Proper Height of Standing Desk - Full Guide & Calculator
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Proper Height of Standing Desk - Full Guide & Calculator

AutonomousAutonomous | Sep 28, 2020
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People have spent many years doing nothing but sitting in a traditional workspace. As research emerged and continues to emerge, the disadvantages of consistently being in a seated position progressively come to light. That's why getting and properly adjusting the height of a standing desk are critical considerations.

The desk type is not new, as it has been available for many years. However, the popularity of these items has increased more than ever before. More people are learning how essential they can be to a healthy life, and many make considerations for the proper height for a standing desk. 

Additionally, it's essential to learn how to use the standing desk properly and acquire other accessories to make your entire work experience that much more pleasurable. Note that this doesn't mean the best way to go through the day is to stand consistently. Conversely, getting the most significant health benefit out of your standing desk may mean using appropriate time intervals to alternate between sitting and standing.

This is one of the reasons why adjustable standing desks are the best ones to have. If your desk isn't adjustable, then you would need to use either two different workstations or a chair that can get to a very high vertical level. The latter is not the safest solution, so the ability to adjust your desk's height is essential.

1. Sitting and Standing Desk Height

The idea behind the standing desk height calculator is to provide a recommendation of where your desk should be at both the seated and standing positions. These suggested levels are based on ergonomic principles geared towards the fit between you, your work environment, and the tools you use with adequate considerations for productivity, health, and safety.

You can refer to the standing desk height chart below to help you decide the best adjustments to use for your work. Just in case you want to know how things should feel, here is a bit of advice you can use to choose the proper height for your standing desk. 

Sitting and Standing Desk Height

1.1. Standing Position

What should you look out for in your standing position how to use standing desk height calculator? First, you need to ensure that the height of the standing desk matches that of your elbows. Begin by bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle. As you do this, your neck should remain neutral, and your wrists should be directly in front of you. Once you get into this position, adjust the desk until it is adequately aligned with your forearms. Your forearms should be in a parallel position at this point. 

When you touch your keyboard, your hands should gently float over it in its straight position. Don't use the stands to incline the keyboard upward while you are doing this alignment. Your wrists should feel straight and relaxed, and there should be no curve up or down. It's okay for your fingers to hang a bit to reach the keyboard, but the wrist is never supposed to follow suit. Taking this approach prevents any injuries to both your hands and your arms.

Standing position

Take extra caution to ensure that your wrists remain parallel to the surface of the desk. Note that even if you achieve this initially and you must incline them up or down for any reason while you work, your desk needs an adjustment. If you repeatedly extend your wrist, you put yourself at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome because of the compression you place on the wrists' internal structure. 

How does your posture fit into the equation? First, your neck should be straight, and your shoulders should be relaxed. While you don't want the bend to be too much, put a slight bend in your knees to prevent them from locking out while you make the adjustments. If the height of the standing desk is selected with locked knees, you may find the desk uncomfortable to use when you are more relaxed. 

The idea of going about it that way is to get your spine in a neutral position. Your spine gets support from various muscles, and when its position is correct, the body receives that support in equal measure. Strain and pain get into the equation once that balance is thrown off.

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1.2. Seated Position 

What is different from the seated position? When you are sitting, you must make considerations for both the height of the standing desk and the chair you are using. The top of the cushion needs to be parallel to the base of your knees. Additionally, ensure that your feet are as flat as can be on the floor. 

You never want to be on your toes. Note that your knees should not be firmly pressed against the front edge of the seat. Instead, a full gap should be there, and your feet are to be parallel to the floor with a 90-degree angle. If you adjust your ergonomic chair appropriately, you reduce the potential risk of experiencing back pain.

Seated position

The next step is to adjust the desk with standing desk height calculator based on the height of your elbows. Begin by bending your elbows to get a 90-degree angle. At this point, your arms should not be tucked at your sides. The best position to have them in is one where they are loosely alongside your torso, and the armrests should barely touch your elbows, as opposed to being firmly pressed against them. Your hands should float over the keyboard, and your wrists should always be relaxed. 

As is the case with the standing position, dealing with abnormal wrist movements can increase the likelihood of your developing conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

It would help if you also made considerations for your posture as you sit. Once you remain upright, the chair's backrest should provide adequate spine support. Note that the best chairs either have a curve or cushion that meets the hollow of your back. 

If your positioning is awkward, there's more significant pressure on your vertebrae, which puts you at greater risk for back pain. You don't have to worry about dealing with such health concerns with an ergonomic office chairs with lumbar support.

Note that it's best to use the chair without armrests if you cannot get them low enough to prevent your elbow from being elevated. At an elevated level, you keep your neck and shoulders tense throughout your entire sitting session. An excellent point to note is that your chair should fit properly under your desk even with the armrests attached. 

While there are many computer chairs available, it's best to get an ergonomic chair, as it is specifically designed to support your spine's curve. You can end up slouching if you sit in an improper chair for long periods, heightening your risk of back pain. You'd be surprised to feel the difference when you have a proper chair.

So, with all that in mind, how high should a standing desk be? It's recommended to use all the guidelines above to ensure that you feel as comfortable as possible. Once your body's various areas are in the right positions, you generally shouldn't have a problem.  

2. How to Setup Your Ergonomic Workspace

Do you need to do anything to the rest of your workspace? The height of your standing desk is one consideration, but the rest of your equipment also needs to facilitate your continued comfort while you work. You may find that based on how the components you use to work are placed, you still feel slightly achy even when your standing desk and ergonomic chair are where they should be.

Ergonomic workspace

Sometimes it takes working for long hours to realize the inefficiencies, but your immediate work environment must support your bid to stay comfortable and healthy. Whether you are in a traditional office or home office environment, there is not usually much stopping you from making little adjustments to make yourself more comfortable.

An important point to note is that even if you have taken all the suggestions, your positioning is right, and you still feel uncomfortable, there may be something else at play. Sometimes, people require specialized equipment, such as alternate ergonomically designed mice, to alleviate underlying conditions. Therefore, if you notice that things are still off with you after taking the recommendations, see a doctor as soon as possible. 

2.1. Keyboard and Mouse Placement

The first area of discussion is your keyboard and mouse placement. If these are not set up correctly, the height of your standing desk, according to standing desk height chart, can't fully compensate for them. As indicated above, you must always maintain a natural posture, which is one that keeps your elbows floating at your sides with a 90-degree angle. You cannot allow the muscle load balance to be thrown off, as that is where the strain begins to start. 

Your keyboard should be one or two inches above your size. In most cases, a pull-out ergonomic keyboard tray achieves the optimal distance. While keyboard tilting is not completely necessary, most people tilt the keyboard toward them. Ideally, the keyboard should be tilted in the opposite direction, as it's at its healthiest when it follows the downward slope of your thighs.

Keyboard and mouse placement

The kickstand under standard keyboards is not designed to achieve this outcome, so it's never recommended for you to use them. Regarding how far the keyboard and mouse should be from each other, use your shoulders as a guide. One item should be directly in front of one shoulder, while the other remains in front of the other shoulder.

Consider getting yourself a keyboard that does not feature a numeric pad. That's because traditional keyboards put the letter keys off-center. That's a problem because most of the time spent working on the keyboard involves using these buttons. 

2.2. Standing Desk 

The height of your standing desk was covered above, but what about the desk itself? As you probably inferred, getting your hands on an adjustable desk is more important than you can imagine. Autonomous offers a slew of standing desk options that are bound to fit your needs.

The first option is the Autonomous SmartDesk Core. It's an industry-standard offering where private workspaces are concerned. The materials used are top-notch, there is a wide surface area for all their equipment, and you can get the height of the standing desk to wherever you need since it accommodates short, average, or tall people. Note that the desk comes in two sizes, depending on how large a workspace you want. 

Standing desk

Another great choice is the Autonomous SmartDesk Pro. This desk is the next step up, and it fits both the home and traditional office contexts in equal measure. The same quality materials and design choices as the Home Office edition are here, but there is better height support. This standing desk option is also available in the same two sizes as the previous entry. 

The final option, which is for those who have a bit more space and want a corner desk, is the Autonomous SmartDesk Corner. The design of this standing desk takes the optimization of the previous two to the next level. With incredibly strong materials, easy adjustability of both sides, and an even faster adjustment speed, getting the height of your standing desk to where it should be is never a problem.

All these desk offerings have free 30-day trials available, so you can test the Autonomous quality before diving all the way in. Additionally, the desks are all motorized, so adjusting the height of your standing desk is not a manual process.

2.3. Ergonomic Chair

Ergonomic chair importance was discussed in detail above. So, which ergonomic chair do you use to give you the customizability and support your body needs? Look no further than the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro

Ergonomic chair

The chair is adjustable in just about every way it should be, and it provides the adequate lumbar support that you need. There's no need for you to worry about adequately matching your standing desk’s height while in your seated position. Should you choose to combine the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro with one of the desk options above, setting up your ergonomic workspace is that much easier.

2.4. Screen Placement

Screen placement is another crucial factor, but it's not as complicated as you may think if you set the height of your standing desk right. The main point is that you don't want your screen to be too far away. If it is, you are likely to find yourself involuntarily craning your neck.

Screen Placement

Finding the appropriate space requires you to do nothing more than sitting back and extending your arm. Once the tip of your middle finger touches your screen, that's it. If you have a dual-monitor setup, place them based on the way you use them. If you use them equally, center the monitors as best as possible with no gap between them. If you use one primarily, put the second one off-center.

Important Considerations For Making The Proper Height

When it comes to using an adjustable standing desk, arguably the most important consideration to be kept in mind is the standing desk height with standing desk height chart and calculator. Deriving all the benefits a standing desk has to offer requires correctly adjusting it to your height and needs. 

From the health point of view, it is important to figure out how you can achieve this optimum height and distance level with your adjustable standing desk. Read on to know how you can calculate this ideal range and eye height.

Typing Position: L-Shape

Working with the wrong typing posture and positions can lead to discomfort and wrist pains, even resulting in reduced work output. A little too close, and you’ll find yourself cramming uncomfortably to type with speed. A little too distant, and it will be difficult to easily reach all keys on the board.

This can, fortunately, be avoided by paying due attention to the placement of your wrists and elbows relative to the keyboard. The accurate amount of gap can help maximize comfort and the speed of typing. This can, therefore, make a huge difference to your experience of working at a desk.

Luckily for you, there is a tested way to ensure the distance between your elbows and the keyboard or the mouse is just right. First, keep the keyboard and the mouse on the same level surface. Make sure these are at a distance that enables you to keep your elbows in line with your body.

Desk typing position

Begin typing on the keyboard or using the mouse or touchpad, and take note of the positions of your wrist. While operating these, ensure you keep your wrists straight, your hands below or right at the level of your elbows, and your upper arms next to your body.

In this position, with the right gap, you should be able to press the keys at the far end of the board while keeping your elbows at 90 degrees. In case of any discrepancy, tweak the keyboard tray angle to achieve the desired position.

Typing position

With the upper edge of the screen ideally at the level of your eye, you should not have to tilt or incline your neck to view the screen from the right angle. When using a laptop, you would need to adjust the keyboard to match your elbow height.

This can, however, mean you incline the screen further backward and your neck and eyes downward. Such a posture is far from ideal, especially for prolonged use. You may have found your wrists aching over an extended period of computer use.

This makes it absolutely important to find the right, functional position for your wrists while working. This can help you avoid unnecessary wrist strain, whether you work standing or seated.

There is a difference in angle when you are sitting from when you are standing. The angle better-suited to work while standing would be a little upward-inclined and extended than the former.

Greater frequency and intensity of wrist discomfort and even pain, has been found among those who fail to make these adjustments when changing their mode of work. They need to discern between the needs of the two positions when swapping the posture.

In both positions, you should be able to type in an L-shape. This can only happen when the keyboard is below your elbow as you type. You will find this to be the most comfortable typing position. People with a height of around 5 feet should type 22” above the ground. 

If you are taller than 6’3”, you need to make sure the standing desk height is enough for you to type in the desired L-shape too. Otherwise, you'll be typing close to your waist, which will unnaturally extend your wrist, stressing the tendons and ligaments.

Even after taking care of these precautions, if you continue to suffer from sore wrists every now and then, you might want to go for a relatively tall standing desk or adaptable stand for the keyboard and gel mouse pads to ensure proper support.

Eye Height

Once you correctly determine the suitable distance of the keyboard from your elbows while typing, you know the right standing desk height to achieve the L-shape. As important as the gap between the elbows and the keyboard is the distance between the screen and your eyes.

To achieve this, first, place the monitor straight in front of you on the table. It should at least be a length of an arm away. The upper edge of the display needs to be directly at or slightly below your eye level, but not above.

Eye height of office desk

In case you use bifocal lenses or glasses, you need to lower the screen by an additional inch or two, around 3-5 cm, to achieve optimum viewing. The position of the monitor on the table should be such that the principal source of light is at the side. If there are two monitors, their locations need to be fixed depending on the time you spend working on each. If both are used about the same, positioning them side by side in front of you would be better. If one is used significantly more than the other, it should be in direct line of sight while the other can be placed to the side.

In a nutshell, the thing to remember is that your eyes need to be directly lined up with the upper two or three inches of the screen. This needs to be the case regardless of whether you are sitting or standing. 

If you have a height of around 5 feet, make sure the standing desk height adjustment enables the display to line up properly when sitting. Some desk-on-desk do not adjust appropriately, making you extend your head to achieve the right viewing.

Eye height of office desk

In case you are on the taller side of the spectrum, you could find yourself flexing or bending your neck to better view the screen. Make sure that isn’t the case as each inch you bend your chin closer to your chest, you add 10 lb pressure to your back. When your chin is in contact with your chest, there is around 40 lb of extra pressure.

If you have a desk that doesn’t meet this requirement, but you don’t want to go for a replacement, you can opt for a good ergonomic office chair or an ergonomic chair with back support instead to achieve the right relative height.

Tips to Use a Standing Desk Correctly with Proper Height

tips

When it comes to using a standing desk, you need to know this: how high should a standing desk be? From there, you also have to focus on setting up the desk properly and having it at the right height for you to sit and stand.

Here are a few more tips to help you effectively use your standing desk properly:

Alternate Between Sitting and Standing

Many people believe that they should stand for long periods. However, this isn’t healthy for your body and can affect the connective tissues, tendons, and muscles within your legs and feet. Sometimes, it causes varicose veins because your body is always working hard.

alternate

Still, you can’t sit down the entire day and expect anything better. Your leg muscles start atrophying (losing mass) because you’re never working them. Plus, you’re sitting with the knees bent, so there’s no flexion.

Therefore, you shouldn’t sit or stand all day and should alternate between the two. This doesn’t mean standing for four hours during an eight-hour workday and sitting for the rest of the time. Instead, you should schedule sit-stand sessions that meet all of your needs. Usually, you’re standing for an hour or so and sitting for an hour.

Purchase an Anti-Fatigue Mat

Working from home often means that you’ve got to purchase all the accessories you might need. The three most important products are a standing desk, ergonomic chair, and an anti-fatigue mat.

What is it? These mats are often cushioned and can reduce the tiredness in your legs from standing on hard surfaces for long periods. Most remote workers have carpeting where they work, but that might not be enough to protect them from the damages of standing up. On top of that, you could be working in the kitchen because there’s no other space.

Generally, kitchens use laminate, which is less cushioned than carpet and is hard to stand on for long periods. Most of these anti-fatigue mats are made of different materials, such as rubber, vinyl, and much more.

purchase anti fatigue mat

To get the effects of it, just stand on it. Your feet have to adapt to the cushiony surface. Therefore, the muscles in the calves and feet expand and contract to activate the blood to pump up to the heart and back down again.

Many people sway gently back and forth on their feet, too. This can help you so that you’re not standing in one place for long periods.

On top of that, anti-fatigue mats can help your knees. Most people don’t realize it, but their knees can suffer and become swollen. They bear a lot of the compressive force and weight while you stand. This can strain your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, too.

The good news here is you can use your mat in your home office with your sit-stand desk. However, you may also employ it when you’re in the kitchen chopping and preparing meals. That way, your feet and legs are more comfortable while you’re doing everyday tasks.

Use Arm Supports

You’ve probably heard that office chairs come with armrests, and newer models allow you to move them to fit your body comfortably. In a chair, you want the elbows to be at 90 degrees, with the wrists falling gently off the edge of the armrest in a relaxed state.

However, you may not know that you can find arm supports for your standing desk! They work similarly to those on a chair, but you purchase them and install them for your desk.

arm suppot

Usually, they have the base that screws on like a vice to your desk on each side. Then, a moving arm comes out with the armrest attached to it. It’s padded for comfort, and you can put it where you need it most.

That way, it’s easy to rest the arms while you’re not typing or doing other tasks. If you get the right placement of the armrest, you can even type with it, keeping your wrists in line while relieving most of the pressure.

Take Breaks

Everyone knows that they can’t work nonstop from start to finish. Breaks are a daily part of your routine, and if they aren’t, you should make them so. However, what is effective breaktime, and how do you use it effectively?

Generally, there are various break types, and you should implement many or all of them into your routine to help with productivity. For example, you should take at least 30 minutes each day for your lunch, and some people believe that 45 minutes is the best way to go.

breaks

Five-minute breaks are also important. You may choose to sit or stand, but you’re not focused on work. Consider doing a quick puzzle game on your phone, go outside and walk around or stretch, or simply close your eyes and focus on breathing.

Another thing to consider is using an afternoon break with the others. You may choose to eat a power snack or go for a 10-minute walk. Regardless, these stops during the day let you refocus and refuel so that you’re ready to keep going!

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