Setting up your workstation for optimal work performance is key to reduce the likelihood of developing an injury. At first working in an awkward position may be annoying, but overtime it can result in pain and discomfort. That’s why optimally setting up your workstation from the start (no matter if you are sitting or standing) is so important! I strongly recommend getting into this habit for whenever you jump into a workstation, whether it’s a shared workstation or first thing every morning. Why do I think that this is so important? Sure, I admit that I’m a little biased in my opinion, but equipment in our workstations tend to gradually shift over time. I see this all the time – it could be anything from their monitor height or chair functions; I may have adjusted someone’s workstation 2 months ago to fit them perfectly.. but somehow it doesn’t fit anymore and this can lead to indicators of ergonomic risk.
The need-to-know indicators of ergonomic risk are:
- Redness or swelling on the affected joint
- The skin around the area is warm to touch
- Reduced range of motion for the affected joint
- Pain (soreness, burning, or aching)
- Tender to touch
- Tingling, numbness, weakness, change of skin colour
If we don’t get into the habit of ensuring our workstations are optimally set-up, pain or discomfort may develop right underneath our noses.
Of course, the pun was intended. Today I want to share some tips in exactly how to set-up your workstation for standing. Interested in sitting? Well, we have an entire FREE e-book that will give you all the details. I’ve done thousands in ergonomic assessments over my career. Within this time I’ve been able to pinpoint how you need to set-up your workstation to give you the most ergonomic set-up.
There are 2 key things that you need to know here to optimally set-up your standing workstation (Hint: the heights of your workstation are very important!):
- Standing Elbow Rest Height
- Measured from the standing surface to the underside of the forearm when the forearm and upper arm are at 90 degree angle.
- Standing Resting Eye Height
- Measured from the standing surface to the natural and comfortable eye position. Your chin should be parallel to the ground and your eyes should be looking straight ahead.
PRO-TIP: The height of the workstation is based on what you are trying to accomplish – if you are working on the computer or writing. So, based on this, there are differing heights for:
- Writing and drawing should be 50-100 mm (2-4″) above the standing elbow rest height
- Computer work
- The keyboard mouse should be slightly lower than the standing elbow rest height
Ok. First things first. Adjustability in desk height is really key to optimally set-up your desk for standing. Why? Well, there is just so much variability in people’s standing height.
Optimal standing elbow heights for males and females range from between 96.5 to 123.5 cm (38 to 49″) from the ground height.
This is based off the smallest (5th percentile) to tallest (95th percentile) of a half male and female population. There is so much variability in standing height that it can be difficult to find one height that would work for everyone in an office. However, if you must use a non-height adjustable desk, then it should be within this range or at 107 cm (42″) from the ground height.
PRO-TIP: Whenever possible tailor the non-adjustable desk height exactly to the person requiring it. Fully adjustable workstations are always better. And, electric is always better than manual adjustment.
Optimal standing eye height for males and females can vary between 144.2 to 172.3 cm (57 to 68″) from the ground height.
Where, this is also based off the smallest (5th percentile) to tallest (95th percentile) of a half male and female population. The monitor should be adjustable to be within this range. Don’t have an adjustable monitor? Don’t worry, printer paper or text books are perfect alternatives to boost your monitor height within an optimal range.