What Is the Ideal Standing Desk Height? How To Get The Perfect Height
The ideal standing desk height is important as it helps you eliminate back pain by maintaining a good posture. It also helps to promote better work productivity. Since the ideal height of a desktop in the standing and seated positions will differ from person to person, this guide outlines the steps you need to take to set the correct height.
- The ideal height of a desktop should be enough to ensure that your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.
- The appropriate height of your monitor can be derived by adjusting your eye level to the top third of your screen.
- Most electric standing desks have digital keypads with memory functions where you can save your ideal heights.
What Height should a standing desk be?
The proper standing desk height is the distance between the floor and your bent elbows at a 90-degree angle. This distance is measured when you’re standing next to the desk and in an upright and relaxed working position. A few things that influence this height include your height, shoe height, a monitor stand, and monitor height for your standing desk. While every person is different, a few examples of standing workstation heights are in the table below to help you confirm the correct ergonomic desk height.
|Your Height (m)
|Standing Desk Height (m)
Steps to determine the perfect Standing Desk height
The perfect height for an adjustable standing desk can be determined in two steps. Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1 – Stand up next to the desk
You should start by standing up in front of the desk with a natural and neutral back posture. Elevate the desk so that your wrists sit straight on the keyboard and continue doing so until you can rest your wrists straight on the desktop in a natural typing position. The keyboard should be close enough to your body so that you don’t arch your upper back to reach it. Adjust the desk to naturally support your wrists with a 90-degree bent elbow angle.
The correct working position is based on bent elbows at 90 degrees. A standing desk that is too high will elevate your wrists at a slight angle. A desktop that’s too low comes with a hanging position for the hands and a larger angle at the elbows. Both the standing and the sitting working posture need to be based on a 90-degree angle.
Step 2 – Level the top third of the monitor with your eyes
Adjusting the monitor height is equally as important as the desk level. Ergonomic monitor elevation such as a monitor stand can elevate the top part of the display to your eye level. Poor posture at the desk is often favoured by a monitor that’s either too low or too high. The distance to the monitor is also important for the correct sitting posture. Most research suggests an optimum distance between 40cm and 75cm between your head and the display.
Calculating the Minimum and maximum Desk heights
You can calculate the proper height of adjustable standing desks based on your height. There’s a maximum height and a minimum height for your standing work position that’s based on your height to take into account. Here’s how to calculate it.
- Measure your exact height (with shoes) – your exact height determines the ideal height of your adjustable sit-stand desk.
- Subtract 21.5cm for minimum desk height – your height (180cm) – 21.5cm shows the minimum desk height elevation.
- Subtract 15.2cm for maximum desk height – your height – 15.2cm shows the maximum ideal desk height.
setting the ideal height for manual and electric standing desks
There are 2 main types of sit-stand desks, those where you need to manually lift the desktop and those where an electric motor does it for you. Most of the best standing desks come with a digital display showing the exact height from the floor, however, this can’t be said with manually adjusted crank-based desks. Setting the ideal height for manual or electric standing desks is done differently.
crank-based stand up desks
Crank adjustable sitting and standing desks take longer to adjust to your height. You may need to measure the elevation for the first few uses until you can find the best elevation for your standing position. Since most manual wind desks don’t come with a digital height panel, you will need to ensure that your desk is at the correct height each time you decide to work standing up.
electric Motor standing desks
Depending on your electric desk, electronic height adjustments may or may not be shown on a digital display. Those with a digital display will show real-time height (as measured from the floor). Once you know your ideal desk elevation, you can simply elevate or lower your desk to your desired height which is shown on the digital display. Most electronic controllers have memory settings where you can program the standing desk to save your ideal desktop height. Australian models such as the Omnidesk Pro 2020 pictured below will allow you to set up to 4 heights with their memory features. Once you find your ideal height, you can save it as a pre-defined position for later use.
Some motor-driven standing desks won’t come with a digital panel to display the height of the desktop, and instead, adjustable up and down buttons may only be available.
The productivity benefits of setting the right standing desk height
Once you bring the desk surface to the correct elevation for arm support you find that the standing posture becomes manageable and even pleasant. Proper back posture improves overall posture and blood flow, and it may even activate posture muscles such as those around the spine or leg muscles. There are clear benefits to using a standing desk at the correct elevation when it comes to productivity.
A welcomed boost in energy
Research shows those working at a standing desk show a boost in energy levels. This is a type of more active working compared to long hours of sitting and feeling energy-drained. Since our work culture is based around 8-hour days, you need to learn how to boost your energy levels at work to have more energy in general. A minimalist desk that goes up and down boosts overall energy levels so you feel fresher during the day.
Higher productivity through enhanced focus
Another common reason to see these adjustable desks as ideal for productivity comes through better focus. This is proven both in the workplace and at school. Researchers show even young students have better focus capacity when using a standing desk in the classroom.
While the focus distance to the computer screen remains the same as with a regular desk, the higher energy levels standing comes with determines improved focus capacity.
Better in-office communication
Research in the space of standing while working is ongoing. Some of the latest data suggest workers in offices with standing desks have improved communication. More energetic office space and improved blood flow come with a boost in energy and with an overall boost in communication skills. Workers are more likely to engage one another and even to break the ice in communication when talking about standing desks.
Higher productivity is also sustained by healthier employees. Better posture, improved blood flow, and enhanced communication skills eventually lead to a healthier lifestyle. Healthy workers are less likely to take sick days off and more likely to feel good and more productive at work.
ergonomic reasons why you should set the correct standing desk height
The time you spend sitting is a time that’s generally detrimental to your health, especially in the long term. Some of the benefits of standing desks take time to see, but they are visible right away with things like posture and back pain.
Reduced back strain
Long hours of sitting while working put a lot of pressure on the back. Lower back pain needs management measures to eliminate. In many cases, doing simple stretches when your back is already in pain can cause more harm than good and it may lead to issues such as muscle strain.
Standing for at least as long as sitting reduces this constant back strain. A weak back, abdomen, and hip muscles cannot properly support your spine and may lead to back pain. You actively engage these posture muscles and reverse this problem by standing more.
Better standing posture
Another key benefit from using a standing regularly is improved posture. This should be visible right away. One of the key postural problems workers has while sitting is forward head tilt. This can be eliminated when you stand correctly easier than when sitting as you tend to slouch when sitting.
Better sitting posture
Apart from aiding your standing posture, a standing desk may also strengthen postural muscles and make you sit in a better position as well. The muscles that support the spine work more which means they’re likely to be more engaged when sitting as well.
Accessories to help adjust desk for proper standing desk height
Transitioning to a standing desk comes with a short learning curve. Still, using a few key accessories can help you quickly find your ideal desk surface height so that you can see these productivity and health benefits quickly.
- Anti fatigue mat – These types of mats add a cushioning layer between your feet and the floor. They also add up to 4cm to 6cm in height so you’ll need to re-measure your desktop height when you add them to your standing desk.
- Office chair – A good office chair is needed even when working at a standing desk. A chair that adjusts up and down is ideal for the periods of the day when you want to sit.
- Measuring tape – A measuring tape might be needed if you want to measure your ideal height and if your adjustable desk doesn’t show elevation. It might be particularly useful when you aren’t sure about your ideal desktop height and when you need confirmation your desired elevation is correct.
- Keyboard tray – Not all standing desks are adjustable by height. Some have a fixed height, just like regular desks. This means they might not support that ideal 90-degree elbow angle for proper posture at the desk. Adding a keyboard tray to these desks can help put your arms in a correct position that doesn’t force your wrists to sit in an uncomfortable position.
How to determine standing desk height when sitting
The standing desk height chart above shows how to find your standing height when the height adjustable desks are elevated. But there’s also the problem of the perfect height when sitting. setting the right height in the seated position can be done in the below three steps.
- Adjust your chair height and armrests to a supportive sitting position at a 90-degree elbow angle.
- Avoid wrist pain with armrests under the desktop and not over the desktop.
- Correct your seated posture as needed.
Your current desk is used as a standing desk when seated. Your elbow height should be at 90-degrees without your shoulders pulled upwards. Your body proportions and your armrests should be adjusted so that they are below or at the height of the desktop. The desktop should never be lower than the armrests as this means your wrists and fingers are too far from the keyboard keys. Over extended periods, this can lead to issues such as wrist pain. Accessories such as a standing desk mat may still be used while sitting. A keyboard tray might not be feasible in a seated position if the correct ergonomic arrangement can’t be found.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should adjust your standing desk to find the correct standing working position. This reduces back strain, and wrist strain, and activates core stability muscles such as those around the spine, on the abdomen, and hips.
A standing desk is effectively used when you save your ideal desktop height so that you always find that right elevation when you transition from sitting to standing. You need to bring the desk to your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and the top third of the computer screen to your eye level.
A standing desk needs to be elevated up to the elbows when standing. The distance from the floor to the elbows differs according to your height. For example, a person that’s 1.79m tall needs to elevate the desk to 108cm.
One of the most important aspects of finding the right desktop height in the standing and seated position is to ensure that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle with the desktop. In both cases, your posture should be neutral to allow for a natural body arrangeSeveral standing desk accessories canat can be used to set the right height including mats and monitor arms. Electric standing desks have the advantage over their manual counterparts since they usually come with a digital display where you can save your ideal height settings.