For years, you’ve been expected to fit into the workstation (desk) that is provided for you. Regardless of whether you are 5’-0” or 6’-4” everyone has been expected to sit at a work surface that was usually about 29” off the floor. When buying a desk for your home office the same would apply.
When you are at your desk, before long you’re cussing the sore back and pain in your shoulders and neck. You’ve been hearing lately that’s it is important to get up, move around, take a break. All that sounds nice – but you are at your desk to get something accomplished. The theory is good, but really, are you going to interrupt what you are doing and take a break every 20 minutes - go for a walk? Seriously?
The Restrictions Are Off
Fitting the desk provided for you no longer needs to be the case. If you are anywhere between 5’-0” and 6’-4”, (including shoes you normally wear) you can easily get a desk that will fit you when you are sitting properly in your chair. But how do you know what height of desk is right for you? For that matter, what is the “proper” sitting height? Let’s deal with that first.
What is the Proper Sitting Height?
Your feet should be flat on the floor (no need for a foot rest). Your thighs should be evenly supported along the seat. If your chair won’t go low enough or high enough, get one that will. They are out there, lots of them. (From past experience, I know that there is a huge selection of task chairs from Global/Global Industries at a decent price.) There should be just enough gap behind your knees to fit your closed fist between the back of your knee and the front of the seat. The chair back should be adjustable to give good support to the curvature of your back in an upright position.
An easy rule of thumb is to stand in front of the chair and adjust the seat so that it is just below your knee cap.
What is the Right Desk Height?
OK, now that you’re sitting properly, let’s fit the desk to you.
With your shoulders relaxed and your arms hanging naturally at your side, bend your elbows so that your forearms are parallel with the floor (elbows bent to 900 to 1200). Now your hands should be in a neutral position, straight out from your wrist. Your hands should now be in line with the top of your desk surface.
Try it. Try adjusting your chair to the correct sitting height and sit with your forearms positioned as I’ve described and see how your desk top matches up. Unless you are 6’-3” I’ll guarantee that your hands will be below the surface. That means you’ll need to adjust your position away from your optimum to accommodate the difference – unless you have a desk that fits your height.
Sit Stand Desks Provide “Sit-Fit” as well as Stand-Ability
Electric Height Adjustable Desks are touted for their ability to easily change from a sitting to a standing position thus enabling one to alternate their position without the need to interrupt what they are working on.
However, another great advantage and asset, which is seldom talked about, is their ability to be lowered to a height that fits the 5 percentile female to the 95 percentile male population. So if you are 5’-0” or 6’-4” and anywhere in between, there is a desk that will correctly fit you without you needing to compensate or compromise your comfort and well-being.