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A Developer's Guide to Proper Desk Sitting

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on 18-Jun-2019

We spend countless hours hunched over at our desks, typing away and squinting at our screens while working on a code. And naturally, we focus on getting the job done instead of paying attention to our posture and the length of time we spend sitting in the same position.

Poor Work Habits Lead to Health Issues

You may already have some poor habits outside of the workplace that damage your health such as smoking, not exercising, a poor diet and spending a lot of time sitting. What about your poor habits IN the workplace?

After all, on average we spend about 40 hours a week working and most of that time is spent sitting. The longer you sit, the worse your posture becomes.

Some say that sitting is the new smoking. A bad posture and sitting for a long time can lead to many health risks such as back & neck pain, muscle stiffness, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a variety of other issues.

If you catch yourself taking part in any of the following habits, then you’re putting yourself at risk:

  • Sitting with knees, ankles or arms crossed.
  • Sitting slumped to one side.
  • Not properly supporting the feet.
  • Not fully supporting the back (especially the lower back).
  • Sitting with your spine in a 'C Shape.' 
  • Sitting in one position for a long time.
  • Straining the neck for long periods of time while staring at a screen.
  • Sitting for an extended period of time without taking a break.

Correct Sitting Posture

There are a few steps you can take in order to ensure healthy habits at work. Firstly, let’s take a look at sitting properly in a comfortable chair, it may sound super simple but most of us don't follow proper sitting.

Follow these simple steps in order to sit properly:

  • Take a seat in your chair and plant your feet on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair. 
  • Keep your shoulders and back straight and focus on keeping your lower back supported on the back of the chair. 
  • Leave a small gap between the back of your knees and the chair.
  • Position your knees at the same height or slightly lower than your hips and place your ankles in front of your knees.
  • Recline the back of the chair to a 100 to 110-degree angle.
  • Adjust your armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed.

Two diagrams of man sitting incorrectly at his desk at work (slouching) and a third diagram of proper desk sitting.


There you have it, you’re sitting properly in your chair. Now that’s only one part to proper desk sitting. Let’s set up your desk for the ideal work environment.

Setting Up Your Workspace for Success

Setting up your workplace is as important as sitting properly for your health. Check out how to set up your workspace:

Setting up your desk:

Adjust the height of your chair so you are able to roll up to your desk and fit both of your feet and the chair’s armrests comfortably underneath. Adjust your chair so that your arms are bent to 90 degrees.

Setting up your monitor:

It is very important to adjust your monitor to the correct height since constantly looking up or down can make you tired and eventually lead to eye strain. Place your monitor in front of you, arms length away and at eye level height since this will ensure that your neck will be straight and relaxed.

Setting up your mouse & keyboard:

Place the mouse and keyboard directly in front of you and as central to your body as possible. Position both the mouse and keyboard at about elbow height. If you’re using a keyboard tray, place it just above your thighs for the ideal position.

If you want to find out the ideal height to adjust your chair, monitor and keyboard, you can check out this site where you’re able to place your height & it will give you the proper dimensions. 

A Few Additional Tips to Staying Healthy at Work

Here are a few additional tips you can follow to achieve the ideal healthy workday:

Avoid sitting for long periods of time- It is recommended that you take stretch breaks every 20 to 30 minutes so you’re not constantly sitting. Get up on your feet, even if you’re standing beside your desk and not moving around it is still better than sitting.

Give a standing desk a try- If your desk is adjustable, you are able to work in a standing position just make sure to adjust it properly to your height. Working while standing can be just as effective as sitting!

Eating healthy & drinking plenty of water- Don’t let your work completely consume you, remember to keep hydrated and always have healthy food available in your workspace.
Healthy desk space with keyboard, fruit and a phone.

RUBICON: An Ergonomic Workplace

RUBICON’s office space is an ideal work environment offering ergonomic materials to help you get comfortable in your desk space.

Each team member has their own office space that is accompanied by:

  • A heigh adjustable standing desk.
  • A soft cushioned adjustable chair with lower back support.
  • An ergonomic keyboard & monitor.
  • Space around the office to walk, stretch and take a break whenever needed.

Using these appliances, I’m able to create my own workspace in which I feel both comfortable and productive.
RUBICON's ergonomic office with proper chairs, adjustable monitors and standing desks.

Create your own healthy workspace

The average person spends around 90,000 hours at work, therefore healthy habits are very important. You too can create your own ideal workspace and be mindful to how you’re sitting at your desk to avoid health issues. I challenge you to make a change in your work environment!

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