5 Expert Tips for Using a Standing Desk to Boost Productivity & Health

Using a standing desk can be a great way to incorporate more movement and activity into your workday. By standing at work consistently, you will break long grown sedentary habits and start to experience the health and productivity benefits of active working. However, it is important to use your desk correctly, and to make any changes to your daily routine in the right way so that your body can adapt to your new, healthier way of working. 



How long should I stand for? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The optimal amount of time spent standing at a sit stand desk will depend on a variety of factors including your age, fitness level and overall health.  Start slowly - for instance, standing for 10-15 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the amount of time spent standing as you become more comfortable and accustomed to the desk. It's very easy to get distracted whilst working and forget to change position. If your standing desk has a built in alarm, start using this to provide the gentle reminders that you need to build good habits. Alternatively, use a smart-phone app with auto-alerts set through your working day. 

It is important to listen to your body and to take breaks as needed.  It’s also a good idea to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to give your muscles a break and avoid fatigue.  You may find it helpful to use a timer or a standing desk monitor to track your standing time and help you find a balance that works for you.

It is important to maintain good posture and to move around and stretch whilst using your standing desk.  Here are some standing desk tips to help you maintain good posture:

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other to help distribute your weight evenly.
  • Wear comfortable footwear.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to help reduce strain on your lower back.
  • Engage your core muscles to help support your spine and maintain good posture.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and down and try to avoid hunching over your desk.
  • Make sure your desk is at a comfortable height for you. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle when you’re typing or using your mouse.
  • Adjust the height of your desk so that the top of your monitor is at or slightly below eye level. This will help you maintain a neutral neck position.
  • Use a footrest whilst sitting to help maintain movement or a standing desk mat/anti-fatigue mat to reduce pressure on the balls of your feet, legs and back.


For a standing desk to be ergonomic and comfortable, the height should be adjustable to accommodate both standing and sitting positions.  Individual preferences and body proportions vary, so really there's no one-size-fits-all answer.  The goal is to find a height that allows you to maintain good posture. Here is some guidance for setting the correct height for a standing desk, considering both scenarios.

Standing Position

When standing at a desk, the goal is to have your arms and hands in a relaxed and neutral position, with your eyes looking naturally at the top third of the screen.  Follow these steps to determine the proper standing desk height.

  • Elbow Angle - standing comfortably with your arms hanging by your sides.  Bend your elbows at a 90° angle.  The desk height should allow your hands to rest comfortably on the keyboard and mouse without reaching up or down.
  • Measure Your Elbow Height - use a tape measure to determine the height from the floor to your elbow height.  This measurement will be your starting point.
  • Shoulder Relaxation - your shoulders should be relaxed and not hunched.  If you find yourself tensing your shoulders to reach the keyboard or monitor, your desk will require adjusting until this no longer happens.
  • Wrist Alignment - check your wrist position while you're typing.  Your wrists should remain straight and neutral.  If they are bent upwards or downwards, your desk will need to be adjusted.
  • Screen Height - the top of your monitor screen should be at or lightly below your eye level.  This prevents you from tilting your head up or down, reducing strain on your neck. 
  • Screen Distance - position your monitor at a distance where you can read text comfortably without straining your eyes.  Generally, this is about an arm's length away. 
  • Keyboard Height - the keyboard should be at a height that allows your wrists to remain straight while typing. Your forearms should be roughly parallel to the floor.  If you desk has an adjustable keyboard tray, you can set it to a comfortable height.
  • Trial and Adjustment - stand at your desk for a while and pay attention to how your body feels.  If you find yourself hunching, leaning, or experiencing discomfort in your wrists, shoulders, or neck, consider making minor adjustments.
  • Experiment and Fine-Tune - over time, you will find that slight changes in desk height makes a big difference to your comfort.  Don't hesitate to experiment and fine-tune the height until you find what works best for you.

Sitting Position

When sitting at a desk, the desk height should allow for proper arm, wrist, and back support.  Follow these steps to determine the correct sitting desk height.

  • Knees to Floor - your feet should be flat on the floor and your bottom should be at the same height as your knees.  Your knees should be at a 90°-100° angle.
  • HipsKnees - Put your bottom to the back of the chair to stop your pelvis tipping back as this cases strain on your lumber spine.  The depth should be deep enough to support the length of your thighs.  The distance from the back of your knees to the front of your chair should be about the width of two fingers.
  • Pelvis - keep your pelvis slightly tilted forward to support your spine's natural 'S' curve.
  • Elbow Angle - sit back in your chair with your back supported.  Your elbows should be at a 90° angle when your hands are resting on the keyboard and mouse.
  • Screen Height - your monitor or laptop screen should still be at eye level.  Adjust the height of the screen to maintain the same ergonomic position as when standing.
  • Keyboard and Mouse - while sitting, your keyboard and mouse should be at the same level as your elbow.  Your wrists should be in a neutral position.

Maintaining the proper seated position is crucial for preventing neck and back discomfort.  Your chair should offer comfort, with conveniently accessible controls.  Regularly adapt both your seat and back settings to match the task at hand and ensure consistent full back support.  

The art to achieving the correct desk height is about finding a balance that supports your body's natural alignment and movement.  Regular adjustments and paying attention to your body's feedback will help you determine the optimal height for your standing desk.


Maintaining an ideal standing posture while using a standing desk is crucial to prevent discomfort, fatigue, and strain your muscles and joints.  Here are the key components of an ideal standing position.

  • Proper Foot Placement
    • Standing with your feet hip-width apart.
    • Keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet to avoid undue pressure on one side.
    • Avoid locking your knees, keep them slightly bent to reduce strain on your joints.
  • Neutral Spine Alignment
    • Maintain a nature S-curve in your spine, with your head, shoulders, hips and ankles aligned.
    • Avoid leaning forward, backward, or to the sides.  Engage your core muscles to help support your spine.
  • Core Engagement
    • Engage your core muscles to support your spine and maintain stability.  This helps prevent excessive arching in your lower back.
  • Avoid Locking Joints
    • Keep your joints slightly relaxed to avoid locking them, which can lead to strain.
    • Maintain a gentle bend in your knees and elbows.
  • Shoulders and Arms
    • Relax your shoulders and keep them in a neutral position, not hunched or elevated.
    • Your upper arms should hang comfortably at your sides, close to your body.
  • Weight Shift and Movement
    • Shift your weight between your feet occasionally to prevent strain.  You can also gently rock from heel to toe.
    • Take short breaks to move, stretch, or even sit down for a few minutes to relieve stress on your lower body.
  • Comfortably Footwear
    • Wear supportive shoes that provide cushioning and arch support.
    • Avoid high heels or completely flat shows, as they can cause discomfort over time.
  • Regular Movement
    • Avoid standing in one position for prolonged periods.  Shift your weight, take a step or two, or do simple stretches intermittently.
  • Monitor Your Comfort
    • Pay attention to your body and how it feels when standing.  If you experience discomfort, make adjustments to your posture, desk height, or the arrangement of your workspace.
  • Eye Level and Neck Posture
    • Keep your head in a neutral position with your chin parallel to the round.
    • Adjust your screen height to avoid tilting your head up or down while looking at the monitor.


Incorporating movement into your route while using a standing desk is essential for maintaining comfort, preventing muscle fatigue, and promoting overall wellbeing.  Here are some tips on how to effectively move while using a standing desk:

  • Weight Shifting - avoid keeping your weight on one leg for too long.  Gently shift y our weight from one let to the other.  This simple action engages different muscles and helps reduce strain on any particular muscle group.
  • Micro Movements - incorporate subtle movements such as shifting your hips from side-to-side, rolling your shoulders, or tapping your toes.  These micro movements keep your muscles engaged, improve blood circulation, and prevent stiffness.
  • Stretch Breaks - take short breaks to perform simple stretches.  Stretch your arms overhead, do side bends, and stretch your calves and hamstrings.  These stretches alleviate tension and help prevent muscle cramps.
  • Calf Raises - lift your heels off the ground and rise onto your toes, then lower your heels back down.  Repeat this motion to engage your calf muscles.  Calf raises also stimulate blood flow in your lower legs, reducing discomfort.
  • March in Place - lift your knees alternately as if you're marching on the spot.  This gentle movement keeps your leg muscles active and encourages circulation.
  • Short Walks - take brief walks around your workspace whenever possible.  Walking stimulates blood flow, relieves muscle tension, and provides a mental break.
  • Foot Rocking - rocking your feet from heel to toe and back can help improve ankle flexibility and encourage circulation.
  • Dynamic Sitting - if your standing desk allows for it, you can also incorporate dynamic sitting by using a stool or leaving against the desk for short periods.  This gives you legs a break while still maintaining an upright posture.
  • Set Reminders - use timers or reminders on your devices to prompt you to move every 30 minutes.  These reminders can help you stay consistent with your movement routine.


Standing Desk Mat (Anti Fatigue Mat)

A standing desk mat is a pad that is placed on the floor beneath your standing desk.  It is designed to provide comfort and support when standing for prolonged periods of time whilst working.  The mats have a cushioned surface that helps to reduce fatigue and strain on the feet, legs and back - hence the alternate name 'anti fatigue mat'.  Additionally, standing desk mats are designed to promote good posture, movement and proper alignment whilst standing which can help to reduce the risk of injury or discomfort.

Standing desk mats also promote proper foot positioning which will help with the overall experience of using a standing desk.

Using a standing desk mat can help you feel more comfortable and energised while you work, which can in turn help you be more productive. 

Desk Foot Rocker

A foot rocker is a small, angled platform that you can place under your desk to allow you to rock your feet back and forth while you sit.  This can help improve circulation, reduce muscle fatigue, and increase comfort while you work.

To use a foot rocker, simply place is on the floor in front of your desk chair and rest your feet on it.  You can then rock your feet back and forth, moving them up and down on the platform as you work.

Desk Monitor Mounts

Using a monitor mount can help you position your monitor at the correct height and distance to reduce strain on your neck, shoulders, and eyes whilst you work.

Proper monitor placement is important because it can help you maintain good posture and reduce the risk of developing problems like neck strain, eye strain, and headaches.  When you monitor is positioned correctly, you should be able to comfortably look at the screen without tilting your head up or down, and the top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.

A monitor mount allows you to adjust the height and angle of your monitor to achieve the proper placement.  This can be especially useful when using a standing desk, as the ideal monitor height can vary depending on whether you are sitting or standing.

Implementing These Standing Desk Tips

Remember, adapting to a standing desk is a journey.  Be patient with yourself and give your body time to adjust.  By implementing these tops tips, you'll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of improved posture, increased energy, and enhanced productivity.  Stand up and embrace the change.


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