What Are the Biggest Benefits of Standing Desks for Your Office?

Posted by Seraine Page on Mon, Oct, 31, 2022

Wondering if you should get a standing desk? Or if you should supply your entire team with standing desks? Standing Desk

Given that 15 percent of U.S. adults are physically inactive, perhaps the biggest benefit of standing desks is simply the standing part. For years, docs have told us how a sedentary lifestyle leads to issues like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even some cancer types.

In fact, sitting too long is harming your employees more than you might think.

If you’re looking at your budget for next year, you may be considering ways to make your office and employees more comfortable. Research indicates that 65 percent of individuals who got standing desks reported an increase in productivity; 47 percent said the pain in their upper back, neck, and shoulders improved.

Ready to order new desks? This post will cover the science of standing desks, the benefits of standing desks, using one correctly, and where to get them.

The Science Behind Standing Desks

You probably know it’s better to stand than to sit, especially if you tend to sit all day long.

In the new-ish world of remote working, a lot more people are sitting at home these days.

Post-pandemic, about 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in America. For those still commuting, there’s also often a lot of sit time, which means much of the day for office workers is spent, well, sitting.

Evidence indicates that the human body burns more calories when standing for at least part of the day. Sitting for too long can put excessive pressure on the spine as well and is a major source of back pain. This alone is an excellent reason to consider the perks of a desk that allows workers to move from a sit-to-stand position often.

Related: How Sitting is Harming Your Employees (+7 Tips to Fix It!) 

 The Best Benefits of Standing Desks

Desks have long been used by office staff with just one way to use them: In a seated position.

Now, with many lifestyle issues and diseases on the rise, scientists and workplaces alike are looking at how the average worker can stay healthier on the job with unique office equipment changes like standing desks.

The Mayo Clinic warns about sitting for hours on end: Excessive sitting is linked to health issues like high blood pressure and the addition of excess visceral fat around abdominal organs. It’s just not healthy to sit all day, every day. That’s where some of the best benefits of standing desks come into play.

Here’s a look at the biggest perks of owning a standing desk:

  • Reduces risk of shoulder and back pain - Sitting for long periods of time tends to lead to slouching which leads to back pain and muscle fatigue. It’s the ongoing, low-level stress on the body with improper positioning that leads to the bigger injuries later down the road that may require the use of physical therapy or even surgery.
  • Improves productivity - Who doesn’t want to be more productive? Because sit-stand desks are created with ergonomics in mind, there’s a significant impact on productivity in the workplace, too. One study by the British Medical Journal shows trials involving 146 NHS workers who swapped regular desks for sit-stand desks. The study showed that workers with sit-stand desks were more engaged and also had minor musculoskeletal issues.
  • Reduce health issues - A study published by JAMA Cardiology found that those who sit more often are cited as having a greater risk of health complications. Six to eight hours of daily sitting "increases the relative risk of heart disease and premature death by around [12–13%], compared to people who sit less than four hours per day. Bump that time up to eight hours or more, and the relative risk lurches to an astonishing 20[%]."
  • Boosts circulation - Sitting isn’t the best position to keep your blood circulating. Proper blood circulation keeps fresh blood going to cells to keep the brain sharp and the heart healthy. Poor circulation can lead to fatigue. To reduce the risk of blood clots and improve circulation, experts recommend standing at least two hours daily.
  • Improves posture - Standing straight and tall while keeping feet shoulder-width apart ensures proper posture. It’s much easier to keep a proper posture while standing than it is in a sitting position.

For those who sit and do so in front of a computer screen all day, the risk of issues like weight gain aren’t the only problem. Not enough breaks can also lead to digital eye strain which can contribute to eye pain and headaches.

Where to Get a Standing Desk

Luckily, it’s not too hard to find a standing desk. You can buy them through the usual office supply stores like Staples, Office Depot, or even The Home Depot.

Depending on your budget will also dictate where you may look. Online retailers generally have specials around the holidays — Black Friday is coming up — so you can sign up for marketing newsletters to get first knowledge of when items will be going on sale.

Do a quick Google search, too, and you’ll find a variety of desk options from manual to electric.

Tips for Using a Standing Desk

Ready to jump on the standing desk train? After doing thorough research (there are lots of reviews out there due to the popularity of this office equipment) you’ll want to be sure to use your desk to its fullest capabilities.

A few tips on using a standing desk:

  • Read the manual - Knowing how to use your desk and all its features is helpful. Go through the manual and understand how to manually or electronically adjust your desk. Some desks have memory settings to adjust exactly to your preferred sit and stand positions.
  • Ease into it - If you’re used to sitting for most of the work day, it’s not going to be a quick adjustment to start standing most of the day. Take breaks and alternate sitting to standing every 45 minutes or so. Work your way up to standing for longer periods of time, starting off with 15 to 30 minutes of standing time.
  • Invest in an anti-fatigue mat - An anti-fatigue mat is a great investment, especially if your office floor is cement or has super thin carpet. These mats are designed to minimize fatigue that occurs after long periods of time on a hard surface.
  • Adjust accordingly - During the first week or so, you may find you need to adjust your screen, mouse position, etc. Follow good posture and body positioning and learn about ergonomics to ensure your body doesn’t fatigue or overcompensate.

Even if you can’t afford to outfit your entire team with standing desks, encourage movement as much as possible. Whether that means supplying headsets for walking meetings, asking them to stand and walk every 30 minutes, or even just working while standing at a high table or counter. Every movement adds up and makes a difference for good health.

Just remember, standing doesn’t replace the need for a good workout routine. Remind everyone to keep that in the mix, too!  

Do you have a standing desk? How do you like it? Share in the comments below!

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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