The standard height of a desk is 28-30”. According to the ergonomic desk height calculator, a 28”-30” inch tall desk is appropriate for a 6’ tall person. But an examination of the distribution of the US population by height reveals that 95 percentile of US men fell below the height of 6’ while 90 percentile of women fell below 5’6”. Hence it is accurate to say that the standard desk is too tall for a majority of the US population.
While typing on a desk that is way above your comfort zone, your arms need to be raised, which strains the shoulders. One leans forward to be closer to the monitor screen, and keyboard/mouse, and wrists are broken while typing. The lower back, upper back, shoulder blades as well as neck are stressed. And if you continue to type like this for days together, shoulder aches, and hurtful knots in neck muscles, wrist, and forearm pain become common. Very soon you may need medical attention.
Your workstation consists of a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, computer, monitor, and optional elements like a footrest or floormat. Whenever there is an ergonomic imbalance in the workstation – the desk is uncomfortably high, chair has no lumbar support or the keyboard is painfully high – it is extremely important that all the elements of a workstation are considered in unison. A recommendation for one – say a desk – cannot be made without taking into account the chair’s seat height and the keyboard height.
Here’s a detailed explanation –
There are four types of solutions we offer when we find that a user’s desk is too high for him or her.
Solutions 1 and 2 are sitting-only solutions, that is, if your desk is a fixed height desk and allows you to work while sitting only.
- Raise the height of the chair (with a tall cylinder) + add a footrest to rest the feet – One of the most basic features in any chair, irrespective of the price, is height adjustment. So, if the desktop is too high to type, raise the chair height till your shoulders are relaxed while typing (assuming your keyboard and mouse are on the desktop) and elbows are bent at 90-100 degrees. In the process of raising the seat height, don’t forget about the feet. Your feet need to be secure and stable on a flat surface like a footrest. Please note that a footrest also adds some height to your feet.
Given a choice, this solution will be our last preference because a footrest is certainly not like a floor. Besides moving footrest to the side every time and standing up while taking support of the desktop strains the arms. It is also highly inconvenient.
Installing an under-desk keyboard tray underneath the desktop is the best solution for a fixed-height desk. Under-desk keyboard trays lower the keyboard height by 6” from the standard desktop height of 29”-30” making the typing solution suitable for even a 5’2” tall person. These trays bring the keyboard close to the lap allowing you to type with relaxed, neutral position shoulders, straight wrists and forearms, and elbows close to the body.
Please input your height into the workspace planner for better understanding.
In ergonomics and wellness, it is said that the best position is the next position. Going by this adage, there is nothing worse than a sedentary position or sitting at a computer for prolonged hours. Hence, we recommend a standing desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing positions.
Given below are two solutions for sitting and standing while working –
3. Place Desk converter on your fixed-height desk – For users who have a glass desk or those who do not want to change their fixed-height desk, converters are a convenient in-between solution, halfway between an under-desk keyboard tray and a height adjustable desk. Desk converters come in a single, handy unit and are ready to use as soon as placed on top of the desk. No installation is needed. Just make sure that the desk converter has an under-desk keyboard tray so that the sitting position is ergonomic as well.
4. Replace the existing fixed-height desk with a Height adjustable desk – (Best among sit-stand solutions). The market is swamped today with electric desks that start around 27”-28” in height. They are of no use to an average height person like me, unless I install an under-desk keyboard tray, which mounts to an additional expense. At 5’5”, I need the table surface to be lower at a height of 25”. At this height, I can place the keyboard tray and mouse on the desktop and type with relaxed shoulders, elbows close to the body and bent at 90-100 degrees, and straight wrists.
Please input your height into our workspace planner, determine your typing height while sitting and make sure that your desired electric desk lowers to that height.
If you are in the market for a height adjustable or an electric desk, please be mindful of the lowest height the desk reaches. Just because it allows you to sit and stand while working does not mean, the sitting and standing position is ergonomically optimal. Ensure that the electric desk lowers to at least 22”-23” so that even a petite person can sit with relaxed shoulders, and elbows close to the body, and bent at 90-100 degrees.
Please fill out ErgoDirect’s desk finder form to receive customized desk recommendations.