What is the ideal table height for office work, or telework?
Are there any standards?
What impacts can the table height have?
Find some answers right here!
Table Height Standards
My conversations with furniture designer friends reveal that the standard for table and office height would be 29’’ to 30’’ (75 cm) and that is what I notice during office ergonomics assessments.
My personal opinion is that 29’’ is too high for a lot of people. And from what I hear from fellow ergonomists, I am not alone.
The "Right" Table or Desk Height
So what is the appropriate height for my desk or my table?
The answer is…. It depends!
It depends on your elbow’s height while you are in a sitting position (with your feet flat on the floor). And there is a degree of personal preferences.
According to the ASSTSAS, the desk height could range between 25’’ and 30’’ (54 cm to 75 cm) depending on the user. And the elbows should be at an angle a slightly greater than 90°. The CCOHS suggests having your elbows close to the body, in an angle between 90° and 120°.
So it depends on your height, the length of your arms, and the way you work.
Yes, but tables and desks often are 29'' high...
Yes, and in my opinion, that is a problem. The 29’’ standard makes it easy for tall people to have their legs under the table. It also makes it easier to work with a keyboard tray. But, for many, many people, 29’’ as table height is too much. I see a lot of people who can’t properly touch the floor, while others work with their arms way too high up!
Here are some solutions you might want to explore:
- Add a footrest to help in having good floor support (make sure to use two footrests if you are using an L-shaped desk);
- Consider getting a lower table (25’’ high, for example) and to add wooden blocks underneath to raise it up, if needed (make sure that everything is stable). And if this is not too complicated for you, you may want to cut off some of the table’s height!
- You can also consider getting a height-adjustable desk. And please, make sure it goes low enough for your needs! Some of these desks are adjustable, but can’t go lower than 29’’… According to Bodyspace, a woman’s elbow could go as low as 21½’’. And the CSA Z412 standard (office ergonomics) gives recommendations about minimum and maximum height.
Based on my experience, I believe that a table that can go as low as 24’’ could be good for most people. Always ensure to get a table that fits your needs!
The CCOSH also says that a desk should preferably be height adjustable. It may cost more, but it could also absolutely be worth it!
And of course...
This article is not intended to cover all the possibilities that may be encountered in office ergonomics, but simply to give basic information to help you prevent the incidence of pain and injury.
You have more questions about back pain at the office? There is nothing like a good consultation with a professional!
Post written by Emmanuel Benoit, Ergonomist, CIRC
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