One of the hot topics that you’ve likely heard floating around the workplace is ergonomics. According to its dictionary definition, ergonomics is the “study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.” In the context of the office, it refers to the productivity within your workspace, and many businesses are tearing down cubicles and replacing traditional workstations with new models in the name of sweeping improvements. Among these popular trends is this new desk solution: sit and stand desk.
A sit-stand desk, also referred to as an ergonomic desk, is the most up and coming type of workstation. Your sit-stand workstation can vary in design, but what each one offers is the ability to upgrade your workspace. These setups allow you to readjust your office desk and help your blood flow while you work. And it’s not just some fancy way to elevate your computer screen. Standing desks encourage health, work effectiveness, and overall productivity.
To get the most out of your standing workstation, consider the following ergonomic standing desk best practices.
Know Which Desk is Right For You
There’s a wide range of desks that support a standing workstation, and each one functions slightly differently. To get the most out of your sit and stand workstation, make sure you know which ergonomic desk you want and how it works. The five most common standing desks are:
- Converted desks
- Mobile desks
- Wall mounts
- Full desks
- Motorized standing desks
The desk converter has become popular because it can turn any desk into an ergonomic standing desk. By stacking the desk converter on top of your regular desk, you can change the desk height and reap the health benefits anywhere you go. When using a converted desk, be sure to know the dimensions—you don’t want to worry about the converter toppling over with all your work equipment!
Mobile desks vary in size and number of shelves, but each model functions relatively the same. Each unit comes with wheels at the bottom and adjustable legs, allowing you to move your desk up and down as needed. Once your portable standing desk is where you want it, lock it into place with the wheel brakes found at the bottom.
Wall mounts are a bit more challenging to transport after installation, so make sure to put yours in the optimal location to suit your needs. Each model has slight mobility differences, but sit-stand wall mounts will typically have adjustments to move your workstation up and down.
Full desks replace your desk entirely, with a base frame that adjusts the height. If your frame is sold separately from its desktop counterpart, take measurements and verify that they are compatible.
Motorized Standing Desks
With a motorized standing desk, you can move from sitting to standing or the other way around, you have the ability to do whatever you so choose. You have a completely adjustable desk at the press of a button. Some of the desks even come with a built-in timer that raises and lowers your desk throughout the day, making it even easier for you.
Don’t Stay Static
Regardless of the model you select, don’t stay on your feet all day, every day. Standing workspaces are designed to work with you by moving around and allowing you to sit and stand as desired. To maximize comfort and improve blood circulation:
- Rest when needed – Prolonged standing causes significant pain in your feet, legs, and knees. Taking enough breaks and resting your body is crucial in preventing joint pain, muscle aches, and blood from pooling in your legs. Listen to your body and don't risk the pain if you feel like it's time to take a rest. This will be much more beneficial for your health and productivity overall.
- Sit and Stand – Sitting all day has significant health consequences that inspired the standing desk movement, but being in a standing position all day can also be harmful. A study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology 1 found that those who stood all day have a “2-fold risk of incident heart disease,” which is not something to be taken lightly. The CDC 2 lists heart disease as the “leading cause of death for both men and women.” Sit and stand workstation setups are meant to improve your health and comfort, not make them worse, which is why it’s important to know how to stand at a standing desk properly. One way is to try to swap between sitting and standing every 30 minutes to minimize risks.
…and Walk! – Be sure to keep the blood flowing by going on a two-minute walk around the office in between standing and sitting. This will stimulate blood flow and help with any blood that gets stuck in the legs.
- Pay attention to your body – The idea is to work with your natural movement. Pay attention to your body’s signals and don’t force yourself to stand all day just because you have a new standing desk.
Adopt the Practice Slowly
To take full advantage of your sit and stand desk, you have to ease into the practice. Creating a workspace that works for you and optimizes your productivity means allowing your body time to adjust. Going from sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day to standing 8 hours a day will have the opposite of the intended effect.
Always, always, always practice patience and listen to your body. Then, enjoy the standing desk benefits. Happy standing!