Keyboard tray platforms have been around for many years and yet they are still not as well known in the office environment as they deserve to be.
Just as lots of better quality cars now have adjustable steering wheel height and depth settings for perfect arm and wrist positioning. A keyboard tray lets you do the same in the office and helps avoid nasty problems like repetitive strain injury (RSI).
Sure a keyboard can be easily moved on your work surface especially if it’s a wireless model so why would a keyboard tray platform make my height adjustable desk any more flexible and easy to use? Isn't this a case of having an accessory just for the sake of it?
On the face of it there is some validity to thinking this, however it’s actually not as clear cut as it appears.
In this article we’re going to look at keyboard systems and trays from three different perspectives:
- What are the advantages of a keyboard tray platform?
- Why does a keyboard platform make sense for a height adjustable desk?
- What are the different types of keyboard tray systems?
So, without further ado let’s jump right in and make a start.
What are the advantages of a keyboard tray platform?
When you have a keyboard tray fitted to your desk it adds a good deal of flexibility to the way you work. For a start if you are doing work that doesn't need the use of your keyboard then you can simply shove it out of the way and have more desk space.
Next, it offers the opportunity to alter the vertical position and angle of your keyboard to gain greater comfort.
And if you choose a better quality model it will incorporate space for your mouse. This is pretty important as mouse and keyboard really do go hand in hand when you're working at a computer.
Let’s move on and consider how it will improve your work experience at a moving top desk.
Why go for a keyboard platform with a height adjustable desk?
When you work regularly at a height adjustable desk each day it’s likely you will vary your working posture several times during the day between sitting and standing.
Unlike a fixed desk where your way of working remains pretty static you now find you are presented with many different ways of working.
You will likely discover that the way you address your keyboard and mouse will be different if you are standing to work rather than sitting. And whilst you can move your keyboard and mouse on your desktop without a tray often it’s a great help to be able to change their vertical position.
This is where a keyboard and mouse tray system is so useful for fine tuning how you want to work. It’s really quick and easy to reposition your keying posture as you change your working stance. You will never find you are forced to work in an inflexible or uncomfortable way, because it becomes natural to alter things quickly and easily.
Whilst the right equipment will give you all these benefits it’s important to understand the different types of tray and why some are best avoided.
What type of keyboard tray and platform system is best?
Keyboard trays come in a number of different formats and some won’t be of any benefit to you.
The most basic form is literally a tray which holds your keyboard and slides in and out from the underside of your worktop. These are generally pretty crude and often have nowhere for you mouse to sit and should be avoided.
Next up is a larger version with room for your mouse as well as roller bearing runners so it slides in and out more smoothly. However the limitation is that there is no means of height adjustment. It could be more accurately described as a keyboard and mouse tidy, somewhere to push them out of the way when not needed.
If you are going to get the best out of working more flexibly you need to look at a keyboard system. These holders are far more sophisticated and usually have an articulated arm. This provides the all important ability to alter the height and angle of your keyboard and mouse.
Top end models like Humanscale’s Platinum Keyboard System even include a dial-a-tilt feature for ease of use as well as choice of mechanism to tailor things to your exact needs. When you find the perfect settings there is no danger of losing them you simply dial them back up again.
To get the true benefits of keyboard and mouse working flexibility you really need to go for a good quality system platform. This will normally be supported on an articulated arm and give a good range of vertical adjustment as well as being able to vary the angle of the tray too.
Additionally, the ability of the mouse tray to swivel and adjust as a separate surface is definitely desirable.
So let’s summarize the key takeaways we've covered.
- You can get your work surface back when you have a keyboard / mouse tray
- A keyboard tray system lets you place keyboard and mouse where you need them
- With all the different postures working at a height adjustable desk presents using a keyboard tray platform makes good sense
- To get the most out of a keyboard system you need to go for the better quality ones to gain true flexibility
It really does make sense to have a truly movable keyboard and mouse when working at a height adjustable desk.
Here's where you can find out more about some excellent keyboard tray platforms which will help you work more effectively.