Desk dimensions: How high, wide and deep should a desk be?

Nowadays, many people have an office job that often involves hours of sitting. But anyone who remains in an unhealthy sitting or standing position at their desk day in, day out will sooner or later be plagued by unwelcome tension or muscle pain. To ensure that your personal well-being is not lost in everyday office life, you should focus on the right desk dimensions. Find out how deep, wide and high your desk should ideally be in this article!

Man arbeitet an einem Schreibtisch mit den richtigen Maßen.

Why pay attention to the right desk dimensions?

Whether in an open-plan office or a home office: the desk is and remains the centerpiece of every workplace. After all, this is where either the entire to-do list is worked through or at least a large part of the workload to be completed. To avoid putting unnecessary strain on the body - and especially the neck, shoulder and back muscles - an ergonomic and healthy workstation is essential.

This means not only adjusting the office chair correctly, but also selecting the right desk dimensions. You should pay particular attention to these points when setting up your home office workstation so that you can also work more ergonomically at home. Before you decide on a desk, you should definitely have answers to these questions:

  • How high does the desk need to be in order to adopt a sitting or standing position that is as healthy and back-friendly as possible?
  • How wide does the work surface need to be in order to be able to place all work materials (e.g. screens, keyboard, mouse, writing utensils, notepad) and arrange them sensibly?
  • How deep should the desk be so that the recommended distance between eyes and screen(s) can be maintained?

If the dimensions of the desk are not right, it can be difficult to carry out various office tasks or even cause health problems after a very short time. The work surface should therefore never be too low, too high or too restrictive.

Ein Schreibtisch muss die richtige Breite, Tiefe und Höhe haben, um angenehm arbeiten zu können.

The desk is too high

If the desk is set too high, the shoulders will inevitably be raised - the shoulders are automatically pulled upwards. This causes painful tension in the shoulder and neck area, which can also often trigger persistent headaches.

The desk is low

If, on the other hand, the desk height is too low, the arm and back muscles are put under excessive strain. On the one hand, this desk setting creates a dreaded hunched back because you naturally lean forward towards the computer keyboard and screen - so unwelcome back pain is inevitable! On the other hand, typing and clicking puts too much strain on the arms and wrists because they are not in a relaxed and natural position.

The desk is too small

A sufficiently large desk surface is an essential prerequisite for ergonomic working - this is the only way to have all the necessary work equipment quickly to hand. However, if the desk dimensions do not fit and the desk is too small, not all the utensils needed to carry out the tasks at hand are within reach. Or there is unwelcome chaos at the desk because everything has to be stored in as little space as possible.

Desk: DIN standard determines the dimensions

How high, wide and deep should a desk be? There is no general answer to this question. However, there is a specific DIN standard that defines the optimum desk dimensions for working as ergonomically as possible. DIN stands for German Industrial Standardization, but also applies beyond Germany's borders.

The DIN EN 527-1:2011 specifies standardized dimensions for sit-stand desks, which are binding for today's professional world. This means that employers and employees know exactly which desk dimensions are defined as ergonomic.

Schreibtisch mit der richtigen Größe.

So what size desk should a work desk have?

The recommended desk dimensions can be found in the DIN standard, but the ideal height, width and depth of the work surface also always depends on the use, i.e. how many work utensils should be placed on the desk. You can find out more about the specific dimensions of an ergonomic desk below.

Optimum desk height

The DIN standard for office desks stipulates that the recommended height for fixed, i.e. non-adjustable, desks is 74 cm (+/- 2 cm). The height of the work surface of (electrically) height-adjustable desks, on the other hand, should be adjustable between 65 and 125 cm.

However, these specifications are only guidelines. After all, your height and the length of your upper arms, torso and lower legs have a significant influence on the right desk height. You can tell whether the height of the work surface is correct by the position of your upper and lower arms. Regardless of whether you are sitting or standing: To do this, place your forearms completely relaxed on the desk surface. If they form a right angle with your upper arms, you know that the desk is at the right height for you.

Would you like to be able to adjust your desk to the optimum height for you?

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Desk width

The desk serves as a surface for setting up and storing all necessary work equipment (screens, keyboard, mouse and mouse pad) and other materials (e.g. important documents, writing utensils). In addition, there must be enough space to rest your arms and hands comfortably on the desk surface and to change posture from time to time.

However, as the actual width of the work surface depends on the individual needs of each user, there are no fixed dimensions for the width of the desk. However, in order to have enough space for all office equipment and all work utensils on your desk, we recommend a minimum width of 135 cm. If you work with several screens, a larger desk width of 160 cm, 180 cm or 200 cm is more suitable.

Frau arbeitet im Stehen an einem verstellbaren Schreibtisch.

Desk depth

The depth of the desk or the short side of the work surface is also important. It should be chosen so that a minimum distance of 45 cm can be maintained between the eyes and the screen(s). A desk depth of at least 80 cm is therefore recommended. At least this value is advisable for the frequently used 17-inch screens.

A greater viewing distance of 100 cm is even better for working with larger and/or multiple screens. This means you don't have to constantly turn your head back and forth between the screens. Monitor mounts can be used for desks with a shallower depth. In this case, the screens do not have to be placed on the table top and therefore do not take up unnecessary space. In this way, the preferred distance between the eye and the screen can be maintained.

Man arbeitet an einem Schreibtisch mit der richtigen Schreibtisch-Tiefe.

Desk size recommendation: The right desk width for different uses

Does your daily routine only consist of a few hours of screen work or do you do most of your work digitally? How you use your desk will determine which desk dimensions are required. The standard desk dimensions above don't necessarily have to be suitable for you - instead, you can opt for a smaller or larger desk.

Desk dimensions for a screen

If you do almost all of your work on your PC or laptop, you probably don't need to store many documents or similar items. Because you therefore only need a small amount of space, the desk width can be reduced to 120 cm without affecting your work performance.

Empfohlene minimale Schreibtisch-Maße für einen Bildschirm.

A desk with minimum dimensions of 120 cm x 80 cm is sufficient for predominantly digital work. However, to be able to work comfortably and without restrictions, we recommend a desk with a width of at least 135 cm.

Desk for 2 monitors

If you are working with two monitors and a lot of documents and office utensils, you will of course need more space. To ensure that all your work equipment and materials can be placed generously on your desk, it's best to choose a larger desk width of 160 cm or more.

Empfohlene minimale Schreibtisch-Maße für 2 Bildschirme.

A desk measuring 160 cm x 80 cm is ideal for working with 2 monitors and paper documents. Larger table tops with a width of 180 cm or 200 cm provide more comfort.

You can also extend your desk at a later date - e.g. with these two hacks:

  • Try using a monitor riser. Place your screens on an elevation to free up the space underneath. Such a device is not only useful for space reasons, but also helps to avoid painful neck tension as much as possible.
  • Put yourself a practical side table that you can position right next to your desk. If it's the right size, everything that doesn't fit on the regular work surface will definitely fit on it.

Desk dimensions play an important role!

To combat physical complaints that can be caused by working at a desk for hours on end, your workstation should be designed as ergonomically as possible. The importance of the right desk dimensions should never be underestimated! Only if the height, width and depth of your desk are correct can you adopt a healthy posture when working. But don't forget to get enough exercise in your free time or in the office!

Are you looking for a desk with the right dimensions for you?

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