You read that right, we’re going to talk about the use of a gaming keyboard at work. If you stop to think about it, the keyboard is an important component to an office workstation and is important for your physical comfort and productivity.
Keyboard placement, hand and wrist position, and key switches all play a part in your ability to comfortably type during a workday and get work accomplished. If your hands feel tired, tingly, or sore you probably do not have the proper keyboard and hand placement.
“But, Ryan, let’s move on! What does this have to do with gaming keyboards?!” The gaming industry is among the most demanding industries on computer hardware, this includes keyboards. As a result, gaming keyboards typically are among the highest quality, built for endurance and comfort, and incorporate short cuts. And while their price tag is higher…it is worth the return you will receive on the investment.
Who might use a gaming keyboard at work?
Do you have employees you consider power users? People who are fast typists that spend their workday typing…so not just mouse work, but keyboard work. They also may use a lot of keyboard or multimedia short cuts. And they are productive typists who really enjoy using technology to its fullest. These people are great candidates for a gaming keyboard at work.
Why might a typical keyboard hold a power user back?
Mechanical keys increase typing accuracy and reduce typing fatigue. Also, for those with large hands, standard office keyboards can be too small, the keys too close together, and the key sensitivity a bit too responsive. Take me for example, I have large hands and tend to type with the strength of Thor’s hammer. I need a mechanical keyboard, where the keys are spread out more than a standard office keyboard. I did some research and discovered that gaming keyboards met my needs. I went to a local store that carried different gaming keyboard models and tested them out. I found one that worked well, and I haven’t looked back.
How do you go about finding the right gaming keyboard for work?
If you were to do a search for gaming keyboards, there are a plethora of brands and types. So how do you know if you’re getting the gaming keyboard right for you? This is where you would need to figure out your preferences in a keyboard. Do you prefer a softer touch when pressing a key, do you prefer pressing with some resistance, do you like the keys close together, or further apart?
How are the keys different?
While searching you may have seen terms like Linear or Tactile. Linear keys require that you push them all the way down, while Tactile keys only require you push them partway down. Key switches are going to be another item you come across while looking at gaming keyboards. The switches determine how much force required to press a key as they are actually spring-loaded switches under every individual key as opposed to a rubber pad. Below is a short list of the common switches and what they do
- Cherry MX Reds: These linear switches require 45 grams of force to actuate. The light touch makes them a good choice for both gaming and typing. The keys are also very quiet, which makes them good for office environments or crowded houses.
- Cherry MX Blacks: Linear switches that are very similar to Reds, save that they require 60 grams of force to actuate. They feel a little more resistant than Reds.
- Cherry MX Browns are some of the most popular switches in gaming keyboards. Browns are tactile switches that require 45 g of force to activate. They don't make much sound, and spring back very quickly after actuation.
- Cherry MX Blues are "clicky" switches, meaning they make audible clicking noises every time you depress them. This may not be a viable office solution as this may bother your co-workers. Cherry MX Blues require 50 g of actuation force.
Narrowing down your selection
Once you’ve settled on some of those features, start searching for the keyboard for you. There are a plethora of manufacturers and brands available, it will feel overwhelming. Here is a list of brands you will see in stores and online. This list is not in any particular order:
So, once you’ve come to a point where you have chosen a few you like best, you are now at the point where the ‘hands-on’ approach is best. Go to a store that carries the keyboards you’re looking for and ask to test a model. Spend several minutes typing sentences, looking at the layout of the keyboard, the extra buttons and features it has. Make your decision, purchase and enjoy!
So, what is your opinion? Do gaming keyboards work, for work? Let us know in the comments!
**CoreTech collaborates with small and midsize businesses, not only on tech equipment, but on tech support, managed IT services, IT security, as well as technology strategy, budgets and roadmaps.
No, not every employee may need a gaming keyboard, however staff with different responsibilities do need different machine capabilities. And by evaluating the needs, you make the best use of your budget and employee productivity.