Are standing desks ergonomic?

Does working at your standing desk make your lower back sore? Do you find your shoulders hunched forward out of mid-day fatigue? Do your feet ache by the end of the week? Did you start with the desk, optimistic about the promised benefits of 'productivity,' 'comfort,' and 'energy,' but ultimately discover little or none of these things?

In recent years, the popularity of ergonomic tables has skyrocketed. People have started to realize the benefits of ergonomic height for standing desk. The saying" Sitting is the new smoking, and it's time to quit" or some variation on it can be seen in health magazines and fitness articles all over the place. Thanks to the dawn of the information age and the rise of automation in manufacturing/agriculture industries, this change has been brought on. 

In the past, most people were working in factories or fields, where they spent most of the working day standing. This allowed most people to have a good amount of physical movement during their workday. Fast forward to the present day, where most people work in front of a computer in an office, and there is very little reason for workers to spend prolonged periods on their feet. This lack of physical exertion is causing an increase in obesity, high blood pressure, and back problems. An adjustable table lift can be a powerful tool to help combat this newfound issue for those millions of people like us who work in front of a desk.

These days, two terms are becoming more and more familiar to people – one is standing desk, and the other is ergonomics. Standing desks introduce many health benefits to people since they significantly reduce their sitting hours. The concept of ergonomics suggests having a work environment where employees can work without being stressed. While a traditional working environment causes pain and discomforts, the modern offices that follow ergonomic principles offer a better working culture. Using a sit-stand desk will help you understand more about ergonomics, but are standing desks ergonomic? We have explained the answer here.

Standing desks match the three primary ergonomics principles: working in a good posture, reducing fatigue, and improving body movements. Check This Out.

Good posture is the principal factor that helps you work comfortably without any pain and discomfort. Therefore, ergonomics always concentrate on perfecting your posture. In the language of ergonomics, good posture always means a 'well-balanced' or 'aligned' position.

Ergonomics also emphasizes more importance of beating fatigue. It is one of the common enemies of our work performance. Although we start with a great energy level, we lose it bit by bit as time passes. Ergonomics includes all factors which are essential for excellent working life. It supports your movement to keep you stress-free and relaxed.

When it comes to the benefits of using standing desks, you will be surprised to know that these desks meet all three primary principles of ergonomics. So if you think that standing desks are ergonomic in themselves? The answer is no. These desks cannot be ergonomic; rather, they are ergonomic tools that will make your work environment relaxed and happy.

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Is a standing desk ergonomic? No.

Not on their own. But they ARE an important piece in the ergonomics puzzle — one that we view as more complete with an anti-fatigue mat, a raised footrest, and a standing desk chair.

Let's look at the neutral, comfortable posture principle to start. Unfortunately, your body doesn't fall into a neutral posture when standing. Without support, your shoulders hunch forward out of exhaustion, pulling the spine out of its neutral alignment. For most people, a perching posture — with the pelvis tilted slightly forward — is a more comfortable posture than a standing one. Recent research actually proves that a perch posture reduces low back pain because it facilitates a 'neutral spine,' subjecting the back to less tension and stress. But a 'perch' isn't possible at a standing desk without an adjustable chair to support it. See here.

Ergonomics is a term you have very likely heard before. It is the practice of designing products, systems, or processes to properly account for their interaction and the people who use them.

Ergonomics started during the industrial revolution as an outgrowth of OSHA and was focused on helping factory workers avoid injuries most often associated with lifting and bending or back injuries. In the eighties, ergonomics began to evolve into the office. As we began working on computers more, we saw an increase in the number of reported cases of Carpal Tunnel. Carpal Tunnel is defined as Chronic pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. It can be caused by repetitive bending and extension of the wrist, as in keyboarding, or by medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Carpal Tunnel taught us that the typical 29" height of an office desk does not allow 50% of the population to work properly or at the proper height when using a keyboard. Out of this increase in Carpal Tunnel incidences came the Adjustable Keyboard Arm and Platform development.

How about our goal of taking movement and stretch breaks? The reality is if you stand for hours without support or a cushion, you'll end each day tired and uncomfortable — you won't have the energy to move. And just like sitting too much, standing too much doesn't lend itself practically to movement. When you stand for long periods, you tend to zone out and lose touch with how your body feels, missing indicators that it wants to change positions or stretch (indicators like discomfort, stiffness, and pain). 

A standing desk is an ergonomic tool:

Posture: a sit-stand desk cannot correct your posture unless you want to correct it. Your body will not fall into a correct posture rule automatically while using these height-adjustable desks. As a result, you will commit common posture mistakes, like leaning forward to your desk, without any posture correction knowledge.  

Fatigue: a sit-stand desk can encourage you to move your body, but if you tend to retain a single working position for long hours, you will experience fatigue. So, alternate your working positions to get the best benefits. Identifying sitting versus standing time is another crucial factor in this respect.

Movement: a height-adjustable desk will increase your movement, which is true. But nothing can replace the benefits of walking and stretching. Ergonomics supports a relaxed working environment, reducing the risk of back pain, neck pain, wrist strain, and other discomforts.

Your height-adjustable desk is an ergonomic tool, just like an anti-fatigue mat and other products that support working comfort.

To get an ergonomically perfect workstation, you need other accessories along with your sit-stand desks. Here, we keep the list minimal so that you can easily set up your workstation that encourages a better and healthier working life.

Benefits

By using a height-adjustable ergonomic table, office workers can move around during the day to improve their overall health and well-being. Traditional desks with fixed heights and surface areas force the users to adjust their sitting position to fit the desk's height. It also encourages people to stay in the same position for long periods. This can cause the user to develop a poor sitting posture with very little physical movement. On the other hand, adjustable table lifts provide a much more ergonomic workstation. In addition, the standing desk can provide proper working positions for people of all heights and reach. This helps ensure a better posture for office workers and prevent long term health conditions such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

Work safety is another benefit that comes from having an ergonomic desk. In modern-day office environments, each desk normally has a computer. When you add in the monitors, printers, and other devices, there is a flood of power cords and cables running everywhere. This can be a huge safety hazard. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that tripping and falling are some of the leading causes of workplace injuries. That is why many adjustable table manufacturers have cable clips/organisers lines. This will allow for a clean and organised workspace, significantly reducing the chance of tripping and falling accidents. Find more info.

Employee performance will also improve when implementing ergonomic table lifts. Of course, by preventing workplace injuries and improving the employee's overall health, as we previously mentioned, will enhance performance for any company. There are other factors table lifts bring to help employees perform better. Changing from sitting to standing positions a few times a day helps keep employees focused. The difference in their work posture will help to keep them more alert and focused on the tasks they perform. An ergonomic workspace also shows that the company cares about its employees' well being and is willing to invest in that. This helps employee retention rates and attracts new employees.

Unless you have been working in a cave in the past few years, you've probably heard of the ergonomic tables' rise to prominence. More and more companies are investing in their employees' health and well being. Soon we can expect to see adjustable desks in all offices across all industries.

Frequently Asked Questions About Standing Desk

A standing desk is ergonomic because it gives you the option of standing, reducing the risks that come with long periods of inactivity. Monitor arms can also make a desk more ergonomic.

Summary of the proper way to use a standing desk

  1. Always adjust your standing desk to your elbows' height.
  2. Keep your neck tall and your shoulders relaxed.
  3. Don't lock your knees while standing.
  4. Keep your screen at eye-level.
  5. Keep your wrists straight and parallel to the desk surface.

Those who used standing desks during the studies reported an improvement of up to 32% in their lower back and neck pain after using the desk for a period of several weeks.

Sitting behind your desk all day is bad for your health and experts have long been advising people to stand at their workstations for about 15 minutes an hour. But a University of Waterloo professor says his research shows that people should be standing for at least 30 minutes per hour to get health benefits.

If you want to improve your posture and reduce eye strain, a standing desk is a smart option. Standing leads to better overall posture and a stronger core. Your spine falls into a harmful “C” shape, from craning your neck toward your monitor when you remain at a sitting desk for hours.

What You Need to Know About Sit-Stand Desks?

A major problem we encounter is people who have received a sit-stand desk or moved to a cubicle that already has one but received minimal training on how to use it or set it up. This can be extremely harmful.

People often stand for way too long in these situations, thinking it is healthy to do so. But, at the same time, they likely set their desk to the wrong height, leading to more prolonged forward bending.

Most people don't know that the monitor(s) needs to be adjusted differently relative to the desk when sitting versus standing. This is because the distance between your eyes and typing surface changes.

Without an adjustable arm for your monitor, you might be adding neck strain to the list of concerns.

Lastly, if you are getting standing desks, make sure the surface is large enough to host all workplace items – phones, writing surfaces, keyboards, mice, calculators. Otherwise, you'll be looking up at a screen and bending down or reaching for everything else.

It's essential not to use anti-fatigue mats when standing at your desk. Doing so mutes your body's natural feedback system. If you feel discomfort, your body tells you it's time to change posture.

You should, however, wear cushioned footwear. Sit-stands are not compatible with high heels and cowboy boots.

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How to Make a Difference?

Standing desks look neat and trendy, and I understand that. But ball chairs did, too. When expensive equipment is needlessly given out, it diverts resources from where they are most needed. Instead of getting caught up in the sit-stand hype, start going on short, regular walks instead, alternating your work tasks between standing activities and sitting, or consider taking calls while pacing. This will make a difference, guaranteed.

These days we often hear "sitting is the new smoking." But, no, sedentariness is the new smoking, including standing at your desk. You need to move much more than you need to stand. Plus, a walk gives you much more of a posture break than standing ever could.

Standing for three hours rather than sitting burns the same calories as in one carrot. Walking for half an hour burns more than four carrots. The solution is pretty clear to me.

It's great if you are using a sit-stand, but realize this: standing desks require a lot more ergonomic awareness than traditional workstations. If you don't have this awareness, it's worth looking into.

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