For Your Good Health and Productivity: Should You Invest In A Standing Desk

Long periods of sitting at a desk has led to an increase in back problems and, because of that, doctors have prescribed all kinds of exercises to office workers and universities to give their desk-bound revising students. There have been an array of studies done that show constant inactivity is bad for people’s health.


This is why more and more people are opting for the standing desk.  It’s an alternative to traditional sit-down desks and allegedly help to do a multitude of things such as:

  • Decrease back problems
  • Increase user’s energy levels
  • Improvement in circulation and fitness
  • Increasing productivity


Many well-known companies – Google, Facebook and Twitter – have given their employees a chance to go from traditional desks to standing desks.


Is this the new way – healthy way – to work?

Regardless of what you may think, standing desks haven’t just come about. The concept dates all the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill, who allegedly used them in their careers. Writers like Virginia Woolfe, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway are also have said to have used them.  According to a BBC website, Victorian clerks in the late 19th century would stand at desks.


What Issues Are Associated With Traditional Sit-Down Desks

More studies are finding that people who live a sedentary life are at a higher risk of health problems, even if they get a regular amount of exercise. According to the American Cancer Society researchers, a person who spends six hours or more a day at their desk increase their likelihood of dying within 15 years by 37 percent. For men, the percentage is 18.


According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s called sitting disease. And, even though it sounds like a cheap marketing gig, the studies that are linked to it are a clear indication of the dangers of having a sedentary lifestyle. Some people claim it’s just as unhealthy as regular cigarette smoking.


What are some of the health problems associated with this “disease”? They include:


  • Back pain
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Deadly heart attacks


Obesity is another possible health risk for people who live a sedentary lifestyle. In a 2013 study, a person who sits down more often than not will burn 50 calories less per hour than a person who stands more often. This person a sedentary office worker is at a higher risk for obesity and all the health problems that go along with it. This is especially true if they don’t modify their calorie intake.


A study looking at more than 100 full-time office workers revealed that people who sat for longer periods of time were three times more likely to have a waist circumference of 37 inches or more for men and 31 inches for women.  These workers often have a BMI rating that’s higher than 30. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight, a 25 or under number is regarded as being a healthy weight.


Sitting down for a long period of time can boost the chance for repetitive strain injuries.  People who don’t move around too often can feel physical discomfort and muscle stiffness. When people stand on a regular basis, they tend to modify their balance and weight distribution on a regular basis.


Do Standing Desks Help To Boost Productivity Levels?


There are several websites that have tested the productivity of their workers with standing desks. The results were mixed. For creative folks, writes with had a hard time with the creative thought process – sitting down allowed them to think more efficiently.  With the boring tasks, standing cause some urgency and allowed them to focus and get the task finished faster.


Desktime is an app that keeps an eye on productivity and categorizes it between time spent sitting versus time spent standing. Workers who used standing desks said they didn’t visit social media websites near as often, meaning they didn’t procrastinate near as much. Many users tended to feel alert especially in the afternoon hours when energy levels tended to decrease.


There have been other studies used in this standing desk theory. Cognitive research revealed that people who are more active tend to do better than people who don’t. It can be hard to be productive when you must move around and stand at sitting desk. But, if you’re constantly moving and shifting your weight at the desk, it builds up the activity levels and decreases the pointless time away from your work.


Plus, when you’re more active, it betters your cognitive performance, which means your work capabilities will improve.


Standing at the job also decreases the possibility of multi-tasking. It appears that people can’t handle multitask jobs when they are standing. According to various studies, this could be a good thing. People are not near as productive as they think they multitask. In fact, they do better and are more effective when they focus on one task at a time. That means standing helps people to focus on one task, decreasing the procrastinations and distractions.


Do Standing Desks Help In Increasing Happiness?


According to Synqk, a New York-based business, a study was done on their staff’s productivity levels as they used new standing desks. What the company found was that staff were far more productive and tended to be much happier. It concluded that the change to standing desks improved their workplace feelings and satisfaction. Perhaps it’s because the excessive sitting caused a host of negative health problems like back issues whereas standing eliminated or decreased it.


Should You Use Adjustable Height Desks?


There are several fixed height-standing desks that can be purchased. However, these are typically very cheap, which is why if you’re considering a standing desk, you should consider an adjustable height desk. These desks can be adjusted either with a motorized button or crank handle. This is better for when the desk will need to be shared among folks who differ in height.


This kind of desks means the time spending between standing and sitting can be customized. It allows for various tasks to be addressed in many ways and increase one’s productivity level.


What Are The Costs To Buying Standing Desks


There are an array of standing desks to choose from. And, more and more are coming available as the market positively responds to the trend.  The problem with these options though is their cost – generally far more expensive than the traditional sit-down desks.


And, because of that, some employers may feel put off in offering them to their employees. That’s because they’re seen more as a remodeling expense than an investment in productivity and welfare of their employees. It’s often why many start-up and big-name firms are the key buyers for the time being.


If you want to buy a standing desk, it’s best to shop for one that fits you. Don’t see it as a remodeling expense but instead a financial investment. However, you need to shop for the best for you. It’s something that you’ll be using on a regular basis and can impact both your work and health.  Larger businesses can often take advantage of the bulk discount offered by some manufacturers.


U.S.-based Focal Upright Furniture provides two styles of full standing desks. A standing desk with them can cost around $1400 but includes various add-ons such as adjustable LED work lights, flat shelves, semi-standing chair, etc. Their products are completely adjustable and offers any possible solution to standing while at work.


The seating of these desks produces a leaning position so that it’s neither sitting nor standing, allows the user to maintain stability between the stomach and back muscles. It also helps with circulation so that the muscles are relaxed – not feeling overwhelmed from the sitting disease and standing.


The chair is also ideal for people looking to add some activity in their life and better their health without losing the ability to sit altogether.


In the United Kingdom, users have the option for the VariDesk standing desk, which sells for around £275 for a single desk set-up and goes up in price for the bigger units that allow for more weight to be added onto it.


These desks allow you to attach them to a desk you’re already using with no fuss. When you compare the price of buying a new desk and getting rid of your old one, this is a cheap but high-quality option. And, you don’t have to make your own desk.  With this kind of desk, you can adjust the height to what you need and lower it if you want to sit down. This is great for folks who need to sit down at some point and still want to work.


Best of all, the Varidesk can be adjusted to meet the height of any user.


Since the cost of these kinds of desks is exceptionally high, many bloggers have created their own adjustable desks using cheap accessories and shelves. Some bloggers have recommended using an anti-fatigue mat, comprised of gel or rubber. This will help to decrease the foot and leg fatigue that can come from standing for long periods of time. Gel Pro is an anti-fatigue mat that many people will recommend. It can be found within the U.S. and was created to fit at the foothold of chairs or just adjustable desks.


People who live in the UK can get a durable anti-fatigue mat for about £60 – providing comfort to your back, knees, feet and hips. It decreases the comfort that comes from standing for long periods of time. Another worthwhile investment for folks who will be working at a standing desk are comfortable shoes that have good arch support.


Apps You Can Get To Monitor Your Sitting/Standing Behavior


Varidesk offers a free app to help you keep an eye on how long you stand and sit. It will ask you to enter your weight and determine how many calories you are burning throughout the day. It’s customizable so you can set the amount of time you spend standing and sitting between the periodic reminders it gives you about changing up your habit.


Should You Get A Standing Desk


The reality about standing desks is that the trend isn’t going to fade anytime soon. The government of Denmark made it mandatory that employers off their sit-stand desks to their staff. And, many well-known, international companies are offering their employees sit-stand desks for those folks who’d rather stand while working.