Sitting is the new smoking. Seems like you can’t go a week without hearing or reading that headline in the news. With all of the conveniences built into our modern lifestyle it can be hard to get in the daily dose of activity that the body requires to operate at its prime. Combine this with the massive shift in the workforce over the last 50 years, from jobs that require activity and movement throughout the day, to jobs that require sitting at a desk for prolonged periods with little physical activity, and it’s easy to see why sitting has become public enemy number one. With over 80% of the American workforce now working in sedentary jobs it’s critical that we find ways to be more active throughout the work day.
In recent years, workplace design has evolved to combat the “sitting epidemic” by creating spaces that encourage movement throughout the day. A variety of tactics have been implemented including placing meeting rooms and breakrooms on the other side of the building, installing open stairwells between floors, and even using standing workstations to promote wellness.
The standing desk has been a topic of much debate as numerous studies and articles on the topic conflict each other, causing much confusion on the benefits of these types of workspaces. Although the standing desk will never replace actual movement and exercise throughout the day, they can still be beneficial by helping us all sit less, while still remaining focused on work related tasks.
Not sure if standing workstations are right for your office? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the standing desk.
- Research shows that stand up desks can boost productivity and cognitive function.
- Standing up promotes the body to burn more calories than sitting.
- It eases pain in the body associated with siting all day, by helping the body stretch out, increasing blood flow, and engaging the core, glutes and leg muscles.
- Users report having increased energy and alertness.
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time is bad for your health.
- Standing for prolonged periods of time is also not good for you. It can lead to joint and back pain, swelling, and fatigue.
- Much like sitting can, standing can also aggravate bad posture if you don’t pay attention to proper ergonomics.
- Some studies show that standing desks don’t have an impact on productivity.
- There is a lack of long term research on the impact of sit-stand desks in the workplace.
With this list of pros and cons it’s no wonder why there is much confusion. Standing desks may not be right for everyone, but for some they can provide a much needed break from the tedious task of sitting for an 8 hour work day. Many users find a desk that allows them to move between sitting and standing throughout the work day is most beneficial, as it allows for a happy medium between the two work styles.
Still not sure if a standing desk is right for your office? There is one last thing to consider, they can help improve employee engagement. Employees are more engaged when their employer cares about their wellbeing and providing employees with a standing workstation is one way of investing in employee wellness and empowerment.
When it comes to a complete sit stand workstation there are two options to choose from. A pneumatic height adjustable table that lets you move the desk up and down with the push of a lever and a little man power, or an electric adjustable height table that moves up and down at the push of a button. OSP® Furniture offers both options, PHAT tables for a pneumatic lift and the Ascend tables for electrical lift, to fit different budget and accessibility needs. Both desks offer a variety of top and leg finishes making it easy to customize the look for your new office space or match existing office furniture.
The newest option in stand up desk technology is a desk riser that fits right onto your existing desk top surface. An adjustable standing desk converter is an affordable way to create a standing workstation without having to replace an entire desk. The OSP® Furniture Multiposition Desk Riser offers a 10” adjustment range and features a keyboard tray and tablet holder making it easy to keep work tools close at hand throughout the day.
Another important factor to consider when adopting sit stand workstations is seating. As with any workstation, having a supportive, ergonomic office chair when seated is critical. While your current office seating may work for some applications, elevated seating may be required for some sit stand desks. A Work Smart® drafting chair makes it easier to move from sitting to standing without having to pause and adjust your desk. This makes it easy for employees to keep working without interruption. The Work Smart® saddle seat stool on the other hand offers multiple adjustments to create a partial-sit/partial-stand position, which puts your spine in a natural S curve shape as well as allowing for an even distribution of pressure on the lower body. However the backless design is not for everyone and may be best for stand up meeting stations where employees gather for impromptu collaboration sessions.
Looking to bring a little more fun into your office? The Pro-Line II® Dry Erase Board Height Adjustable Table can help. In addition to serving as a standing work station, this desk lets you jot down your daily to-do list, and even those occasional doodles, right on the desk top surface. Simply erase at the end of the day and start with a fresh to-do list each morning, right on your desk top. These desks are also ideal for standing meetings where everyone can gather around, grab a dry erase marker, and brainstorm together. Just don’t forget to snap a picture at the end of the meeting to keep track of all those notes!
What are your thoughts on standing desks? Have you tried them yet in your office space? Let us know what you think in the comments below.