Did you know that approximately 80% of people experience back pain at least once during their lives? Also, a high percentage of workplace injuries result from back problems such as herniated disks and lumbago.
This is why having an ergonomic computer desk is ideal. Also, it is vital to know your ideal desk height, how to reduce discomfort, and how to support your body properly whilst working in an office environment. But how high should a desk be? This post will discuss these pointers below and address this question to avoid pains and injuries at work.
Why Desk Height Matters?
First, you must understand the importance of desk height. Why does it matter? Sitting at a desk helps prevent you from back pains and injuries, especially if you often sit for a long time. On the other hand, if your desk height is not at the correct position for your body, it will cause you to sit in an awkward position.
For example, if the desk is too high, your arms will rest at an upward angle. This, in turn, would place a strain on your shoulders, elbows, and upper arms. Alternatively, if your desk was too low, your arms and shoulders will be angled downwards. This again could put a strain on your arms and cause you to arch your back, leading to back problems.
The desk height also affects your chair height, and this can be another area of discomfort. Ideally, your thighs should be at a 90-degree angle to your body. Also, your shins should be straight to the ground, and your feet should be able to sit flat on the floor. This promotes proper blood flow and gives your legs and back the support they need.
Therefore, if your desk is too high, you may have to raise your chair height. As a result, your legs and feet may be angled downwards, which can cause pain. Alternatively, if your desk is too low, your chair may have to be much lower. This may result in your legs arching upwards which can place a strain on your back and thighs.
This is why having an optimal desk height is incredibly important. It can ensure you are comfortable whilst working long hours at a computer. Also, it can boost your productivity and help you concentrate. Finally, it also greatly reduces the chance of workstation injuries and pains.
A Simple Calculation for Your Ideal Desk Height
How to find your ideal desk height to avoid back problems http://ow.ly/3AXzQ
— Profitable Knowledge (@ProfitableInfo) January 10, 2011
When looking at desk height, you have to remember the general construction tendencies of desk manufacturers. Office equipment manufacturers produce desks and other items based on averages.
For example, the standard desk height is around 73cm. This is meant for people who are of average height. But what about people who are smaller or taller? This average height in these situations becomes less than ideal. But don’t worry! There is a simple formula you can use to find the optimal height for your desk:
Formula – your height in inches + 1 = height of desk in CM
Let’s look at an example. Person A is 5 feet and 9 inches (175cm).
Step 1: Convert the height to inches = 69 inches.
Step 2: Add 1 to the height in inches = 70 inches.
As a result, the ideal height for someone who is 5 feet and 9 inches is 70cm or 27.5 inches! Simple!
Please note that this is a sitting desk height. There are different measurements for standings desks, and this isn’t as easy to calculate. When considering a standing desk, the main rule is that the desk should be set to your elbow height.
Therefore, your upper arm should be by your side when standing, whilst your forearm should be perpendicular, at a 90-degree angle, and flat on the workstation surface. If you want a standing desk, you can get someone to measure the height of your elbows when your arms are in the correct position for a standing desk.
Tips to Improve Your Sitting Posture and Comfort
Now that you clearly understand ergonomic office desk heights, we can provide some useful tips! Of course, having the correct desk height is just one aspect of an ergonomic workplace. Other considerations include your monitor, keyboard, and the position of your various body parts.
Consider Investing in a Height-Adjustable Desk
I have an L-shaped height adjustable desk, and love it! The bonus for my short legs is that I can have the height lower than standard desk height, and stand when I want to. I also used to have a yoga ball chair for a mid-height option, but it took up too much space. pic.twitter.com/RJUtdSADcx
— Krista Marcon, MD FRCPC (@KristaMarcon) May 23, 2021
Adjustable desks are the way forward! Many offices now have adjustable desks that can be suitable for anyone, regardless of their height. You may also want to consider a standing desk. Changeable standing desks are excellent equipment that you can switch between a standing desk or a sitting desk.
If you feel uncomfortable or need to exercise your legs, you can switch the adjustable desk to a standing position and stand for a while!
Position Your Monitor Correctly
Working from home? Make sure you are set up correctly with:
💺 A suitable chair
🖥️ Correct position of your screen, monitor and mouse
🚶♀️ Regular breaks from the screen to move around
— Public Health Essex (@EssexPH) June 30, 2020
A poorly positioned monitor can result in poor posture and back and neck pains. For example, if your monitor is too low, you may have to look down slightly. This can cause issues with your neck; our heads are surprisingly heavy, so it puts a lot of strain on your neck when you constantly lean it forward.
Therefore, you should adjust your monitor so you can look at any part of it without angling your neck. A height-adjustable monitor is a great option here. A height-adjustable monitor will have an adjustable arm so you can quickly raise or lower the height in line with your eyes. Also, consider the angle – it should be angled slightly upwards.
Position Your Keyboard and Mouse Correctly
Positioning your keyboard can help reduce pain and strain on your forearms, hands, and wrists. Unfortunately, many people have their keyboard either too close or too far away from their bodies. This causes their arms to be in a strange position and their posture to suffer as a result.
Your keyboard should be positioned in line with your elbows. Also, when sitting or standing, your keyboard should be positioned so that your forearms can lie flat on the desk surface, with your upper arm being perpendicular and elbows bent at 90-degrees.
Ensure Your Legs and Feet Are in the Correct Sitting Position
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When sat at an office desk, you also need to give thought to the correct posture of your feet and legs. Do not cross your legs! This can reduce the blood flow and could even cause clotting issues. Also, your feet should be flat on the floor when sat in your office chair. If you can’t do this due to having shorter legs, consider buying a footrest.
Give Your Back Full Support
Over sitting, you need something to support your back
— Darker skinn_⏱_ (@BradleyCarlvin1) May 23, 2021
Back support is also vital! It would help if you sat in a position so that your back is fully supported by the back of your office chair – particularly the lower part of your back. Also, ensure that your shoulders are loose, as tight shoulders can place tension on your back.
No More Back Pains
Remember to calculate your ideal desk height when sitting, convert your height into inches, and add one to the total! It’s that simple! Also, consider the other tips we have provided so you can sit comfortably and avoid any injuries and pains whilst working at your office desk!
To have optimal posture, you need to consider more than just how high should a desk be to avoid aches and pains.