Standing Desks have become commonplace in offices across the globe and it’s no real surprise considering the fantastic ergonomic benefits they give to employees. Some of the largest multinationals are realising the potential of ergonomic desks, with both Facebook and Google offering them to their employees. Facebook recruiter Grey Hoy even expressed his enthusiasm for standing desks to the Wall Street Journal and said “I don’t get the 3 o’clock slump anymore, I feel active all day long”. Standing Desks have been shown to reduce occupational fatigue in the workplace and it’s no surprise one of Facebook’s top recruiters is much favour of using them. Less occupational fatigue and more productivity, right?
There are 2 main types of standing desks, the more popular, electric height adjustable desks. Which offers a complete desk set-up that is adjustable up and down allowing both seated and standing work. Desk risers/Standing desk converters on the other hand require a pre-existing desk to be placed on top of, they then “convert” this desk into a sit-stand desk. Sitting is the new smoking
Let’s face it, modern-day lives encourage a lot of sitting. A lot fewer people work in laborious and manual jobs and walking has become more of a chore, especially when an uber can be with you in 2 minutes. Not only that but once you are finished with your day job it’s more than easy to perch on the sofa and be entertained by social media for hours on end. It’s got to the point now that even the Heart Foundation in the USA has stated “Sitting is the new Smoking”. Sounds pretty extreme, doesn’t it?
Sitting isn’t bad for you, not at all, however, sitting for prolonged amounts of time can have real detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. In the last decade a lot of money has been invested by companies into the health and well-being of their employees and ergonomic working has become of particular interest. Ergonomics, in relation to office working and furniture simply means that something is designed to allow comfortable and effective working whilst being used. Ergonomic equipment is becoming relatively common, so if you start seeing odd-shaped mousepads or chairs in your office, chances are they are for your own benefit and ergonomically designed.
Standing Desks are all the hype and rightly so but before we start getting into their benefits there is a point that should probably be mentioned. When using a Standing Desk, it’s not advised to stand all day…really too much standing can be as bad for you as too much sitting. Rather it’s recommended to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day depending on personal preference or the task at hand. It’s common that people tend to stand for more mundane tasks like having phone meetings or when replying to emails and then sit when more attention is needed on the work.
Why do I need a Standing Desk this year?
If you are a CEO then I don’t doubt this next paragraph will get your ears twitching. One of the primary benefits standing desks are said to give is that they boost workplace productivity. A study published by Taylor and Francis compared productivity levels between fully seated employees and those that alternated between seated and standing work. Over a 6 month period, it was found that those who used alternative sit-stand desks were on average 45% more productive on a daily basis. This study can only conclude a correlation rather than causation however other studies on the topic can help piece together the reasonings for this boost in productivity. It was found that when standing desks were used at Texas A&M University, those who used them typically had improved focus and memorising skills compared to those who didn’t. It is theorised that the boosted brain activity linked to standing had a positive impact on memory and focus, alternatively, the addition of standing into an individuals day seems to greatly reduce occupational fatigue, as seen in the Taylor and Francis study above and how Facebooks recruiter, Grey Hoy expressed to Wall Street Journal.
Another benefit of intermittent standing whilst working is to improve your blood circulation. Prologoned periods of sitting can be detrimental, limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your brain and body. It only takes 10 minutes of standing to greatly improve circulation, having additional secondary benefits of improving mental focus due to increased oxygen received in the brain. A study conducted by the Scandinavian journal of work, environment and health found that 71% of employees reported feeling more focused after reducing sitting in the workplace by just one hour.
The productivity benefits of using a standing desk are great however the majority of height-adjustable desk users typically purchase them for the health benefits they bring. Osteoporosis and general back pain are more common than ever and guess what is to blame? Sitting… well not quite sitting specifically but more so because of the sedentary lifestyles we live in the present day. A lot more people are opting for ergonomic working and choosing to have an electric adjustable desk rather than a normal workstation. Google now offers its employees the option of having a standing desk as part of its employee wellness program. It’s common for some companies to require a doctor’s note to even consider this alternative, but not for google.
Reducing back pain, and improving posture & blood circulation all whilst burning more calories compared to when sitting sounds a bit too good to be true, but standing desks really do deserve the hype they are receiving. If you are now convinced a standing desk is for you you have plenty of choices to choose from. From desk risers to height adjustable desks, all provide the same great ergonomic benefits to your work life, allowing you to be as productive and healthy as possible.