How to Sit at a Desk

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Are you sitting comfortably? Although a desk job might seem like one of the safest possible vocations, there are certain health risks posed from sitting in the same place all day. As our recent guide to office chairs explains, being uncomfortable at your desk for long periods of time can lead to several different health issues. Recent research found that 81% of workers spend between four and nine hours each day sat at their desks, equating to 67 days in a year.

Taking all this into account, it’s important to make sure your desk is set up correctly to meet all health and safety requirements and ensure you don’t suffer any health problems caused directly from sitting there. We’ve put together this guide to help you make sure you know how to get your desk set up perfectly.


How Should You Sit at a Desk?

All office desks should be set up with ergonomics in mind, meaning they should be designed for efficiency and comfort in the workplace. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules dictate that every workplace should be set up to ensure the safety and suitability of workplace seating, so your employer should have already asked you to complete an assessment. If they haven’t, here are some tips to ensure you’re sitting at your desk correctly:

  • Your eyes should be level with the top of the computer screen. This means that you may wish to use a monitor riser on your desk to lift it to the correct height.
  • Keep your monitor at least 20 inches away from your eyes, this will help to avoid eye strain.
  • Anything that you regularly use should be kept within a foot of you. This will help ensure that you’re not constantly stretching to reach for them when needed.
  • Arms should be at a comfortable 90-degree angle, so you’ll want to keep your office chair at a height that accommodates this. You should be able to adjust the armrests in order to get close enough to the desk.
  • You should sit with a slight curve in the lower back and keep your shoulders straight. This will prevent excess pressure being applied to your back.

These simple steps should be taken in line with the advice on setting up your chair correctly in order to ensure you’re sat at the optimum position for a healthy day of work.


How Tall Should My Desk Be?

Whilst some desks can be adjusted for size, others come as one size and cannot be altered. Many UK manufacturers stick to 730mm as a standard desk height. No matter the size of your desk, it’s important to remember when sitting at your workstation to keep your arms at 90-degrees and your feet flat on the floor.

If you do find that your desk isn’t at the right height, there are several steps you can take. If the desk is adjustable, simply change the height of the desk so that you’re sitting. If your desk is not adjustable, you can either speak to your employer who can have it raised up or source you an adjustable desk. You can also consider adjusting your desk chair and using monitor risers to achieve a more comfortable position.


How to Organise Your Desk

An organised desk should lead to an organised mind and a more productive day. But how should you organise your desk to make sure it’s comfortable and efficient for your working day? Here are a few tips to help you achieve this:

  • Only keep items that you’ll need on a daily basis on your desk. This will help you avoid clutter.
  • Your mouse, keyboard and monitor should all be placed directly in front of you and not to the side. This will prevent you from having to move unnaturally to get to them.
  • Keep your mouse and keyboard close to the front of your desk. That way, you don’t have to stretch when you’re using them, and your muscles will remain relaxed.
  • Keep the space between your mouse and keyboard and the edge of your desk completely clear. This will give you enough space to comfortably rest your arms when you’re using them.
  • If you do use a laptop, try to avoid using the trackpad and built-in keyboard. It’s difficult to get these into a comfortable position for use.

On top of these tips for an ergonomic desk, you should also consider giving your desk a regular wipe down and implementing a tray system for any paper documents. This will help you remain organised and save your desk from becoming scattered with paper.


How to Stay Comfortable in a Desk Job

Working in a desk job can be a real pain at times – literally. Keeping comfortable when you’re working away in the same spot all day relies on several factors other than ergonomic comfort and organisation.

  • Taking regular breaks from your screen and standing up for a leg stretch will do wonders for your comfort. Consider going for a short walk at lunchtime to give yourself an extended time away from your workstation.
  • Crossing your legs for extended periods of time can have negative effects on your circulation. Try not to do this, and instead keep them flat on the floor.
  • It might sound funny but typing too hard can cause repetitive strain injuries.
  • If you do spend a lot of time on the phone during the day, use a headset instead of holding the traditional handset.


Following some of these tips should help you set up your office furniture to sit at your office desk comfortably and avoid unnecessary injury and pain. At Viking, we offer free desk installations, meaning we’ll help you fit your desk and ensure that it’s perfect for you. With desks available in a whole array of shapes, sizes and colours, just have a browse of our range and choose the right office desk for you.