The computer or desktop desk and related ergonomic desk are furniture pieces designed to comfortably and aesthetically provide a working surface and house or conceal office equipment including computers, peripherals and cabling for office and home-office users.
Working long hours at substandard workstations can lead to a variety of ailments, particularly for the arms, back and neck. Finding the ideal height for a desktop desk can alleviate many of the concerns, helping to improve posture and promote work efficiency.
Selecting a comfortable, supportive chair is the first step in determining your ideal desktop computer desk height. The chair and desktop desk must work together as a cohesive unit. Choosing a chair with adjustable back support and adjustable seat height offers the most customization and comfort. When seated, your leg-to-torso angle should be between 90 and 110 degrees and the edge of the seat should not contact the back of your knees. Other considerations that determine a computer desk’s correct height are the equipment you use, the tasks you perform and your physical height.
Your desktop desk should enable you to work comfortably without compromising correct posture or experiencing any muscle or joint pain. Ideally, you should be able to sit at the desk and keep your forearms parallel to the floor when typing. However, personal preference may dictate a forearm-to-upper arm angle between 70 degrees and 135 degrees to achieve the most comfort. Anything beyond that angle range may result in contributing to developing chronic muscle and joint pain. When seated, your thighs must also enjoy sufficient clearance, with enough space between the top of your thighs and the computer desk.
In general, a standard computer desk measures 28-to-30 inches high, which works best for people between 5’8″ and 5’10” tall. Taller or shorter individuals may have difficulty working under those conditions. If you’re equipping an office with multiple employees of varied heights, one possible solution is purchasing desks with adjustable work surfaces. The best adjustable surfaces can be moved as low as 22 inches or raised as high as 33 inches, providing a comfortable level for each specific employee.
If you can’t afford to purchase a new desk, you may still employ a number of techniques to adjust the existing desktop desk’s height. Placing stable risers such as boards or concrete blocks beneath desk legs can elevate a low desk. When raising the height of the chair isn’t an option, cutting the desk’s legs may be necessary to lower a desk that’s too high. Raising your chair may also necessitate adding a footrest to maintain a comfortable posture.
How to sit at a computer
We see too many workplace injuries that could be avoided. And prevention is better than cure. Here is a four-step checklist that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you’re comfortable, safe and productive at the office.
STEP 1: Your Chair
- Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
- Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
- Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.
- Adjust the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.
STEP 2: Your Keyboard
An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, enable leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. The tray should not push you too far away from other work materials, such as your telephone.
- Pull up close to your keyboard.
- Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.
- Determine what section of the keyboard you use most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that section is centred with your body.
- Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight.
- The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you are reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position.
- Wristrests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wristrest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wristrest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wristrests, or wristrests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
- Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. Placing it on a slightly inclined surface, or using it on a mousebridge placed over the 10-keypad, can help to bring it closer.
If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get into a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.
STEP 3: Screen, Document, and Telephone
Incorrect positioning of the screen and source documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and source documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position.
- Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.
- Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. (If you wear bifocals, lower the screen to a comfortable reading level.)
- Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screenand then adjust the distance for your vision.
- Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen.Position source documents directly in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the screen.
- Place screen at right angles to windows
- Adjust curtains or blinds as needed
- Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights
- Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights
- Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
- Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.
STEP 4: Pauses and Breaks
Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.
- Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
- Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.
- Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
- Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.
Information supplied by UCLA Ergonomics
Desktop Desk Depth – Its Importance and You
Most people understand why it’s so important to have the proper height of a computer desk. But do you know that depth is equally important? It’s how wide the table is, with regards to the length of the desk’s side.
Length of the desktop desk is the height from the surface of the table to the floor. Width is the horizontal length you face when you’re in front of the table. Depth is the distance at the side of table if you are facing it in the front side.
You have to know beforehand how deep the desk should go for any type of work. Take some cases: sketch artists like to have their desks tilted toward their line of sight. Typists work better with deeper table tops. would like to have grooves for their arms.
The depth of the desktop desk can make our lives better by easing work. Many a crick in the hands and wrists can be prevented and lessened with proper placement. It’s also quite beneficial health-wise – too deep, and you would be leaning your head forward. This will strain your neck, causing stiff necks.
Too shallow and it will shorten the therapeutic distance between the eyes and the screen. This will cause eye strain, damaging your eyesight. Overall, the desk may be the key to make your work easier and better.
Let’s Get Technical
First of all, let’s tackle some physical measurements here. This is the acceptable range for most cases. You can tweak according to how much depth you would prefer.
- Desks for computer use: twenty to thirty inches
- Desks for children use: eighteen to twenty inches
- Desks for the lap: twelve to eighteen inches
- Desktop Desks for artists (tilted ones for sketching): eighteen to twenty four inches
- Desks for secretary use (or ones with heavy handwriting and encoding): eighteen to twenty-four inches
- Desks purely for typing: sixteen to twenty-four inches
- Desks purely for writing: twenty to twenty-four inches
- Desks used on the lap (think breakfast trays or desks used while on the bed): twenty to eighteen inches
- Desks used as a pedestal: twenty-four to thirty inches
- Desks used in airplanes: eighteen inches
- Here are some more depth measurements according to the space allotted for the knees and feet. Knees ring in at a minimum at eighteen inches, and maximum at twelve to fifteen inches. Feet are comfortable with a depth of twenty-four inches.
- In addition, the maximum depth of a desktop desk is around thirty inches. If you are not sure about the whole physical measurements, just make sure that there will be enough space for air circulation and for the wires. Another thing: consider the space you want that allows you to push back the laptop to one side as you grab for a book and a tissue box.
- A little note here: some online sites do not use the term depth. Rather, the terms length, height and width are used. Length is for the height of the desk from the floor to the surface of the table. Height is the depth. Width is the horizontal length of the table. To prevent confusion, we have converted it into the depth we are talking about.