‘Different’ Employees require an Ergonomic workspace

businessman-wheelchairThe workforce for many companies has become extremely diversified over the last few years. What started as ‘telecommuting’ taught employers that not physically having a worker at their station from 9 to 5 (with an hour off for lunch.), isn’t so much of a bad thing. In most cases productivity is up, and those empty work-stations can be filled by contract, or other short-term workers, fulfilling tasks for specific projects, or other assignments. This is a great reason to look at ‘different’ employees that can also help local Non-Profit organizations.

Veteran Work-force

Who would have thought that – in these enlightened times – there would still be Armed Forces veterans desperate for work? These incredible personalities have been drilled in an array of marketable skills that may be able to help your company: Either on a short term, or more permanent basis. In fact there are many Governmental financial aids that help businesses employ Service Veterans. Don’t automatically think of strictly older men, there are hundreds of young, intelligent, committed veterans that are looking not only for work, but a career, now that they have paid an incredibly high price for their Service to the rest of us: Sad to say that it looks like this work-force will only grow in the near future, too. Check with your own Department of Labour, or Human resources or more details on how you can help them, as well as your company.

Many are trapped within a broken body, even though you can count on a perceptive and exciting outlook from these Heroes, who are usually going to waste in a business atmosphere that doesn’t value their intelligence:

Down syndrome Work-force

Many people feel uncomfortable facing a person suffering from Down syndrome. Once an employer gets past this natural aversion, however, it is obvious that these sufferers are not mentally ill, but rather are a positive to most work-forces: Incredibly focused, with an almost Savant-like attention to detail, and a creative streak that defies the usual formulaic workplace rubric, Downs syndrome workers are- for the most part – desperate to escape a lonely life, and show their talents to the utmost. US Pharmacy giant Walgreens has enjoyed the benefits of recognizing these special abilities. Its South Carolina distribution Centre is over 20% more efficient than any of its others – and almost 50% of the full-time workers there have a physical or cognitive disability, including Down’s syndrome.

These two examples are the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to people within your city that are a wasted resource, based usually on the fact that the rest of us are unsure of how to communicate with them. Do some research on your community to find out where people’s needs and your requirements intersect, and find some ‘out-of-the-box’ answers to your problems, and theirs.

Of course, you may have to re-configure work stations: Wider entrances and exits, for instance, or ergonomic work areas and equipment that may be required to ease everyone’s working days and conditions, but these are small investment for a more committed, and talented work-force. Start with computer keyboards, seats, and wider doors to ensure that everyone in your office is as comfortable and productive as possible, and expand your work-force. The initial outlay will be more than worth it.

Is your Keyboard making you Sick?

dirty-keyboard 2Generally, office environments can be the cleanest area of any business. After all, any kind of pollution found in the air of factories, delivery yards, and car parks would – you would think – be stopped at the door. However, new research from Health and Safety experts shows that office environments have their own health risks, and your computer keyboard could be to blame.

Illness-causing bacteria easily live on commonly touched work surfaces such as keyboards, computer mice and office phones, and the average shared desk is a prime breeding ground for infection. In fact an average keyboard can have 200 times more bacteria than a toilet brush!

The Reality of the Shared Office.

In today’s business world, open-space offices are more likely to be shared. Part-time staff often make up a high percentage of most offices, and they all share their desk environment. You could say that everyone in a working environment is sharing each other’s home and travel environment, complete with all of the bacteria and illness that total strangers are sharing.

Many workers that spend different times of day in the administrative work-space also bring food with them, and many more forego a lunch-break to eat at their desk, making keyboards a breeding ground for bacteria.  While washing your hands between ‘the outside world’ and the closed office area would no doubt help – and has become automatic for many workers – this doesn’t protect against droplets of saliva that inevitably fall on the keyboard during talking, sneezing, and coughing.

A recent study analysed swabs obtained from the keyboards of 30 computers and found microbes on all keyboards, examples of mould, yeast, bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Micrococcus and Enterococcus. In fact, past studies have found more than 3,000 organisms per square inch on a keyboard, and more than 1,600 on a computer mouse.

When did you last Clean Up?

You can still protect yourself in a shared environment very easily, so try to perform the following tasks on an ongoing basis – we can attest to the fact that they work:

When you first start work, clean and disinfect your desk area, including phone, calculators, and especially your keyboard. You can use swabs or Q-Tips to do this. In fact, bring some cleaning materials with you as a ‘gift’ to the whole office.

Use Compressed Air to blow out any crumbs and germs that are hiding throughout the keyboard – in fact, give all grilles, ports and spaces a blast too, it will help your computer run better.

Turn your keyboard upside down, and lightly shake it to dislodge even more debris.

When you enter the office, or return from a break, wash your hands to protect yourself from others’ dirt that has been rubbed against you, and never eat at your desk.

You can also give everything a quick rub down and clean when you take extended time from the office: A few days, or vacation, to make it clean for others.

Perhaps the easiest way to ensure a clean area is to purchase a keyboard cover to cover the board when it isn’t being used by you. This can help protect against passer-by’s sneezes, coughs, and coffee spills. Many high-end keyboards come with their own dust covers, and they aren’t provided to help during initial delivery – they are for everyday use.

Finally, if you move around a lot, consider buying your own keyboard with a USB connection that can be used on any computer. Not only will this guarantee that you are only using your own equipment, it gives you the opportunity to buy one that fits your own typing style, and ergonomic requirements to make your working time more comfortable. This way you can ensure that your working time is not only clean it’s also comfortable, less stressful and more productive.

The World’s Wackiest Computer Keyboards

If you have visited an office that in work in a specialized field, or have a friend whose home office is built around specific tasks such as coding, you may have gotten accustomed to seeing various different styles of keyboards with exciting and different-looking designs. If you have and think that you are missing something, here are a handful of recent keyboard designs that have come to the market and the reasons for their ‘Wacky Designs’.

 

Roll Up Keyboard

Roll up keyboard

Perhaps you are frustrated with inflexible keyboards? This fun, blue, flexible keyboard with the standard layout of 104 keys rolls-up for easy storage and portability. The manufacturer states that its dust and moisture proof, too.

Don’t get it confused with your Yoga Mat!

The Blank Keyboard

blank keyboard

Have you ever wanted to brag about your touch-typing skills? This is the ultimate bragger’s tool.

“I don’t need letters or numbers I know where everything is from memory!” Or perhaps it’s a test, or an office rookie hazing gag?

The Keyboard that isn’t there

Laser keyboard

This design features a laser tower projects a virtual keyboard on any surface, and reacts when you press a certain area of the light. I don’t think that working on a moving vehicle will be a popular choice with this keyboard.

 

The ‘Box’ Keyboard

Box keyboard

Although designed to ensure that those that work that numbers as well as alphabetic characters are always typing on a flat surface, doesn’t this look like a keyboard that 4 or 5 people can work on simultaneously – Kind of like Car-Pooling!

 

The Keyless Keyboard

keyless keyboard

 

A keyboard that looks like the front of your Mother’s stove! Slide the two dials into certain positions to trigger every keystroke you will need. We think it looks as if it belongs on the Navigation Bridge of a Starship.

The Wrist Keyboard

the wrist keyboard

Want to make a scene at the coffee shop while doing your Sunday coffee stop work? This will certainly turn heads. Of course you have to work out that arm before you can use it. It looks heavy to us!

 

The Tidy Typist

tidy typist keyboard

Now, this is something special: A felt ‘tablecloth’ that holds the keyboard, and then is decorated in a range of colors and designs. If Jane Austen were writing today, this would be her keyboard!

We wonder if it comes with the delightfully placed cup of tea.

 

We have had some fun in this post, with the very serious manufacturers of these specialist pieces of equipment. All of these designs are the results of long hours of research, testing, marketing and building. However, it is worth remembering that although there are lots of keyboards on the market to help you, not all will do the job for you.

Do your own research when looking for a Specialty keyboard. Think about its practicality and Functionality. It looks nice and thin, but does it do everything you need it to do?

It’s small and cute, but does that mean it is practical, and will it hurt you to use it?

It looks very fancy, but will it actually hurt your fingers, wrists, shoulders and back after a short while of using it?

When you do your keyboard shopping, ensure that you look for an ergonomic one first. Get one that is comfortable to use, and aids in a better posture. If you are comfortable first, the clever styles that you see could help you further in the particular job, but if you are comfortable for extended periods of time, the chances are you will become more productive.

An ergonomic design looks pretty cool, too!