Standing Desk Ergonomics

June 16, 2021 7 min read

Standing Desk Ergonomics

A work environment that is not comfortable can affect your performance and raise the chances of work-related problems such as back pain, eye strain, and muscle strain. Incorporating correct ergonomic practices in the workplace can improve your comfort level and help to prevent long-term problems. What’s more, good ergonomics can also boost your concentration and productivity.

On the other hand, poor ergonomics can cause tiredness, muscle imbalances, and muscle strain. Factors that cause poor ergonomics include sitting in one position for a long time, having a poor workstation set-up, and working in awkward positions. There are simple changes that you can make that will help boost your well-being and reduce your stress levels.

In this article, we will talk about proper standing desk ergonomics, the benefits of using a standing desk, and more.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science behind designs that enable you to do your job safely and productively. This is crucial to our long-term wellbeing, because if when you are working your body is stressed by a repeated movements and poor posture, your entire musculoskeletal system is affected.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are conditions that affect the nerves, ligaments, joints, and muscles of your body. MSDs can happen instantly due to overload or can evolve over time. Symptoms of a musculoskeletal disorder include pain, discomfort, and tiredness. Repetitive activities, extreme temperatures, constant pulling or pushing, heavy lifting, and awkward postures are the primary risk factors for MSDs.

Ergonomic design can decrease the risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and help you to be more productive and efficient. Tools such as monitor arms, footstools, anti-fatigue mats, and standing desks are all ergonomic tools that allow you to work safely and comfortably.

Proper Standing Desk Ergonomics: What to Know?


Here are some valuable tips for proper standing desk ergonomics.

  1. Make sure you put your keyboard and mouse on the same surface and at a distance that lets you keep your elbows near your body. And while using your mouse or doing work, your hands should be placed below the elbow level, your upper arms close to your body, and your wrists straight.

You should use keyboard shortcuts to avoid continuous use of the mouse; this will help take out some of the repetitive strain from your daily routine. If possible, try to adjust the sensitivity of your mouse so that it can be operated with a light touch.

  1. If you often talk on your mobile phone and type at the same time, use a headset or keep your phone on speaker instead of cradling the device between your neck and head.
  2. Keep important things like your mobile phone, stapler, or printed materials within easy reach to avoid extra stretching.
  3. Keep your monitor an arm's length away directly in front of you. Keep the top of the screen at eye level. If you use bifocals, lower the monitor an extra one to two inches for easy viewing.
  4. If you use dual monitors, the location of the screens depends on the kind of work being done and the proportion of time you spend on each screen. If you use both screens equally, keep the two monitors closer together with their edges touching. And if you use one screen more than 80% of the time, then put that monitor in front of you and the other screen off to the side.
  5. When using a standing desk, ensure your legs, neck, and head are vertical and in line. Use a footrest to transfer your weight from foot to foot. And wear shoes that offer the right support.
  6. Use a good standing desk mat as it will help you to stand more comfortably while reducing fatigue and joint soreness.

What is the Correct Sitting Posture at a Standing Desk?

A stand-up desk lets you do your work while standing, but you can also opt to sit at a standing desk if it has an adjustable height feature. If you spend hours at your desk, good sitting posture is extremely important, particularly for your neck and lower back.

There is a right way to position your standing desk, chair, and computer during sedentary work to maintain proper ergonomics. Here are some tips to help you get into the right sitting posture at a standing desk.

  • Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Ensure the angle between your thighs and torso is 90 degrees.
  • Keep the monitor at your eye level; the distance from your eyes to the computer screen should be approximately the width of the screen.
  • Keep your mouse close to the keyboard.
  • Keep your feet flat on a footrest or the ground.
  • You should not bend or twist your neck or trunk. Keep frequently used items directly in front of you.
  • Kneel down on one knee with your other leg in front of you with your knee bent at 90 degrees and your foot flat. This half-kneeling position builds strength while also improving core stability and balance. To keep your kneeling knee comfortable on the ground, you can use an anti-fatigue mat or a cushion.

Is a Standing Desk Ergonomic?

Yes, a standing desk is ergonomic because it gives you the option to stand, decreasing the risks that come with extended periods of sitting down. Sitting for hours on end can cause back pain, neck pain, and other health problems.

Why Should You Use a Standing Desk?

1. Standing reduces your risk of obesity

Taking in more calories than you need causes weight gain. On the other hand, weight loss occurs when you eat fewer calories than you burn daily. Exercise is a good way to reduce weight and burn calories. Opting to stand rather than sit can also be useful, though.

According to research, people who stand at their desks for six hours daily can burn 54 calories more than those who sit for the same amount of time.

2. Lowers blood sugar levels

After you consume a meal, the food you have eaten causes your blood sugar to spike. While a small increase in blood sugar levels is expected after eating, people with huge spikes in blood sugar have a greater risk of suffering from diabetes.

High spikes in blood sugar can lead to permanent damage to blood vessels, nerves, and organs. Symptoms of blood sugar spikes include blurred vision, tiredness, headaches, and fatigue.

Alternating sitting or standing or standing after a meal can help decrease blood sugar spikes, keeping you active and focused.

A study involving 10 employees found that standing for about three hours post-lunch decreased the blood sugar spike by 43% compared to sitting for three hours.

3. Helps reduce back pain

Back pain is the most common problem among people who sit most of the day. People who work in an office often experience knee problems, lower back pain, and neck pain due to bad posture, reduced muscular activity, and pressure on the spine.

Standing desks can help take the pressure off your back and neck and improve posture. According to a study, subjects experienced a significant reduction in neck and back pain after several days of using a stand-up desk.

4. Helps boost energy levels

Standing desks have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

In a study, subjects using stand-up desks experienced less stress and tiredness than their counterparts who stayed seated the whole day. Additionally, subjects using stand-up desks experienced increased energy throughout the workday.

On the other hand, sitting has been associated with a higher risk of anxiety and depression.

How Long Should You Stand at Your Stand-Up Desk?

You should switch between standing and sitting a few times daily. Research has shown that sitting for an extended period of time is not good for your overall health. But it is important to keep in mind that standing for long periods of time can also cause health issues.

So, try to alternate between standing and sitting as this can help prevent body aches. The ratio of standing vs. sitting time should be 3:1. For a workday of 8 hours, you should get up from your chair for 45 minutes each hour.

Alternating between standing and sitting positions will keep you productive and active.

What Are the Effects of Poor Posture On Your Body?


Here are some of the effects of sitting or standing in a wrong position:

1. Your nerves can get constricted

Your spine and bones will start to change position because of poor posture. This causes your skeletal system to come into contact with surrounding nerves, increasing the risk of a pinched nerve, which leads to neck and back pain.

2. Your lungs may not function properly

Hunching forward or leaning can affect your lung function and capacity. Your vital organs, such as the heart and brain, will not receive the oxygen they require when your lungs are not working as they should be. This can contribute to cardiovascular disease, poor cognitive function, and shortness of breath.

3. You may develop circulation problems

If you sit for a long period of time in a chair with incorrect posture, you are putting yourself at risk of developing circulation problems. By sitting with bad posture throughout the day, you are preventing your body from getting the essential circulation it needs.

In addition, bad posture can make you susceptible to varicose veins (twisted and enlarged veins).

4. Your digestive system gets compressed

Keeping a slouched position will cause the compression of the abdominal organs, including the digestive system. This could affect your digestion and metabolism. Hence, it is extremely important that you maintain good alignment at all times.


Incorporating ergonomics into your workplace can increase productivity, decrease fatigue and decrease muscle soreness.

An excellent option for people whose work requires them to sit for long periods of time is to use a combination of standing and sitting. It is important to keep in mind that your body responds best to a balance between standing and sitting and between dynamic and static activity. By using a standing desk, you can remain active and in good alignment all day long to enhance your well-being.

Conventional desks with fixed heights and surface areas force you to adjust your sitting position to fit the height of the desk. Additionally, these desks force you to remain in the same position for longer. This can cause you to settle into an awkward sitting posture with little bodily movement. On the other hand, an adjustable standing desk ensures that your workstation can fit what’s best for your body, not the other way around.



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