Research published by James Levine from Mayo Clinic on NEAT (Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) concluded that people sitting for longer hours burn fewer calories than their counterparts with an active lifestyle. NEAT refers to the number of calories burned during our inactive state. Dwight Schrute from the famous TV series “The Office” caught on this and decided to “kick the chair” and carry out his desk job standing. His standing gimmick was busted by yet another one of Jim Halpert’s shenanigans. Of course, this is a sitcom based on fictitious characters and events, but you get the point! Sitting for long hours does involve health risks.
Sitting is the new smoking
You might have heard several health experts quoting the aforementioned phrase to make you aware of the ill effects of sitting for most of the clock hours. You sit in meetings, at your desks, to eat your meals, and then you sit to binge watch your favorite TV shows. This can have a negative impact on your spinal cord and your overall health. So, it might as well be a good idea to incorporate an arrangement that lets you stand while working and improve your NEAT factor, but how does one achieve this while still “glued” to their desks? The simple two-word answer to this is “standing desks.”
If a 2017 survey by the Society for Human Resources Management is to be believed, standing desks are becoming the fastest growing workplace trend. It is found that around 13% of employers subsidized or provided them in 2013, which grew exponentially to 44 percent in 2017.
There are at least two points of adjustment that you can follow at work when it comes to posture ergonomics: The position of the keyboard (affecting the arms and wrists), and the position of the monitor (affecting the shoulders, neck, and head). It is advisable to position your work monitor at the eye level and approximately at an arm’s length. Positioning your monitor properly allows you to maintain good posture, relieve stress from the head, neck, and shoulders, and reduce eye strain. However, what about the idea of movement? There would be several instances when you will slouch while focusing on the screen, and that’s where standing desks come in. The elimination chair and chair arms improve your arms’ position, providing you a better posture.
According to the ANSI/BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association) studies, an average 5’10” male from our country’s workforce needs a work surface height of 26.5″ when seated and 44.8′ when standing. On the other hand, females who are, at an average, 5’4” tall, require a work surface height of 24.5″ when seated and 41.3″ when standing. There is a huge variation of height among people who have the average height in the workforce and the shortest and the tallest workers, who account for at least 10 percent of the total workforce. As a result, you require standing desks with adjustable height from at least 22″ to 49″.
Types of standing desks
There are numerous options available in the market when it comes to buying standing desks; there are two main categories and their types that you can use at your workplace:
- Static standing desks
As the name suggests, these types of standing desks are fixed at a particular height. Static standing desks can be fixed to a wall using brackets and are suitable for any workspace. Since these standing desks do not let you adjust the height and position of your computer or keyboard, you can achieve the same effect by using a counter-top or a table top.
- Adjustable standing desks
The most common form of standing desks, adjustable desks allow you to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. They also allow you to adjust the height of your monitor and keyboard with the desk. Based on similar factors, there are three main types of adjustable desks:
- Manually adjusting desks
These types of adjustable standing desks can be manually adjusted with the help of a hand crank. This can be counter-productive if you are frequently switching between sitting and standing. Although lighter on the wallet, manual adjustment desks can be tedious and can also make you revert to your old habit of sitting. So, if you are not up for some forearm workout, manually adjusting desks might not be a thing for you. These mechanically adjusting desks can be suitable, instead, for employees involved in automobile workshops, manufacturing units, or in places that already involve some form of physical exertion.
- Electric adjustment
These standing desks are an answer to all complaints about the tedious, forearm-pumping, manually-adjusting standing desks. Electrically adjusting standing desks are suitable if you are working in a comparatively quieter workplace such as an art studio, a software developing firm, libraries, newsrooms, and such. You can adjust the height and position of electrically adjusting standing desks with a push of a button, as a result of which the electric adjustment desks generally range between 40-70 decibels.
- Adjustable converter
Being an economical option, adjustable converters can be used if your workplace already has sitting desks. The best thing about adjustable converters is that they can be used for both static and adjustable standing desks. Adjustable converter, counter-top, or tabletops can help you switch between sitting and standing as they come with adjustable keyboard and monitor trays.
Factors that make desks stand apart
Now that you are convinced that you need standing desks in your workplace, there are several factors that make some of them the best in their class. These factors help you select the best from the lot; from aesthetics to ergonomics, some factors include the following:
Can you adjust more than one desktop? Can it fit into your existing workplace? The best standing desks come with multi-cable management grommets and are of the standard size similar to a workplace desk (40 to 70 inches wide). They will fit into your existing workspace, giving you enough space to keep your desktop peripherals and office supplies on the desk.
Although static standing desks cannot be adjusted, adjustable desks are manually and electrically adjustable or come as table tops. If you are buying a manually-adjusting standing desk, ensure that it has a light and free-moving crankshaft for effortless and noiseless height adjustments. Electrically adjusting standing desks should have the maximum number of memory presets and low noise levels that allow you to adjust the desk to your preferred height with a single push of a button. Tabletops should be sturdy and should preferably have a wide range of height adjustments, given the fact that they will be placed on your existing desk. They should not be big enough to occupy most of your desk, leaving no room for other office stationary on your desk. However, they should also not be overly compact as your keyboard and mouse may tend to fall every time you adjust the tray.
It can be an overwhelming experience to select a standing desk that is beneficial for your neck and spinal cord and balances your NEAT factor. Thanks to the wide variety of standing desks and their multiple manufacturers, there are types to meet the needs of different people (and offices) that have different budgets, preferences, and needs. Keeping in mind these factors and the current workplace trends, some of the most popular standing desks are mentioned here:
- Devaise Crank Desk
If you are a minimalist or someone who does not see themselves spending $500 or $1,000 dollars on a standing desk, manually adjustable desks can be the right choice for you. The 55″ Devaise standing desk is a crank-operating desk that does not come with extra frills like its electric counterparts, and it can be a suitable choice in the $250 range. The desk keeps you free from the hassles of electrical failure and battery replacements of the electrical module and comes with only one cable management grommet. It has a load capacity of around 100 lbs, so it can easily bear the combined weight of desktops and a couple of other stationary items that you might keep on the desk.
- Jarvis Bamboo
The electrically adjustable Jarvis Bamboo is for people who prefer adjusting their desks with a push of a button. With a massive weight capacity of 350 lbs, Jarvis Bamboo comes with a digital panel that comes with presets; its four memory presets enable you to save and return to your preferred sitting and standing heights. It comes in contour and a rectangle finish and is available in three sizes: 48, 60, and 72 inches. Jarvis Bamboo comes with two cable management grommets, enabling you to install two desktops on your standing desks and ensure higher productivity. The Jarvis Bamboo standing desks are priced between $500 and $550 and offer at least 7 years warranty on the electrical and mechanical components.
- Varidesk ProDesk Electric
One of the premium electrical standing desks, the Varidesk ProDesk Electric comes with three memory presets and a weight capacity of 250 lbs. The electrical desk is GreenGuard Gold certified, so its build quality and non-toxic components are assured. Varidesk ProDesk Electric has a quiet motor, so you can change the settings of your desks without bothering your colleagues. It is available in four finishes: Reclaimed Wood, Butcher Wood, Black Wood, and Dark Wood and a color choice of black or white. Varidesk ProDesk has a price range of $850 to $1,000 and comes in two sizes: 48″ and 60″.
- Fancierstudio Riser Desk
One of the best contenders for counter-top or tabletops, Fancierstudio Riser Desk can be used in both the sitting and standing positions. It is 38″ wide and can fit two monitors. You can use it as a standing desk as it can rise up to a height of 17.7″, and its desktop and keyboard trays can be adjusted using hand levers. It offers a wide range of height adjustment from 5″ to 17.7″, making it ideal to be used for both sitting and standing positions. The Fancierstudio desk can be the right option if your budget for standing desks ranges from $100 to $200.
- SHW Electric Desk
If you are looking for electrically adjustable standing desks on a strict budget, the SHW Electric Desk can be the right choice for you. It has a single width option of 48″ and can rise from 31″ to 42″ in height. It has a digital display handset that comes with four memory presets for easy adjustments, and it has a single cable management grommet. The SHW Electric desk is priced around $250.
Apart from this, you can also find the best standing desks available at reasonable prices at clearance sales. You can buy them from retail stores or order online from websites like jcpenny.com, bestbusinessfurniture.com, overstock, and upliftdesk.com, among others. The best time to buy standing desks is during yearly sale events such as Black Friday and Boxing Day sales.
Pros and cons
Standing desks can be of importance to your workplace to avoid the ill effects of sitting for long hours, which is comparable to a lifetime of heavy smoking. Employees from various companies have embraced the concept of standing desks as it makes them feel more active and helps them engage better with their employees. While there is no doubt that standing desks help you balance your NEAT factor and improve your posture and core strength, it does have some caveats too.
Standing desks can make you feel tired sooner and give you sore feet and aching joints if you have long working hours. This can be even worse for individuals suffering from arthritis and/or obesity. There are many people who incorporate standing desks in their workspace to lose weight; if you are one of them, here’s a downlow for you. Standing more often only stabilizes your metabolism; it does not make you lean. You still have to hit the treadmill and lift some weights to lose those extra pounds. Moreover, if you don’t maintain your posture while standing, it can cause backache and hip problems in the long run.
So, it is advisable to use the types of standing desks that enable you to shift efficiently between sitting and standing. This lets you avoid exertion and sore feet due to standing or backache and lethargy due to sitting for long hours.
The last stand!
So, if you are looking to bring in more fun and be active in your workspace, standing desks can help you achieve that. Standing desks have been more than just a fad in the country since more than a decade, and since people in our country have become aware of the perils of sitting for long hours, standing desks are becoming more and more popular. Also, buying standing desks for your workspace can enhance your working experience. So go ahead, take a stand!