While office jobs tend to cause fewer injuries than physical jobs, that doesn’t mean you can suffer any chronic pain from sitting at a desk for much of your working day.
Areas of susceptibility include wrists, back and neck.
With some office chair and desk adjustments, you can dramatically mitigate any injury. This is called ergonomic office furniture – furniture that’s designed for proper alignment and posture when working at a desk, especially a computer.
PDF version: Click here to download our desk dimensions graphic.
A few comments about the above diagrams and tables:
I’ve worked in offices and have bought every conceivable type of desk and office chair imaginable. Here are my thoughts:
- I’m healthy yet sitting can hurt my back: I’m fairly active and have been most of my life. I’ve never suffered a traumatic injury yet on occasion I’ve had lower back pain which was likely caused by sitting at a desk all day. I find when I work out regularly and ever since getting my new ergonomic office chair and better office desk that I’ve not had any back problems.
- Avoid bending or unnatural angles: It’s all about straight lines. Notice in the above that the best head position is positioned straight up and down looking directly forward at the screen. Avoid looking down or upward. Also, and I know this from personal experience with my previous chair and desk, and that is ensure a 90° angle at the elbow so that the arm extends to the desk parallel to the floor. This is where an adjustable height chair helps.
- Tall people: I’m 6’3″ tall which means I need a desk with good clearance underneath. I need my chair elevated fairly high, yet not so high that my legs get mashed into the underside of the desk.
- Lock chair back upright: I used to set my chair back so that I could tilt backward. This often resulted in terrible posture and positioning. Now with my new Herman Miller office chair, I lock the back upright which encourages me to sit with better posture.
- Adjust your monitor height: You can buy monitors that have an adjustable height or simply buy some monitor stands. I opted for low-cost monitor stands so that I look straight to the monitor.
- Use larger font on screens: I bought two 32″ monitors that I connect to my laptop and I love them. They are large enough so that font (print) can be large so that I never have to strain to read anything on the screen.
If you have poor positioning when standing, you defeat the beneficial purposes of standing. Standing is supposedly healthier, at least standing some of the day. However, if you opt for a standing desk, or some contraption that can raise and lower your computer so you can stand or sit, ensure your alignment is good.
I don’t have standing capability because I’m not big on standing. I much prefer to sit while working. I ensure I walk, run or play a sport most days of the week in lieu of standing.
While bombing around on his bike, Nathan dreams up cool interior design article ideas for Homestratosphere.com. He loves penning the perfect introduction or clever description of a particular design. When not writing about design, he cycles, reads crime novels, barbecues (ribs are his specialty), entertains friends and hangs out with his beautiful wife and amazing kids.