Standing Desks: Are They Worth The Investment?

Written by: Pete Luckhurst

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Time to read 8 min

With the increasing awareness of the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle, many people are turning to standing desks as an alternative to traditional desks. But are they worth the investment? Let's explore the benefits, potential health impacts, and other factors to help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of Using a Standing Desk

One of the main benefits of using a standing desk is improved posture. Sitting for extended periods can lead to poor posture, which can cause a range of musculoskeletal problems. Standing desks encourage you to maintain a more upright position, reducing the strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.


In addition to better posture, standing desks can help increase your energy levels and productivity. When sitting, it's easy to become lethargic and feel sluggish. Standing, on the other hand, promotes blood circulation and keeps you more alert, which can enhance your focus and productivity.


Standing while working can also help burn more calories compared to sitting. Although it may not be a substitute for cardiovascular exercise, every bit of extra movement counts towards maintaining a healthy weight.


Using a standing desk can have positive effects on your overall health beyond just physical benefits. Studies have shown that standing desks can help reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity. By standing and engaging your muscles throughout the day, you are actively working to combat the sedentary lifestyle that is associated with various health issues.


Another advantage of standing desks is their potential to boost mood and reduce feelings of stress. The act of standing while working can lead to increased levels of endorphins, which are known as the body's natural mood elevators. This can result in a more positive outlook and improved mental well-being throughout the workday.

Potential Health Impacts of Sitting for Extended Periods

Sitting for long periods has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. It can also contribute to muscle imbalances and weakened bones. These potential health impacts highlight the importance of finding ways to reduce the time spent sitting.


One lesser-known consequence of prolonged sitting is the negative impact it can have on mental health. Studies have shown that excessive sitting can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. This is believed to be due to the lack of physical activity and reduced blood flow to the brain, which can affect mood-regulating neurotransmitters.


Furthermore, sitting for extended periods can also have detrimental effects on posture. The human body is designed for movement, and prolonged sitting can result in slouching, rounded shoulders, and a forward head position. Over time, poor posture can lead to chronic neck and back pain, as well as decreased flexibility and mobility.

Comparing Standing Desks to Traditional Desks

While standing desks offer several advantages, they may not be suitable for everyone or every task. It's essential to consider your specific needs and work requirements. Standing for prolonged periods can cause discomfort and fatigue, so finding the right balance between sitting and standing is crucial.


Traditional desks, however, provide a familiar and comfortable workspace for tasks that don't require much movement. They are often adjustable, allowing you to find the most suitable height and maintain good ergonomics.


Standing desks have gained popularity in recent years due to their potential health benefits. Standing while working can help improve posture, reduce the risk of weight gain, and decrease the likelihood of developing musculoskeletal issues associated with prolonged sitting. Some studies suggest that standing desks may even boost productivity and focus by increasing blood flow and energy levels.


On the other hand, traditional desks offer a sense of stability and routine that can be comforting for individuals who prefer a consistent work environment. The ability to customize a traditional desk with accessories like monitor stands, keyboard trays, and cable management solutions can enhance organization and efficiency in a workspace. Additionally, traditional desks come in a variety of styles and materials, allowing for personalization to match different decor preferences and office aesthetics.

Tips for Transitioning to a Standing Desk

If you decide to invest in a standing desk, it's important to ease into using it gradually. Start with short periods of standing and gradually increase the duration over time. Wearing comfortable shoes, using an anti-fatigue mat, and adjusting the desk height to your body proportions can also help make the transition smoother.


It's important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Incorporating regular movement, such as stretching or short walks, can further enhance the benefits of using a standing desk.


Additionally, consider incorporating ergonomic accessories into your standing desk setup. Items such as a monitor stand to adjust screen height, a keyboard tray to maintain proper typing posture, and a footrest to alleviate pressure on your lower back can significantly improve your overall comfort and productivity while standing.


Remember to maintain good posture while using a standing desk. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your back straight, and your wrists in a neutral position to prevent strain and discomfort. It may be helpful to set reminders to check your posture throughout the day until it becomes a habit.

Standing Desks in the Workplace: Productivity and Employee Satisfaction

The adoption of standing desks in the workplace has gained momentum in recent years. Many companies are investing in ergonomic office furniture to promote employee well-being and productivity.


Research suggests that using standing desks can have a positive impact on employee productivity and engagement. Standing can help boost energy levels and reduce the likelihood of feeling lethargic during the workday. Furthermore, providing employees with the option to stand or sit can increase their satisfaction and job enjoyment.


Incorporating standing desks into the office environment can also have long-term health benefits for employees. Prolonged sitting has been linked to various health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal problems. By offering standing desks as an alternative, companies can help mitigate these risks and promote a healthier lifestyle among their workforce.


The use of standing desks can foster a more dynamic and collaborative work environment. When employees have the flexibility to change their working position throughout the day, it can lead to increased interaction and communication among team members. This can result in enhanced creativity, problem-solving, and overall team cohesion.

Ergonomic Considerations When Using a Standing Desk

When using a standing desk, it's important to maintain good ergonomics to minimize the risk of discomfort or injuries. Ensure that your desk height allows your elbows to rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle, and keep your wrists and forearms parallel to the floor.


Using an adjustable monitor stand or raising the screen height can help maintain proper eye level. Additionally, organizing your workstation to have frequently used items within easy reach can reduce the strain on your neck and shoulders.


Something else to consider when using a standing desk is the type of footwear you choose. Opt for supportive shoes that provide cushioning and arch support to reduce the impact on your feet and lower back. It's also recommended to shift your weight from one leg to the other periodically to avoid placing excessive strain on a single side of your body.


Incorporating anti-fatigue mats into your standing desk setup can help alleviate pressure on your feet and improve overall comfort. These mats provide cushioning and support, reducing the strain on your joints during prolonged standing periods. Remember to take short breaks to sit or walk around to prevent muscle fatigue and improve circulation throughout your body.

Standing Desk Converters

If investing in a new standing desk is not feasible for you, an alternative option is a standing desk converter. These devices can be placed on top of your existing desk, allowing you to switch between sitting and standing positions as needed. They provide a cost-effective solution for those who want to experience the benefits of a standing desk without committing to a large investment.


Standing desk converters come in various designs and sizes to accommodate different workspaces and preferences. Some converters are simple platforms that can be adjusted to different heights, while others offer additional features such as built-in keyboard trays and monitor stands. This versatility allows users to customize their setup to suit their ergonomic needs and maximize comfort while working.


When choosing a standing desk converter, do consider factors such as weight capacity, ease of adjustment, and stability. Look for converters that can support the weight of your computer equipment and other accessories without wobbling or tipping over. Additionally, opt for models that are easy to raise and lower, ensuring seamless transitions between sitting and standing positions throughout the day.

Standing Desk Myths Debunked

There are several misconceptions surrounding standing desks that are worth addressing. One myth is that standing all day is more beneficial than sitting all day. In reality, both prolonged sitting and standing have their drawbacks, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance between the two.


Another myth is that standing desks can solve all health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. While standing desks promote more movement and better posture, they are not a substitute for regular exercise and an overall active lifestyle.


It's important to note that using a standing desk does not automatically guarantee weight loss. While standing burns more calories than sitting, the difference is not significant enough to solely rely on standing to shed pounds. A combination of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and standing throughout the day can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.


Some individuals may experience discomfort or even pain when transitioning to a standing desk, especially if they do not have proper footwear or a supportive anti-fatigue mat. It's crucial to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed to ensure a comfortable standing experience. Additionally, incorporating short breaks to sit or walk around can help alleviate any strain on your feet, legs, or back that may arise from prolonged standing.

FAQ

Are standing desks suitable for everyone?

Standing desks can generally be used by most individuals. However, those with certain health conditions like varicose veins or back problems should consult with their healthcare provider before making the switch.

How long should I stand at my standing desk?

It is recommended to start with short standing periods of 15-30 minutes and gradually increase as your body adjusts. Listen to your body's signals and alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Can I use a standing desk if I have a height-adjustable chair?

Absolutely! Having a height-adjustable chair allows you to switch between sitting and standing positions seamlessly, maximizing both comfort and the benefits of a standing desk.

Will using a standing desk eliminate all discomfort?

While standing desks can alleviate some discomfort associated with prolonged sitting, they may not eliminate all discomfort. It's important to maintain good posture, take breaks, and vary your position throughout the day to minimize discomfort and potential strain.

Are there any alternatives to standing desks?

If a standing desk is not feasible or suitable for you, there are alternative options to incorporate more movement into your day. Taking regular breaks to stretch, walk, or engage in other physical activities can help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Standing desks offer numerous benefits for physical health, mental well-being, productivity, and employee satisfaction. While they may not be suitable for everyone and require proper ergonomics, they can be a worthwhile investment for individuals and organizations looking to create a healthier and more dynamic work environment. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider and make gradual adjustments to find a balance between sitting and standing that works best for you.

About the author

Pete Luckhurst is a Website Manager at Maplin.

After getting an early start in the world of computing with C64 & Amiga computers, Pete now spends much of his spare time in PC VR and dabbling in game development. He also has a strong interest in film, photography and music.

Among other endeavours, he previously worked in a Maplin store, so it was a no-brainer when the opportunity arose to work on the modern incarnation of Maplin online. Besides writing for the blog, Pete works alongside the Maplin team to help keep the online store running smoothly.