5 desk checks for left-handed computer users

The world is designed for the 90% of the population who are right-handed, making certain tasks surprisingly challenging for the left-handed minority. 

These tasks are often seemingly simple everyday activities such as opening tins, using scissors, buttoning shirts, or even operating some tech devices like e-readers. Computer workstations in particular are typically geared towards right-handers, with mice contoured specifically to the shape of the right hand, and space for papers and stationary located for easy access on the right.

Historically, left-handedness has been viewed as an affliction in need of a cure. In the past (and even now in some cultures) it was common practice to force left-handed children to use their right hands in order to fit in with society. In fact, the word 'left' is derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'lyft', which means 'weak', 'idle', or 'useless'.

Of course this is far from the truth and while it can make tasks more challenging, many left-handers adapt well to their back-to-front surroundings and end up using both hands deftly and to their advantage. In a recent study left-handedness was found to be an advantageous trait in many elite sports.

To create a comfortable and productive office environment for everyone, it's important to consider the needs of left-handed workers. 

Unfortunately, most UK employers fail to even ask new staff members if they are left-handed and only a quarter provide left-handers with specialist equipment (according to a CV Library survey).

There are some steps you can take to ensure your work space is a comfortable and safe environment:

1. Get your mouse right
Use an ambidextrous or left-handed computer mouse. In celebration of Left-Hander's Day (13 August), we're offering 20% off all left-handed and ambidextrous mice and keyboards in our store.

Browse our Left-Hander's Day Sale now ›

2. Think about your stationary placement
When you start a new job the desk may already be arranged with document holders, pen pots and other accessories placed on the right-hand side. Don't be afraid to customise your desk in a way that feels comfortable and accessible. The less you have to reach across the desk, the safer you'll be.

3. Use a detachable number pad
You can buy compact keyboards with number pads separately. This is so that the number pad can be removed when not in use to allow the mouse to move closer to the centre of the body (a more comfortable position). The added bonus is that the number pad can be used on the other side of the computer for left-handers.

4. Use a shaped desk
Desks often come in wave or cut-out designs to aid ergonomic positioning. This can be selected in a left or right-handed stance. We supply sit-stand desks with right and left stances. We particularly recommend the DeskRite 500 Electric Sit-Stand Desk Left Stance.

5. Arrange a DSE assessment
There's nothing quite like personal advice tailored to the individual. A DSE assessor will make sure the set-up is perfect for a left-hander, while recommending any equipment that could help.