Your employees deserve a healthier office environment so why not start by improving their desks?
What’s the best seating or standing position for someone who spends 8 hours a day and 5 days a week at their desks? A conventional office chair? A stool? A beanbag? A standing desk? It is increasingly important nowadays for managers to ensure a healthy environment for their workers and focusing on frequently used furniture like desks, chairs and keyboards should be the first port of call.
The standing desk has become ubiquitous in many offices in recent years. What types of standing desks are available, how do they work and what are the actual advantages of using such desks?
Some standing desks are merely table-like objects (desk converters) that you add to an existing table and adjust according to your preference. These can be cheaper to install and the desk space below can be used for storage. Modern desk-converter standing desks are sturdy and able to withstand those who like to hammer the keyboard as they type. These desks are perfect for hot-desking where different users have different heights. A disadvantage of this type is that the original desk may get in the way of the standing user and knees and legs may come into contact with the edge of the desk more often than one would like.
These sit-stand desks can be useful for those who are unsure whether they are able to stand all day. This is likely to be healthier than regular sitting desks.
Others are stand-alone standing desks with long, extendable legs which rest on the floor. These can be more expensive but will prove useful when office space is already at a premium. Some include attachments for placing keyboards and mice.
Advantages of Standing Desks
Using a standing desk can help improve leg muscles, enhance digestion, combat weight gain and improve back pain (source: BGR, Amazon).
The height of a standing desk should match the height of the user so it's important that standing desks are either tailor-made or height-adjustable.
Studies show that users of any type of standing desk feel more energized and comfortable than with conventional desks and 50% of users felt back pain had improved (source: JourneyWell by HealthPartners).
One study in 2010 showed huge increases in mortality for those who used regular desks compared with standing desks with a 94% higher mortality rate for women who were inactive and sat for more than 6 hours per day compared with those who were physically active and sat for fewer than 3 hours per day (source: juststand.org).
Some Popular Standing Desks
The popular ‘VIVO Height Adjustable Standing Desk Sit to Stand Gas Spring Riser Converter’ is appreciated for its wide desk area allowing the use of dual monitors, quick elevation using a gas spring force and a simple assembly. Cables can be readily hidden using attached clips and a lower deck area ensures better use of a mouse and keyboard.
Halter's ‘Pre-assembled Height Adjustable Desk Sit/Stand Desk Elevating Desktop’ features squeeze handles to easily adjust the height and comes fully-assembled making it the easiest desk to set up (raised to maximum height in just a few seconds). This desk will raise up to 41 cm, includes plenty of room for working and comes in a tasteful mahogany red color.
Airlift’s ‘Dual Monitor Risers’ are available in a range of colors and sizes and can reach higher than most other standing desks (almost 50 cm higher than the seated desk). Also includes a stand for tablets or phones. The extra height ensures better posture for taller individuals and it also includes a removable tray for keyboards and mice.
It's not quite as easy as removing your standing desk from the box and getting to work. You'll need to get used to it first and ensure it's all to your requirements. Physical adjustments are needed. For years you've probably been sitting for 7 to 9 hours every day so don't expect to be able to just stand at your standing desk for 8 hours solid straight away. Ease yourself into it. When you start to feel tired sit down and then continue standing when you feel the energy kicking in again. It's also wise to get a good mat to stand on - your feet need something comfortable underneath them. If you're using an adjustable desk then you'll need to pay attention to the many cables at your workstation to ensure they don't get trapped when you're moving around. When you're standing you still need to be aware of good posture and ergonomics - if you use a laptop then consider getting an external monitor to ensure you're not always looking down at your screen and to be sure that you are at eye-level with your screen and not having to bend you neck too much.
Good luck with the progression to a standing desk. In the long turn it will make for a more comfortable experience and you'll be grateful that you made the switch!
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