UpDown Desks Australia Blog

Standing Desk Ergonomics: The Science Behind Height-Adjustable Desks

standing desk ergonomics

Having an ergonomic standing desk at home can do wonders for your health and productivity. Reaping all the benefits of setting up an ergonomic workstation isn’t as complicated as some might think, and we’re here to let you know all about the science behind it! 

Standing desks and productivity are very closely linked, especially if employee comfort is in consideration. In a study by Applied Ergonomics, a sit stand desk setup was able to reduce discomfort significantly in a sample of employees surveyed. 

If you, or your employees, struggle with sciatica pain, scoliosis and more, a standing desk setup may provide much-needed relief! To learn more, let’s dive deep into the ergonomics of it all! 

Are Standing Desks a Good Ergonomic Choice for Offices? 

The short answer is yes, a standing desk setup can be a great ergonomic factor in your office. You just need to know how to make them work for you. 

Ergonomics aims to create workplaces that are productive, comfortable and safe. With a standing desk setup, you are embracing the positions your body is suited for.

Some of the main principles relevant to an ergonomic environment are: 

  • Working in a comfortable and neutral position
  • Working at the proper height for your head, eyes and arms
  • Being able to move and stretch often 

These principles mean that to optimise your workplace, you need to make sure your body is in a natural position while you work. You also need to ensure your computer and desk are the correct height for your eyes to avoid unnecessary strain on your back and neck. Your desk must also be flexible enough to allow simple static stretches you can do while working.

When used correctly, a standing writing desk can be a great ergonomic product. This is because it encourages you to move more than a sitting only desk would. Standing desks allow for easier movement and stretching throughout the day. 

Sit stand desks give your body more space to spread out naturally. This is opposed to sitting only desks, where your limbs are often confined. 

Learning how to stand at a standing desk can help you be more alert and attentive to your tasks. These factors combined mean that standing desks are very efficient for an ergonomic environment. 

How To Optimise Your Standing Desk Ergonomics To Get The Most Out Of This Investment

Whether you are using a standing gaming desk, a standing study desk or a standing desk setup for work, this guide can help you make the most out of your ergonomic investment:

  • Find the Right Desk Height

First up, you need to set the correct standing desk height. Your standing desk should be set to the height of your elbows. This means that when working on your keyboard, your forearms should be approximately parallel to the floor. 

Your desk should feel comfortable to work on for long periods of time, and you must be able to adjust your standing desk setup easily to fit your needs.

stand up desk ergonomics

  • Find the Right Monitor Height

Next, you need to ensure the monitor of your screen is set up correctly. The top of your computer monitor needs to be level with your eyes. The top of the monitor should be slightly tilted backwards (about 2 or 3 centimetres). The idea is to prevent you from tilting your neck to see or type. 

  • Create the Right Amount of Distance Between Your Desk Items

Your computer mouse should remain close to your keyboard to avoid unnecessary strain or pressure on your wrists. This strain can come from moving your hands and wrists too much in unnatural positions. This is particularly important for standing desks for video editors who use their mouse often. 

If you have any extra items on your desk, arrange them so the items you use are closest to your hands. This improves efficiency. For example, if you keep stationery, a cup of water or a phone on your standing desk setup, you will not have to stretch unnecessarily.

Extra Accessories For Your Sit Stand Desk 

These additional add-ons can make your standing desk setup even more comfortable and ergonomic for your day-to-day activities:

  • Anti-fatigue Mats — These combat fatigue by encouraging subtle movement in the legs. This combats tiredness caused by standing by improving blood flow to the legs and feet. 
  • Monitor Mount — A monitor mount is a great way to ensure that the position of your monitor is exactly as desired and suitable from an ergonomic viewpoint.
  • Ergonomic Chair — With a sit stand desk you will not be standing all of the time. The idea is to mix up periods of standing and sitting to give you a variety of postures over the day. When sitting it is important to have an adjustable ergonomic chair.

How To Stand At A Standing Desk 

These are a few things to take note of when learning how to stand at a standing desk:

  • Position Yourself Correctly and Comfortably

Make sure you have enough distance between your eyes and your computer screen while working. The distance from the screen to your eyes should be between 51 - 71 centimetres. This distance should be measured when you are in the correct posture and not slouching forward.

Work in a position so that your wrists are at a 180-degree angle to your forearms. In other words, you need to try and keep your wrists as flat and straight as possible. If your wrists are in an arched position, this can be damaging in the long run.

You can also rest your foot on a footrest if it feels right for you. You can change your position frequently for comfort and to enjoy the freedom of a variety of postures. With time, you can even move into stretching positions with ease. 

  • Maintain Good Posture

Good posture at a standing desk setup means keeping your knees slightly bent while you stand. This is a good neutral position to avoid hyperextension and your joints locking. 

Your head should be straight, staring directly at your computer monitor, and not tilted up or down. If you feel that you need to tilt your head slightly up or down just to see your monitor, it isn’t in the ideal position for your needs.

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes

Lastly, pay attention to how comfortable your shoes are and wear shoes that are appropriate standing at your desk during your day.

Are Standing Desks Worth It?

Are standing desks even worth it? Yes, the benefits of a stand up desk make the investment in a standing desk worthwhile. The change is a positive one for your health, comfort and productivity. Let us explain why.

  • You Can Easily Stretch and Move Around

Sit stand desk ergonomics can do wonders for your body, helping you achieve the optimum posture recommended for hours of work in front of a monitor. 

Because you’re standing, you’re less prone to slouch at a chair and remain in one position for hours on end — it also takes much less effort to move around and stretch while standing. Even though you may be at the office for eight hours or more, you can still incorporate simple movements into your daily routine naturally with a standing desk setup. 

  • You Reduce the Chance of Overuse Injuries

People who work at a desk can experience a range of musculoskeletal overuse injuries from staying in one position for too long. A sit stand desk allows you to easily vary your posture throughout your day and avoid overuse injuries.

  • Working Movement Into Your Day Feels Better and May Make You More Productive

Being able to change between sitting and standing breaks up your day and is more natural for your body than sitting slouched for long periods. People often report feeling more energised and being more productive using a sit stand desk.

How Do I Get A Standing Desk At Work? 

If this article has convinced you of the benefits of a standing desk, you may be wondering, ‘how do I ask for a standing desk at work?’ 

Your employer is generally not legally obliged to provide a standing desk for you, however, this does not mean you won't be able to convince them.

If you do want to ask your employer to provide you a sit stand desk, make sure you have your facts ready. 

How To Ask Your Employer For A Standing Desk

  • Explain To Your Employer That A Sit Stand Desk Can Actually Save Them Money

A quality sit stand desk is an investment in employee health and productivity. While there is some initial cost to purchasing the sit stand desk this is much cheaper than an employee sustaining an injury from poor posture or an overuse injury and having time off work or even a WorkCover claim. 

  • Emphasise the Benefits for Employee Health, Happiness and Productivity

A good workstation set up allows employees to feel better and be more productive. This extra productivity is good from an employer’s point of view. It also helps an employer create a positive work environment and be recognised as an “employer of choice”. This helps in attracting and retaining staff. 

If you can help your employer understand these major benefits they are much more likely to agree to your request for a sit stand desk.

Final Thoughts On Standing Desk Ergonomics

There's no denying the ergonomics of a standing desk once you learn how to use them correctly and take advantage of the fact that you can freely stretch and move around more. 

At this point, there is just one thing left to do — get the #1 standing desk in Australia. In UpDown Desk’s collection of ergonomic office desks, you'll gain access to the best sit stand corner desks, manual height adjustable desks, and even stand sit desk converters if you can't get your boss to agree to a fully-fledged standing computer desk.

What are you waiting for? Time to make the case to your boss about an adjustable sit stand desk, or invest in one yourself. Contact our expert team so you can get your own standing desk setup today!


Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work
Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work