during the course of your work day.
- Easily reach just by moving your forearms horizontally, with your elbows remaining comfortably near your sides.
- Dedicated to your keyboard and mouse.
- Nothing else should be in this zone unless you use it as much as your mouse and keyboard.
- The next zone is reachable by extending your arms but without leaning or bending at the waist.
- This is a good area for things you use frequently such as reference books, notebooks or stationary you refer to often.
- This zone is reachable by extending the arms and bending or leaning at the waist.
- Although you can reach this zone without standing up, it’s not comfortable to do so frequently.
- Items you use occasionally.
If your work area extends beyond this zone (for example, vertical shelving above your desk) it should be used for storage only.
- The key is to use this ergonomic mouse in the same wrist formation as you would make if you were about to skip a rock across water or throw a frisbee
- Avoid compensating with your wrist, instead make wider movements with your arm
- Ditch the mouse pad
- The mouse will slide across your desk smoothly so your motions can remain unbroken and aligned
- Cutting down on stress to your wrist over time and save yourself some discomfort or pain from relieving carpal tunnel syndrome, hand cramps, to finger fatigue
Factors to Consider
When you’re shopping around consider these key factors before making your purchase:
Size: The size of the mouse should be an important consideration, to ensure it fits your hands comfortably. Too large, and your hands will not be rested in the right place on the mouse. Too small, and your fingers with be clinched, with a large gap between your palm and the mouse. Both are detrimental to your hands. Before purchasing your mouse, check its dimensions and compare it with your current mouse to get the proper perspective, as the product shots can be deceiving.
Weight: Size and weight go hand in hand when it comes to a comfortable mouse. Don’t think a mere few grams won’t make any difference- it does.
Wireless or Not: While a wireless mouse does away with the clutter of one more cable on your desk, it isn’t without faults. It requires batteries to run (less eco friendly), usually uses a USB receiver to connect to the computer (that can be misplaced), and finally, needs to be “woken up” each time after some idle time.
Form factor: The traditional horizontal mouse will feel the most familiar for most people, though it is worth giving a vertical or trackball mouse a try, especially if you are starting to feel the early effects of RSI in the arms or wrist, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
DPI Switch: DPI stands for dots per inch. A high DPI setting translates into a more sensitive mouse cursor, responding to micro movements of the mouse.
Number of Buttons: At the minimum, look for a mouse with a browser back and forth buttons, as these are tasks commonly performed every day.
Left or Right Handed: Most mice featured in our guide are for right handed people, though the Trackball mouse is ambidextrous. This means it can be used by both left and right handed people. The distinct advantage of an ambidextrous mouse is that it lets you alter between hands throughout the day to operate it, spreading out the workload between your two hands and greatly reducing the chances of developing injuries. If you are disabled on on hand, an ambidextrous mouse such as the Logitech Trackball Marble also lets you use your other hand to operate it.
Price: Beyond warranty however, if a mouse delivers more comfort and better productivity than another one, that should be above all else the main deciding factor.
Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse (retails for $23 on Amazon)
- This makes the Anker the ideal mouse to toss into your backpack when you’re heading to the coffee shop, or even as your primary laptop mouse at home.
- The Anker is also extremely slim, taking up very little horizontal space.
- The main buttons are positioned over 60 degrees relative to the desk surface, which greatly reduces any rotation of the wrist to hold the mouse.
- Five buttons on the Anker Vertical Mouse let you perform all the standard tasks, including back and forth when web browsing.
- The scroll wheel features ratchet scrolling to evenly scroll through documents and webpages.
- The DPI switch is conveniently located at the top, letting you switch between 800/ 1200/ 1600dpi sensitivity.
- Budget friendly, under $25.
- Possible quality issues, with mouse dying after a few months for some.
- Mouse surface a little slippery for me.
Evoluent Vertical Mouse Regular Size (retails for $100+ on Amazon)
- Evoluent is the original creator of the vertical mouse, and as such has more experience than any other company in coming up with designs that facilitate people with existing musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel or even tendinitis.
- The Evoluent vertical mouse is the only mouse that has been approved for use by physical therapists at the health clinic in UC Berkeley.
- The Evoluent mouse features a sturdy base with a steep hand area that is sloped almost 90 degrees relative to the desk. This keeps your wrist in a completely, natural, untwisted position as you operate the mouse.
- A right lip at the bottom of the mouse supports your pinky finger so it never scrapes the desk.
- A rocker conveniently located behind the main mouse buttons let you increase or decrease the speed of the mouse pointer on demand.
- Unique right lip that cushions your pinky finger from scraping the desk.
- Models made for left-handed vs. right-handed individuals.
- Expensive relative to other mouse.
- Long adjustment period for many people but worth it in the end if pain free.
MOJO Silent Bluetooth Vertical Mouse (retails for £24.99 from Amazon)
- For those of you looking for a wireless ergonomic mouse that doesn’t rely on any silly USB receiver, the Mojo Vertical Mouse is among the best ones out there.
- It connects to your computer seamlessly using Bluetooth for a zero hassle experience.
- The Mojo Vertical Mouse comes with that familiar handshake design that minimizes any pronation of the wrist during use.
- The manufacturer has said the Mojo will NOT work on most iPad, iPhone and other tablets.
- This is primarily a computer mouse intended to use it with your PC or laptop.
- Two AAA batteries (which are included by the way!) give your Mojo around 6 months.
- Comes with the standard 6 buttons set up (2 primary buttons, scroll wheel, DPI switch, and back/forth buttons).
- The buttons are virtually silent when clicked, making the Mojo great in shared office spaces.
Jelly Comb Wireless Vertical (retails for £18.99 from Amazon)
- For people with small hands, finding a comfortable mouse can be tricky, this is one of the best ergonomic mouses on the market for small hands.
- The Jelly Comb Wireless Vertical Mouse uses a vertical design that mimics a handshake, allowing smaller hands to wrap around the mouse fully without any twisting in the wrist.
- The mouse’s dimensions are around 4″ long by 2.3″ wide by 2.7″ tall, giving it a length and depth that carters very well to anyone with modest to small hands.
- The mouse comes with a traditional vertical scroll wheel on the top, and back and forward page buttons located above the thumb rest.
- Three modes of DPI sensitivity (800 / 1200 /1600) that can be adjusted via a switch located at the tail end of the mouse.
- For people with small hands, being able to easily increase the mouse pointer’s sensitivity with a touch of a switch is especially helpful, letting you get from point A to point B on the screen a lot faster.
- Wireless and operates on a single AA battery (not included).
- Instead of bluetooth technology, the mouse uses 2.4G wireless technology to create that invisible connection.
- Simply plug in the provided tiny wireless receiver into your PC or Mac’s USB port, and off you go.
- Back and Forth page buttons do not work on the Mac.
- Lifetime replacement guarantee.
Logitech Trackman Marble (retails for £29.99 from Amazon)
- Trackball mouse is ambidextrous.
- This means it can be used by both left and right handed people.
- The distinct advantage of an ambidextrous mouse is that it lets you alter between hands throughout the day to operate it, spreading out the workload between your two hands and greatly reducing the chances of developing injuries.
- If you are disabled on on hand, an ambidextrous mouse such as the Logitech Trackball Marble also lets you use your other hand to operate it.
Ergonomic Friendly Setup
Distance: Place your monitor about 20 inches in front of you, or at arm’s length. Putting it too close will strain your eyes, while placing it too far away may make you slouch forward in an attempt to read what’s on the screen.
Angle: Your monitor should be placed at an angle of about 10 to 20 degrees. A greater angle will cause you to hold your head at an uncomfortable angle, leading to neck strain.
Height: the top line of your screen should be at or below eye level. Tilting your head back to try to read your monitor can lead to headaches and neck pain.
Lighting: If you’re lucky enough to have a window in your office space, try to avoid facing it or sitting with your back to it. Placing your monitor and desk perpendicular to the window works best. Whatever kind of lighting you use, position the monitor so that there is no distracting glare.
Monitors often come fixed to their stands, making them hard to adjust. Fortunately, there are plenty of adjustable monitor stands available, and it’s relatively easy to improvise something as well. You can try stacking books or reams of printer paper to see what works for you. Once you know what you need, you can go looking for a more permanent solution.
Ergonomic Monitors & Mounting Devices
The options are endless and we recommend searching these vendors to find the best fit your and workspace needs.
Transitioning from a traditional work station into an ergonomic friendly work area can impact your health for the positive. We have gathered a short list of the health benefits.
Health Benefits [2, 3, 4, 9]
- Improved mood
- Depression relief
- Decreased stroke risk by 20% with 30 minutes of walking per day
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improved sleep habits
- Varied work posture
- Reduced upper body discomfort
- Reduced foot swelling
- Increased productivity taking fewer and shorter breaks
- Enhanced workforce performance
- Improved musculoskeletal conditions (i.e. back pain)
- Decreased back pain
- Increased circulation and blood flow
We have more blogs specific about setting up an ergonomic friendly office workstation related to keyboards, chairs, mats, electric vs. manual standing desk converters, bicycling vs. treadmill desk options and more. If you found this blog post helpful please share with your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.
We have additional blog post specific to pilates, pre/post natal, bone building for osteoporosis/osteopenia, mindful meditation, restorative yoga therapy, partner and endurance training. We believe in treating the whole person with a holistic approach and blend our knowledge and training of movement, nutrition, massage therapy and traditional chinese medicine.
We love teaching mindful movement and are here to support you in your journey. We offer customized online remote training from anywhere in the world. Contact us today to get started and learn to move with less pain and greater ease. We look forward to partnering with you and answering your movement questions and/or concerns.
Assumption of the Risk: By attempting any of the exercises, you do so at your own risk. We make no representations, guarantees or warranties that the information or exercises on this blog are appropriate for you or will result in improvements of your medical condition or function.
Not medical advice or physical therapy. This content is intended to provide information and instructions on general exercises that may help increase strength, mobility, and function for specific areas of the body. It is not intended to be a substitute for obtaining a medical diagnosis or medical or physical therapy advice from a qualified licensed provider. You should seek medical advice from a qualified physician or physical therapist before trying any of the exercises or self-treatment suggestions on this blog, particularly if your pain is from a traumatic injury or event.