Desk setup on the adjustable Fully Jarvis Desk

Why your desk is too tall

The problem

Did you know your desk is too tall? Like, waaay too tall.

I'm about 5' 6" (168cm), so not a giant. Most of us aren't. But desks are built like we are. To avoid repetitive stress injuries while typing, your arms should form a 90 degree angle when you rest them on your keyboard. I sat in a measured myself sitting in a chair and figured out my ideal desk height was 26-27" (66-69cm). You want to guess how many desks I found that short?

None. Which doesn't bode well for anyone around my height or shorter. Unless you're quite tall (around 6' 3" or 191cm), most desks will be too tall for you and using them as is puts your wrists in danger.

How tall your desk should be

A good place to start is to plug in your height to calculators like Ergotron's or Uplift's. That will give you an idea of the range you should be looking at. You can also just find a chair that lets you plant your feet on the floor, stick your arms out to a comfortable 90 degrees, and measure the distance from your hands to the floor. You may want to subtract and inch or a few centimeters to account for the height of your keyboard.

The quick solution

Unfortunately, knowing your ideal desk height is only half the equation. Now you have to actually get your desk to that height.

You could get an adjustable sit/stand desk like me, but that's a purchase not everyone is ready to make, so here's the quick and cheap solution:

  1. Adjust your chair as high as you can (or until it goes high enough to make your arms rest at 90 degrees on your desk)
  2. Do some test typing. Make sure nothing feels like it's pulling strangely. I can usually tell immediately when my desk it the wrong height by feeling for strain in my forearms.
  3. Grab a box or some books to put under your feet. Letting your feed swing makes maintaining a good posture really hard.
  4. Enjoy less wrist pain for free!