It’s common knowledge that sitting is “the new smoking” with many of us averaging over 9 hours a day sitting at a desk. In fact, according to fastcodesign.com, “85% of workers experience discomfort on the job” especially in situations where they aren’t able to change postures during the day. As more companies began to focus on improving wellbeing in the workplace, it’s no wonder that sit-stand desks (or stand-up desks or sit-to-stand desks or height adjustable desks) are becoming increasingly popular.
While exploring the possibility of sit-stand desks you’re bound to have some questions: Are height adjustable desks right for me? How do I decide which height adjustable desk is best? Do they come in a range of prices? And how can I ensure my ROI on stand-up desks and guarantee that they will be used?
First of all, we should note that standing all day can be just as harmful as sitting all day. The best option is to change postures intermittently, moving often from sitting to standing and even perching at a stool height counter. The ideal candidate for a sit-stand desk is generally someone who is tied to a computer or phone at a desk and can’t easily get up to switch postures.
Another important consideration is the way in which you execute the roll out of sit-stand desks in your office. You could go all out (if you have the means) and give everyone a height adjustable desk, but often this is not feasible. A practical option is setting up shared sit-stand workstations throughout the office for people to use as needed. Lastly, many companies reserve the option to have a stand-up desk for people who have medical issues that require them.
Regardless, when choosing an adjustable height desk it’s important to ensure that you consider all the options and thoughtfully evaluate how your people will use them. That way you can guarantee they get used! Here are 10 things to consider when choosing a height adjustable desk.
Height range. BIFMA suggests an optimal range being 22.6″ to 48.7″ but it will depend upon the height and needs of the individual using the desk. If people are sharing the sit-stand desk then it’s best to find a desk with a large range. For info on measuring for a sit-stand desk click here.
Depth. A 30″ depth is advisable as a minimum but this is taking into consideration that people will want to spread out their work. If that’s not an issue you can look at smaller footprints. Additionally, bear in mind there are often multiple options for the shape of the work surface.
Noise. Is the mechanism loud and disruptive or is it unobtrusive? When sit-stand desks are noisy they are often not utilized for fear of disturbing colleagues.
Ease of movement. There are numerous ways to raise and lower desks, from hand cranks to electric or pneumatic lifts. The latter two being the most quiet, efficient, and easy to use.
Speed. How quickly does it raise/lower. Obviously, the quicker the speed, the more often people will adjust their worksurfaces throughout the day.
Power. Make sure if you choose a height adjustable desk that requires power that you have easy access to electricity.
Leg fatigue. One common complaint from people using sit-stand desks is that they get tired standing. Some strategies include; wearing supportive shoes, adding a riser to support one foot while standing, adding a gel mat and encouraging people to slowly build up their tolerance by incrementally adding to the time they stand.
Weight. Each desk has its own weight restrictions, make sure the desk can handle your equipment.
Programmability. Some desks are easily programmed to different settings making them super easy to set the proper ergonomics every time.
Functionality. Factoring in whether the aesthetic fit into your office environment as well as considering whether the desk can accommodate privacy screens, lighting or tool rails all will impact usability
And of course, lastly you have to consider pricing which can vary dramatically within the height adjustable desk category. The best course of action is to balance functionality using the above factors with your office roll out strategy.
Steelcase manufactures a variety of options for today’s modern office taking into consideration different options balanced with price point. There’s never been a better time to consider a sit-stand desk for your office environment. There’s a lot of choice in the market right now and with the right evaluation criteria you can make an informed decision!