During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us were confined in our homes for longer periods. This made remote work the standard for the majority of office workers, me included. At first, I wasn’t that much of an enthusiast of making my home my office because of the lack of designated space for the job, and the occasional noise from inconsiderate neighbours.
Slowly but surely, I began to warm up to the idea of working from my own comfort space. I could wake up whenever I want, finish up work whenever I want (deadlines excluded), and take breaks when I feel like it, among other perks. As flexible as it was, however, after a while it all started taking its toll on my well-being because of not taking the time to make the space ergonomic and properly set up the workstation.
One area where I particularly suffered was my right wrist, and one could ignore discomfort, stiffness, and weakness so far until it all becomes unbearable. Still, I’m grateful for the pain because it was the catalyst for change in my home office. The first thing that changed was the keyboard – I replaced the old model with a split computer keyboard designed to enable natural wrist position, along with that of hands and shoulders. Need I say, the benefits were immediately notable, to the point of improving the overall workflow.
What Are Split Keyboards?
They’re exactly what you might expect: keyboards that are split in two, unlike the regular one-piece design. They’re amazingly lightweight, compact, and portable, yet at the same time durable too, and many brands, like Goldtouch, have put them through rigorous testing with drops and temperatures to ensure this.
Since everyone’s work and office needs aren’t the same, there are two types of keyboards to choose from: fixed split, and fully split. What’s certain with both is that they enable ergonomically responsible typing and can help you get the needed relief and prevention of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries).
Fixed Split Keyboard
This type of split computer keyboard is split but not fully as the two halves are slightly apart at an angle yet are attached. Some brands offer designs that can be adjusted at an angle that’s most convenient for the user, whereas others can’t be adjusted but they come with handy features of their own like split and concave key wells.
Since we’re all with unique body types, postures, and typing styles, one size doesn’t fit all. In this case, one keyboard doesn’t suit everyone, so it’s best to invest in the first option to truly reap the benefits of ergonomics. Additionally, you can do as I did and increase the level of comfort and support by also introducing removable anti-slip palm rests occasionally. They’re very compact and serve to elevate the wrists to a neutral angle.
Fully Split Keyboard
As opposed to the fixed counterpart, this keyboard comes in two separate halves. This means even greater degree of adjustability regardless of the way you type or bend the wrist. Since they don’t come at an angle like the fixed split, this type of split keyboards is better in the sense it prevents tilting and keeps the wrists at a natural position that’s essential for avoiding strain. If you use other ergonomic aids, such as armrests, this would be more than ideal as you can easily position the two keyboard halves in line with them for optimal muscle relaxation.
What are the Benefits of Split Keyboards?
If you haven’t bought your split keyboard yet you might be questioning if it’s worth it. I was asking myself the same prior to investing in my beloved split computer keyboard that helped me get rid of wrist discomfort right from the start of using it. Since it allows for the natural position of the wrists, it prevents them from contracting and having the blood flow reduced thus eliminating ulnar deviation.
As a result, there’s also the prevention of CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome) which can be the main cause of discomfort for most office workers. Another benefit is that it helps decrease the arm pronation since these keyboards are created to allow the thumbs to be at a higher position than what you might expect with regular designs. And lastly, which is my favourite, having such keyboard enables you to be more creative with the work space and customise it as you see fit at a given moment.
If you’ve always wanted to work with a notepad or tablet, you can easily place it between the two halves of the split keyboard. This would make for better workflow, and free up significant desk space. Additionally, all the gamers would be glad to know there would be no more strenuous mouse reaching during the gaming which can be rather unpleasant especially on the shoulders and elbows.