Problems with Chairs for Standing Desk Part 1

May 10, 2021

Person using a chair for standing desk

Standing desks are getting popular in the sense they promote ergonomics in the workspace. So, it’s natural the leaning chairs are also becoming popular. They are great in helping to incorporate movement while working. They encourage different sitting positions, which is beneficial for several people. Their small carbon footprint and mobility are more features that make standing chairs an attractive offer. 

Though both the standing desk and its chair are all the rage today. That’s not always the case and standing chairs aren’t for everyone. Like any product, there is no such thing as the perfect product. It too has its problems; we’ll discuss it here in two parts and try finding a solution for it.

Long Adjustment Period

The first problem with standing chairs is that it will take some time to get used to the new style of sitting and working. There will be more pressure on areas that you are not used to and will be using muscles that haven’t been used while sitting. Things like soreness in the feet, legs, upper back, and shoulders. A standing chair helps reduce the pressure but it does not eliminate it.

Eventually, the feet will get tired and sore in the flexors and shins. This is due to not being used to flexing those muscles often enough but soreness went away after some time. The final areas that took a bit to adjust were the upper back and shoulders. Plus, not having a backrest and armrests made it more difficult to get in the correct posture. The first time using the chair, the user had to consciously think about keeping good posture but will get tired trying to keep that posture. The more time spent on the chair, the easier it gets to keep a good posture.

Solution

The solution here is to simply put more time with the chair so that the body can adjust. It would be to ease into using the standing chair. Don’t just sit right away and start using the chair for several hours at a time. Use it for 20-30 minutes intermittently and increase the time spent sitting on the chair.

It would be advisable to use the chair at numerous different heights instead of the same height. This reduces the time spent being in one specific position. Thus, reduce the time spent using that particular group of muscle.

The final tip would be to do some light stretches frequently. This is to help loosen and limber the muscles while your body is getting used to the new posture.

 

  1. Uncomfortable Seat Designs

The one thing consistent with the standing chairs is that they have unconventional seats. Being unconventional can be a good thing. But unfortunately, the standing chairs have seats that are less comfortable than the seats of normal office chairs. The size, shape, and stiffness are unique on standing chairs when compared to normal office chairs.

Standing chair seats are small, oftentimes having less than half the surface area compared to that of office chairs. Standing chairs are also very stiff. They have little padding on many of the models or none at all. They also feature unique shapes. The common shapes are saddle, convex or contoured. These shapes are not going to be comfortable for everyone.

Solution

Find larger seats than the normal standing chairs. Features like a convex seat shape and a decent amount of padding. It doesn’t have as much as a normal office chair but it is softer than most standing chairs. Another solution is having a round shape and thick molded foam. It should have the thickest and softest seat for a standing chair.

  1. Not Designed for Prolonged Hours

Even after getting used to sitting in numerous standing chairs, none of them can be used for prolonged periods. The seat comfort is the reason for this. Almost every model has seats that can be uncomfortable after an hour or two. 

The next issue is the lack of armrests. Armrests not only support your arms, shoulders, and upper back but also allow you to take a break. It allows leaning one way or the other when getting tired. In a standing chair, it is not possible.

The final issue is the lack of a backrest and thus, no lumbar support. Standing chairs are made to get the hips forward with an open leg angle. This will promote a good posture with a straight back. But, maintaining this position for an extended period is difficult to do. A backrest with good lumbar support ensures you are sitting up straight. A standing chair is not going to keep the posture correct naturally. 

Solution

To extend the amount of time sitting in your standing chair, use an anti-fatigue mat and/or footrest. It makes a huge difference with the standing desk. This helps to keep the feet and lower legs from getting sore.

The footrest helps alleviate the pressure put on the feet, shins, and ankles. It also reduces the pressure on your bottom, which makes the seats feel more comfortable.

Take frequent breaks from the chair. Get out of the chair every hour or so and take a quick walk around the office, do some stretches or even sit in a regular chair. The best way to use a standing chair is as a secondary chair to the normal office chair. Using it for one to two hours per day would give the best result.

We covered some of the problems found in chairs for the standing desk. There should be some redesign on standing chairs be done to make them more comfortable. We will discuss more in the next article.

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