In the long run, sitting for hours every day can harm your body — it can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels.
Opting for a standing desk in place of a traditional desk and chair can do wonders for your neck, back, legs, and overall health. In fact, rotating between sitting and using a standing desk can significantly lower your risk for these conditions, all while improving circulation in your legs.
But ensuring your standing desk is adjusted to the proper height is vital to reap the benefits of standing while working.
The purpose of a standing desk is to improve comfort and health while you work. But if you’re slouching to use your computer or craning your neck at your monitor, it defeats the purpose altogether. To avoid this situation, follow these instructions to adjust your desk to your optimal height.
Even if you don’t realize it, your shoes probably have varying heights and therefore change your relative height to your standing desk. This is especially true if you wear heels or shoes with lifts in them to work.
Even if it is just a quarter of an inch of difference, it affects your stance and comfort while at your desk. So when choosing your desk height, factor in the kinds of shoes you regularly wear. If some days you like heels while others you prefer flats, consider getting an adjustable monitor so you can move it accordingly.
Focus Area on the Monitor
The most looked at portion of a computer monitor is the top left. This can vary for different work and should be considered when settling on a height for your desk. Both the viewing angle and viewing distance impact what the proper height is for the desk.
If the monitor is angled downward and causes you to look up, this could have a severe impact on your neck in the long term. A monitor that is too far away from the user can cause strain on the eyes and force you to jut your neck forward, also causing pain and discomfort.
Canadian field studies have found that looking up at a monitor is tiring on the neck, eyes and even mind.
Elbow Resting Height
Where your elbows fall when they are bent, like they are when you type on a keyboard, is the optimal height for your desk. The best measuring stick for your desk is the bottom of your elbows when bent at a 90-degree angle but relaxed.
How to Achieve the Ideal Desk Height: 4 Easy Steps
- Stand up straight and look forward comfortably. Roll your shoulders slightly back but not so far that it feels unnatural.
- Relax your arms by your side, and then bend your elbows to make a 90-degree angle.
- Now, raise the desk until your fingertips just graze the top of your keyboard. It is useful to have a friend or co-worker raise the desk for you while you maintain this position. But it isn’t necessary.
- Adjust your monitor. Make sure the top of the screen is at your eye level to reduce eye and neck strain.
Why is This the Best Height?
Using your elbows as your measuring stick ensures your arms, hands, and wrists can type in a relaxed, hanging position. It is bad for your wrists and hands if your keyboard is above your elbows because this puts strain on your hands and elbows to hold themselves up rather than relaxing at a natural level.
It is okay to set your desk slightly lower than the height discussed, but never higher. Your elbows, wrists, and shoulders suffer the consequences when you have to slightly reach up to type or move the mouse. A good rule of thumb is to always go lower rather than higher if you are unsure.
Benefits of Correct Desk Height
There are a lot of benefits to enjoy once your desk is at the perfect height. Sometimes making a small change at your workstation can result in a world of difference.
The importance of proper desk height is essential to a comfortable workplace. If your desk, standing or sitting, is not at the correct height it results in back pain, neck pain, permanent back or disc damage, or unnecessary tension in the shoulders and neck.
A comfortable worker is almost guaranteed to be more productive than one focused on their discomfort or pain. Humans have difficulty ignoring pain, and they shouldn’t have to at their job. You don’t have to settle for a working position that strains your body when the solution is as simple as raising or lowering your work surface.
People who love their standing desks report they feel much productive on their feet and get more work done as opposed to when they work sitting in a chair. This can be due to efficient blood circulation resulting in a more energized worker.
Another reason standing desks contribute to productivity is by keeping people on their feet they can more easily move around to complete tasks and stay busy. If the desk is set to the wrong height, individuals will feel sore and uncomfortable which typically halts productivity.
Many people don’t realize the immense strain technology puts on our bodies. And it isn’t just our eyes or fingertips — our entire body that suffers when we neglect proper posture and comfort standards. An incorrect desk height results in tension in the neck and shoulders that, in extreme cases, can lead to spinal curvature.
Maintaining a proper desk height saves you not only a great deal of bodily pain but also saves you money on medical expenses like chiropractors, acupuncturists, masseuses, and even surgery in the worst scenarios.
It’s pertinent to your back and neck comfort to adjust your desk to the ideal height for your height. By taking the time to figure out your perfect desk height and implementing it, you create a much more comfortable workspace for yourself and improve productivity.
Even if you don’t think you are experiencing neck stress or other issues caused by an incorrect desk height, it is still worth it to re-do the desk to be sure it is optimal for you and your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a good desk height for everyone?
There is no uniform height that will work for all people. That is why it is vital to determine the ideal height for you to optimize your workspace.
Does my monitor height matter?
Yes, the height and angle of your monitor are just as important as the height of your desk. A monitor placed too high or low, or angled incorrectly leads to neck pain, eye strain, and other physical issues. It can also reduce productivity as it becomes harder to focus on a screen that is inconveniently positioned.
Where should my keyboard be?
Most leave their keyboard flat in front of their monitor. This is very common and acceptable, but adding a keyboard tray or keyboard raiser to your setup can alleviate stress on your wrists and elbows.