Healthy Computing: Desk Height

Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with
Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay
healthier while working.

Are you reaching up to a high keyboard? In order to sit correctly to type
and mouse are your feet dangling from a chair that is too high? Working at
a keyboard that is too high may contribute to neck, shoulder and arm
tension. Make the furniture fit you instead of you fitting the furniture,
and reduce tension when you change the DESK HEIGHT.

How to Change the Desk Height:

Begin by checking your position at the keyboard. Let your upper arms hang
straight down, bend your elbows at about 90 to 110 degrees, and keep your
forearms and wrists level as you extend your fingers to the keyboard. If
you cannot sit that way because the keyboard is too high, then change your
keyboard height.

  • The best option is to lower the surface upon which the keyboard is
    sitting. Cut a few inches from the legs of the table or install an
    adjustable keyboard tray beneath the desktop (be sure it does not

  • Raise the height of your body so that your arms are in the correct
    position. Usually this requires raising the height of the seat of your
    chair (pillows often work well). Raising your chair height often leads
    to dangling feet. Purchase or create a footrest so that your feet can
    rest easily on that surface (telephone books are useful for this

Regardless how you change the ergonomic situation, take charge and listen
to your own body. Check in with your body throughout the day to observe
unnecessary tension when typing and mousing. Become proactive! Stop your
shoulders from inching upward. Relax your neck, shoulders and arms.
Integrate breaks and movements into your computing routine by taking
micro-breaks every minute (e.g., drop your hands to your lap at every
opportunity, such as at the end of a paragraph or when waiting for the
computer to process your input), and get up from the desk and walk around.
Remember, human beings are made for movementnot immobility.

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Written by Erik Peper PhD

Explore Wellness in 2021