In past articles (Desktop Risers Are Not The Solution and 2 Popular Ergonomic Accessories That Can Increase Health Risks) I’ve talked about the perils of Desk Top Converters or Desk Top Risers. I’ve talked about how, even with the ability to stand, we sit much more than we stand and these “Converter” apparatuses sit on desks that are already too high for most of us – making an already bad situation painfully worse. (A standard desk is 29” high and perfect for anyone 6’-0”+). In one of the comments to my article, I was reminded that very few people who work at regular desks are aware of this and even many in the office furniture industry are unaware of this fact and the harm that it does.
It is so important to position your desk at the height that is right for you.
To figure out how, let’s start at floor level and work our way up.
To successfully incorporate and sustain a habit of standing while working, even for relatively short periods, you need comfortable shoes. Ladies that means low (1 ½”max) heels. Flats are even better. Think of it as the new office fashion trend. In fact, it all started 37 years ago with the 1980 New York City transit strike -- “The sight of people wearing business suits along with sneakers or jogging shoes became common, as did the practice of carrying a tote bag with a pair of casual footwear.” - NY TIMES
However, for anyone shorter than 6”- 0” that practical, (new fashion) comfortable, footwear also will often set off a series of potential problems and (thankfully) solutions.
With low footwear (other than my toes) my feet don’t touch the floor.
Solution: Lower your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor and your thighs are evenly supported along the seat pan.
With my chair lowered to a comfortable sitting height, my desk is too high. It is awkward and uncomfortable for keying and mousing.
Solution: Adjust your desk down to the level that is comfortable for you when keying and mousing (shoulders relaxed, arms hanging at your sides, elbows at 90 to 120 degrees and wrists at a neutral position) while still allowing your feet to rest flat on the floor and your back and thighs to be properly supported in the chair.
3a My desk won’t adjust down
3b My keyboard tray is at a good height. But it pushes me away from my desk making it hard to reach items and write notes. It also gets in the way when I’m performing non-computer related tasks.
Solution: Invest in a sit-stand desk that will adjust down to your personal sitting height and raise up to your personal standing height.
I don’t have room for another desk.
Solution: Get a Real Desk Converter! Convert your existing desk into a sit-stand desk. Utilize your existing desk top and replace the base or chassis of your desk with an easy to retrofit height adjustable base. Bonus: There is a very good chance that this final solution won’t cost any more than the most popular desk top converter.
Incorporating a sit-stand desk or sit-stand desk base into your work environment can drastically improve your productivity and well-being when used properly. That's an investment worth looking into.