At one time, the prospect of standing all day for an office job may have seemed oppressive, uncomfortable and an impediment to productivity. Times have changed, however.
Many companies and people working from home offices have embraced the idea of more standing. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, standing desks are the fastest-growing employee benefit in the country’s workplaces.
With a growing number of companies allowing work-at-home arrangements and the increasing number of people using home offices, standing desks are getting a lot of positive attention.
In home offices with little space, standing desks might make a lot of sense because they often have a smaller footprint.
As people strive for wellness, standing desks may help contribute to a more active, health-conscience lifestyle that stands in contrast with some of the problems associated with being too sedentary, including sitting too much.
Standing desks, as the name suggests, help make it possible for users to stand or sit as they work and come in a variety of styles and materials with different features. Standing desks range in price from around $100 to more than $2,500.
The types of standing desks include:
Fixed-height standing desks enable people to work at a set height.
Height-adjustable desks can be raised or lowered by manual means, or there are standing desks powered by electricity and move with the push of a button. Sitting to standing desks enable people to stand or sit as they prefer throughout the day.
Some features of standing desks include:
Steel base providing lasting strength
Desktops with heavy-duty laminate finish
Programmable memory settings for height-adjustable desks
Cable management trays
Strive for Greater Productivity
Standing has been linked to greater productivity. For example, in a study of call center employees, the people with standing desks were 45% more productive on a daily basis than employees who sat during their shift. The productivity of the standing-desk workers increased from about 23% in the first month to 53% over the next six months.
A 2018 study involved 146 people working in offices at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in the United Kingdom. The study gave 76 participants sit-stand desks and provided training meant to encourage less sitting at work. Meanwhile, those in the other group didn’t receive any coaching and worked at their desks as normal.
At the end of the year, the first group reported standing longer than the control group (about 82 minutes more each day), reported better physical and mental health, improved work performance, and were more engaged in their jobs than their sitting peers.
And if state of mind can play into productivity, then standing can help here, too. For example, one study, the Take-a-Stand Project, gave 24 people with sedentary jobs sit-stand desks and found they reduced their sitting time each day by 224% (66 minutes) and improved their “mood states.”
Holding any posture too long can be tiring and may interfere with work. A good height-adjustable sit-stand desk allows the user to sit and stand as they prefer and also lets them sit and stand at different heights to help take into consideration the changing requirements of their body and mood throughout the workday.
A standing desk with electric height adjustment, including preprogrammed settings, makes it very easy to use a desk at different optimal heights throughout the day.
Part of a Healthier Lifestyle
Stand-up desks are part of the active furniture category, appealing to people who strive for a healthier, more active lifestyle, even as they work. The category includes:
When it comes to burning calories, standing uses more than sitting; it’s just a question of how much. In a study of 74 participants who did computer work while sitting, standing, or walking, the researchers discovered that:
Sitting burned 80 calories per hour.
Standing burned 88 calories per hour.
Walking burned 210 calories per hour.
Research has also discovered that people working at standing computer desks tend to move more throughout the day, shifting their weight from one foot to another, leaning, twisting, and just being more active. This may help to burn even more calories than previously shown.
Says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Chief of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic: “Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.”
Don’t Stand Alone
Of course, stand-up desks are most effective when used properly. For more information on proper ergonomics associated with stand-up desks, consult StartStanding.org.
Other ideas for standing desk practices include:
Wearing comfortable shoes with no or low heel.
Standing on an anti-fatigue mat, which uses soft material, such as rubber, to reduce the wearing effects of a hard floor.
Taking short walk breaks every 30 minutes or so.
Getting a headset or speaker to avoid bending your neck if you’re on the phone a lot.
Avoiding hunching or leaning on the desk as though it is a counter.
Shifting your weight from foot to foot throughout the day to reduce lower back stress.
And, like any new activity, using a standing desk is something that should be done in increments at your own pace.
Peter Giffen is a writer and editor who specializes in business and technology.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.The content is based on scientific and technical research noted below. The information does not constitute a medical consultation and cannot replace medical advice. Any information should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care provider.
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