Finding the ideal desk height is an important, but often overlooked, part of office ergonomics. Many workers don’t give it any thought and concentrate on other parts of their workstation such as the chair and monitor. But finding the perfect work surface height can go a long way to improving your comfort, safety and productivity at work.
Standard Desk Height
Built-in and non-adjustable desks have a standard height, but if you can alter the desk height, you have the freedom to choose the height of your desk based on comfort and your body. It’s a given your office will have many employees of varying heights, therefore a standard non-adjustable desk isn't ideal for all.
Correct Seated Desk Height
While the standard height of an office desk is 73-80 cm, the ideal situation is when the height of the desk depends on its user. Tall people need to raise their chair so when their feet are flat on the floor, their legs are at right angle to their back. With a raised seat, taller workers may need a taller desk so their legs have clearance under the desk. The desk height will also impact your seated posture.
Your feet should sit flat on the floor while sitting at a desk. If the desk or chair is a fixed height and you’re shorter than the average adult, it’s likely you will need a footrest so your feet don’t dangle above the floor.
When the height of both the computer desk and chair are adjustable, it’s possible for you to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, whatever your height. Check your knees are in line or slightly lower than your hips.
The best desk height allows your arms to sit in a comfortable right angle position. As tempting as it may be when you’re tired, try not to rest your hands on the keyboard.
Ideally, your elbows should be roughly a 90 degree angle. If you have armrests, don’t raise them too high so that your shoulders sit in an unnaturally-high position which can also cause problems for your neck.
Sit right at the back of your chair’s seat not the front so you don’t slouch. The chair’s back should recline slightly at around 110 degrees and provide support to your upper and lower back.
Ensure your often used items are within easy reach. It’s important to have painless movement at all times whether you’re typing or reaching for a file.
As good as your workstation ergonomics and posture may be, nothing beats getting up from your desk and moving around the office to avoid musculoskeletal injuries.
Correct Standing Desk Height
Some would argue that finding the correct height for a standing desk is more difficult than a seated desk. With many seated desks being fixed, you have plenty of choice in how high your standing desk is.
How Tall or Short Are You?
A standing desk height is determined by how tall you are. Adjust the height of your standing desk so it’s the same height as your elbow in a 90 degree angle.
Check the lowest setting for your sit stand desk. If you aren’t as tall as six feet and your desk doesn’t lower any less than 73 cm, it may be too high when you’re seated.
A steady work surface is important for reducing the risk of injury particularly if it’s holding multiple monitors. Many workers have found their standing desk wasn’t suitable when they lent on the edge and had the contents of their desk fall off.
Before purchasing a standing desk, ensure you can get it to extend to the correct desk height for you and the surface is big and strong enough to hold your equipment and you leaning on it. Visiting a showroom to try one out and get professional advice is ideal.
Correct Chair Height
A worker’s build and the way they work will determine how far up or down the chair should be. The optimal height of your chair allows you to sit with your elbows in line with the edge of the desk and feet are flat on the ground.
Comfort is important when you’re at work all day. Being comfortable, you’re not only reducing the risk of experiencing pain or injury, but also fatigue which leads to poor productivity.
When choosing a new ergonomic office chair, make sure it conforms to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4438-1997 (“Height-adjustable swivel chairs”).
If you have any queries about office ergonomics, visit our Perth showroom, call us on (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.