Height adjustable desks in the worklace
In recent years, sit stand desks have become increasingly popular in the workplace. These desks allow users to easily adjust the height of their workspace, enabling them to work comfortably in both sitting and standing positions.
But while height adjustable desks have been adopted in other European countries, in the UK, it seems that many businesses are still behind the times. There’s a tendency to treat office furniture as just another expense for business owners, without considering these purchases as an investment into the health and wellbeing of staff. Not only do health concerns caused by sedentary working lead to unwell staff, but it can also cost the business money in terms of absences and loss of productivity.
Here, we’ll explore the benefits of a sit stand desk and why they are becoming an essential feature of modern workplaces, as well as how to maximise the impact they will have on your business through proper set-up.
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Improved health and wellbeing
One of the key benefits of height adjustable desks is the ability to improve health and wellbeing. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods can have negative effects on physical health, including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, sitting for extended periods can cause discomfort and pain, leading to musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. In the workplace, this results in an increased risk of absenteeism and low morale in staff.
A desk that moves up and down allows workers to change their posture throughout the day, reducing the negative effects of sitting for long periods. Standing desks have also been found to increase energy expenditure, which can help with weight management. The ability to alternate between sitting and standing can also help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, as it allows workers to adjust their posture and relieve pressure on certain areas of the body.
Another benefit of an ergonomic standing desk is their potential to increase productivity. Studies have shown that workers who use standing desks experience increased alertness, focus and productivity, compared to those who sit at traditional desks.
In fact, 65% of participants in the Stand Up to Work study reported increased productivity and concentration after one year of using a sit stand desk, and said they felt more active and energetic. Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day engages your largest muscle groups and improves circulation, which increases blood flow to the brain and prevents fatigue, which directly correlates to your mood and ability to perform well at work.
Height adjustable desks can also benefit collaboration and communication in the workplace. When workers are able to adjust their desk height, they can easily switch between sitting and standing positions, making it easier to move around and interact with colleagues. This can promote a more collaborative work environment and increase social interaction among team members.
More control over workspaces
Electric sit stand desks offer a more dynamic, agile way of working and create a workspace that’s tailored to more interaction and engagement. It can even help to encourage people back to the office if they’re seeking more flexibility in how they work. For example, desks can be pushed together to create the perfect space for team work and group thinking, or adjusted at the flick of a switch for stand-up meetings or focused work.
The ability to change work positions throughout the day can really help to keep the body and mind engaged and gives staff complete control to work in the way that best suits them. Everyone is different and while someone might enjoy a more active work day, others might want to sit more with the option to stand when they’re feeling fatigued or lethargic. The option to customise our workspaces makes for a happier and more comfortable work environment and sit stand desks are ideal for achieving this.
A boost to mental health
In addition to the physical and social benefits, height adjustable desks can also have a positive impact on mental health of staff. Sitting for extended periods has been linked to increased stress and anxiety, while standing has been found to increase feelings of energy and positivity.
Compared to a traditional computer desk, height adjustable desks can help to alleviate stress and improve mood, leading to a more positive work environment and happier employees. This in turn has a positive effect on employee morale and the general atmosphere in a workplace.
Are there negatives to sit stand desks?
Despite the numerous benefits of ergonomic office desks, there are some potential downsides to consider. For example, standing for extended periods can lead to fatigue and discomfort, especially if workers do not have proper footwear or anti-fatigue mats. Workers may also need time to adjust to using a height adjustable desk, which can affect productivity in the short-term.
When switching to a height adjustable desk, it’s important to take regular breaks, perform stretches throughout the day to keep your leg muscles supple and prevent fatigue, and use an anti-fatigue mat to protect your feet and joints.
Setting up a standing desk properly
Business owners who are ready to take the plunge and swap out traditional desks for ergonomic standing desks need to know how to set up these desks properly for the best results. Sit stand desks may look virtually identical to a normal desk, but there are a few features to think about to ensure that staff are ready to work comfortably and safely.
Assembly: Make sure you check the manufacturer’s guidance when it comes to assembling your desk so you can be sure it’s installed properly and securely. Instructions can vary depending on the make and model of your desk, so this should always be your first step.
Sitting position: Set your desk to the right sitting position – if you have chosen an electric standing desk, you can set this to a specific height so it’s easy to adjust back to sitting from standing with just the press of a button. Make sure you’re sitting in an upright, comfortable position with your back resting against your chair, and that your elbows are bent at around 90 degrees. Your head should be level and forward-facing, in line with your torso.
Standing position: Your standing position shouldn’t vary too much from your sitting position – it should be comfortable, relaxed and natural. Keep your back and neck straight, avoid slouching and don’t lean on your desk as this puts pressure on your back and can also damage your desk.
It’s important to move between sitting and standing regularly so you get the benefits of both working positions. Aim to swap between sitting and standing every 30 minutes to an hour, starting off with smaller increments while you get used to working in this way. With these steps, your staff will be well on their way to enjoying a more enjoyable and comfortable work experience.
A sit stand desk offers a range of benefits for both workers and businesses. They can improve physical health, increase productivity, and promote collaboration and communication in the workplace. Additionally, they can have a positive impact on mental health and can be beneficial for workers with certain medical conditions.
While there are some potential downsides to consider and steps to take to mitigate these problems, as with any item of office equipment, the benefits of height adjustable desks make them an essential feature of modern workplaces.