One of the downsides to transcribing is that the constant typing can really damage your wrists if you don’t have your workstation set up properly. A few years ago, I started experiencing debilitating RSI. I had been typing almost entirely on my laptop for years, and realised that this (in addition to poor posture) was the source of my problems. I finally decided to take action and buy an ergonomic keyboard.
There are quite a few ergonomic keyboards on the market, which all look incredibly weird if you’re not used to them, with varying degrees of splits and slopes to encourage more natural wrist and arm alignment and prevent/ reduce RSI and carpal tunnel syndrome. I chose the Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000, because it seemed to have lots of good reviews online and was reasonably priced.
If you’ve never used an ergonomic keyboard before, it can take some time to get used to. However, once you’re over the initial awkward phase, it makes SUCH a difference. Since getting my new keyboard – and being better about sitting up straight and taking breaks from typing – my wrists almost never hurt anymore.
Here’s my brief review of the Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000, which I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone that does a lot of typing and experiences wrist, hand or arm pain as a result.
- It’s affordable. For under £40, I think this is well worth it.
- It’s comfortable. It works. As I said above, since starting to use this keyboard a few years ago, my wrist pain has almost entirely subsided. I only really experience wrist pain now if I spend several days in a row transcribing for hours at a time.
- It might be difficult to use if you’re not a confident typist. The split key set only really works if you’re used to touch typing.
- Extremely long cord. This might be more suited to a desktop PC than my laptop. I’ve managed it by using a twist tie so it’s not a big deal, but it’s a bit cumbersome.
- The biggest issue I have with the keyboard is that it’s LOUD, particularly the space bar. It has softened up a bit from use, but it’s still louder than any other keyboard I've used. If you share an office with others, it’s not going to make you very popular! But if you have your own office, or very understanding co-workers, this keyboard is a great investment.