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Expert set-up on all chairs & desks By one of our ergonomic consultants

Are left-handers at a disadvantage at work?

Living as a lefty in a right-handed world has never been easy. While we may have progressed from being burnt on the stake, there's still the tricky issue of ergonomics. 

Sunday 13 August is International Left-Hander's Day, which was first started by the UK-based Left-Hander's Club in 1992 to raise awareness of how difficult it can be living in a world designed for people with a different dominant hand.

In fact, a study by US psychology professor Stanley Coren found that left-handers live on average nine years less than right-handers due to a number of factors:

  • higher chance of birth or pregnancy complications
  • slower growth
  • greater vulnerability to diseases like epilepsy and diabetes
  • tendency towards destructive behaviours like alcoholism and criminality.

And that's just the start of it. If you're lucky enough to survive the trials and tribulations of left-handedness all the way to working age, it's likely you'll run into difficulties in the office. Professor Coren also listed 'increased health risks from environments designed for right-handers' as a factor for reduced life expectancy.

Machinery designed for right-handed use could be dangerous for a left-handed person, who will have to work extra hard to achieve the same level of precision with their right hands.

Almost all products - from scissors and spiral-bound notebooks, to computer keyboards and mice, are designed to fit the 90% of people in the world who are right-handed.

This leaves left-handers to struggle through life with permanent black smudges on the side of their left hands, a deep loathing of tin openers and a real risk of getting tangled forever in a bank pen chain.

According to CV-Library (the UK's biggest jobs board), 1 in 5 lefties face real practical problems at work due to being left-handed. That's over 852,000 people.

Other results from the survey found:

  • Most UK employers don't make a habit of asking new staff members if they're left-handed.
  • Only a quarter of businesses provide left-handers with specialist computer equipment.
  • 5% of the UK's working population are ambidextrous and would like the freedom to choose between left or right-handed equipment.

Lee Biggins, founder and Managing Director of CV-Library, said: “Businesses need to provide staff with the right tools to do the job. Most professional organisations should already be conducting work station assessments for all of their employees and this should form a simple part of that process.

"It is within a company’s interest to quickly identify an employee’s needs and provide suitable equipment so they are able to work effectively. This will not only improve productivity, but also makes each team member feel valued and cared for, which is important in the workplace.”

A DSE assessment with one of our qualified assessors will help left-handed employees set their workstations up comfortably and safely. Specialist products may also be recommended - such as ambidextrous mice, or wireless number pads (which can easily be switched to the left side of the keyboard.

In celebration of International Left-Handers Day, we're offering 15% off our award-winning Penguin mouse by entering the code: LEFTYPENGUIN at checkout (this offer ends Monday 14 August at midnight).


As ergonomic product designers, we wanted to invent something that would not only to be more comfortable to use than a standard computer mouse, but that would also be entirely ambidextrous.

Why the Penguin mouse is ideal for left-handers

  • The wireless version can be easily switched from the right side of the desk to the left, so if a left-hander is hot-desking with a right-hander, it's no trouble to rearrange the workstation.
  • The vertical design isn't biased to either side of the hand. To encourage a more comfortable 'hand-shake' position, the function buttons are all on the front, so it doesn't matter which way you're gripping it.
  • You can easily re-programme the scroll wheel for left-handed use.

You can buy the Penguin mouse with 15% off (until Monday 14 August 2017) here ›