Key Tricks to Speed Up Productivity
17 February 2021

Employee productivity – keyboard shortcuts – reduce the risk of RSI

Recently I read that people lose about eight days a year by using the mouse instead of keyboard shortcuts. Eight days … that’s quite an eye opener.

The conclusion was reached by Brainscape ( who have observed that most people add an average of two seconds per minute of work by switching back and forwards from their mouse instead of using the keyboard shortcut.

Take opening a new tab in a web browser. Most people move their hand to the mouse, then move the cursor to the “+” button to the right of their other open tabs, then click that button, then switch their hands back to the keyboard to type their desired search term or URL. If you open a new browser by typing CTRL+T (or CMD+T on a Mac),  it is faster. If you only apply this one shortcut it could save you several hours over the course of a year.

You might think that using keyboard shortcuts isn’t really an HR matter. But it turns out keyboard shortcuts are not only faster and thus increase productivity, but they can also reduce repetitive strain injury by overuse of the mouse core HR issues. I found this interesting and have been trying it out. Having tried out the shortcuts I didn’t previously know about I can confirm that it is definitely faster to use the shortcuts.

Most software shares the same shortcuts, meaning the more you learn, the faster you will become.

Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts.

  • CTL+A – selects all text.
  • CTRL+C will copy highlighted text or a selected item.
  • If you want to cut an item, press CTRL+X. This action removes the text or item and stores it in the clipboard.
  • CTRL+V will paste the text or object that's stored in the clipboard.
  • Pressing CTRL+F opens the Find field, which allows you to search the text currently displayed in any program that supports it. For example, CTRL+F can be used in your Internet browser to find text on the current page.
  • CTRL+G can be used to repeat a search in a document or on a web page.
  • Pressing Alt+Tab switches between open programs moving forward. For example, if you have your browser window open and other programs running in the background, press and hold Alt, then press the Tab key to cycle through each open program.
  • To lock your screen press Windows key+L.

If you’re a Mac user substitute the Ctrl key for the Command.

Learning keyboard shortcuts means you can increase your productivity and accomplish more tasks by using the keyboard instead of mouse. In other words, it’s easier and gets your job done faster.

Using the keyboard means you don’t have to follow a pointer to see what you are doing (and if you’re anything like me trying to locate the perishing mouse which has run off the face of the screen.

You can combine the benefits of using the keyboard with those of using the mouse. There are tasks that are done more easily with the mouse, for example, browsing the web pages and clicking links. You can use the keyboard at the same time to navigate within the page or between tabs.

Saving milliseconds every hour has the potential to save you significant time across the year, as well as reducing the risk of injury. Extensive mouse usage is associated with R.S.I. (Repetitive Strain Injury) much often than the keyboard usage. By alternating mouse and keyboard usage you can reduce the risks of R.S.I. and reduce the fatigue your wrists and fingers.

What’s not to love about that?

Sign up for our free resources and free weekly tip - subscribe here.

For help resolving all your HR queries and problems get in touch!


Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2023 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.