What is standing desk ergonomics?

April 26, 2021

A employees demonstarting between a sitting and standing desk

Standing workstation: What you need to know



Unless you’re living on a remote island with no electricity or internet, you have probably heard that “Sitting is the New Smoking”. Ergonomic researchers have brought awareness to the fact that we sit a lot and that it is affecting our overall health. We sit during our morning commute, we sit at our desks, we sit in meetings, we sit at lunch, we drive home, we sit at the dinner table or restaurant, and then we sit and watch TV. The cycle is repeated over and over every single day.


This harmful effect began widespread as we emerged out of the industrial revolution.  Where we worked in factories and on our feet much than often. Before that, the agrarian period doing back-breaking work in the fields. In an information-based society like today, sitting in front of the computer screen all day long working. And not exercising can result in health problems. We should emulate the physical movement our ancestors did during the Industrial and Agrarian age. 


Chair-living has proven so enticing that we forgot to use our legs. Research has proven a correlation between the lack of movement over several generations and the increase in obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other damaging health issues.


A standing desk can be bad for you the same as a traditional sitting desk. Standing too long weakened the lower leg muscles and cause varicose veins. An adjustable height desk needs to alternate between sitting and standing. This counts as moving on a regular basis. If you have an adjustable desk, you can move regularly throughout the day. 

You have the freedom to move whenever it is convenient. Stand for a few minutes when getting to work after a long commute. Stand while you take a phone call. Stand after lunch to from getting drowsy and help maintain your focus. Stand when your back feels a little tight or your neck is stiff. 


Straight talk about standing



Ergonomics is the practice of designing products, systems, or processes to take proper account of the interaction between the products and the people who use them.


Ergonomics came out during the industrial revolution focusing on helping factory workers avoid injury as a result of lifting and bending or back injuries. In the ’80s, ergonomics transitioned to the office and, in the information age, there is an increase in reported cases of Carpal Tunnel. Carpal Tunnel with symptoms such as Chronic pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand, caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. 

It also is caused by repetitive bending and extension of the wrist like working on the keyboard or other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. 


Make sure the Desk is right


The proper ergonomic standing desk should have both sitting and standing positions. The design should avoid awkward working postures that aggravate existing health issues or make new ones.


There are many models available in the market today for standing desks. However, most of them are just good for standing, but not for sitting. They will rise to a height that you can to stand and work properly but, when sitting, the work surface won’t go low enough for typing or writing. 


The act of standing up from a seated position is effective at avoiding the harmful health effects of sitting. The joint and muscle movement required that contracts from one position to the other is where the real benefit is and not the act of standing itself.



ERGONOMICS 101 


The simple rule of office ergonomics is a minimum of two points of adjustment. This concerns the position of the keyboard which affects the arms & wrists and the position of the monitor which affects the head, neck, and shoulders.



The forearms should be parallel to the floor and your wrists should be in a relaxed, neutral position and not bent forward or backward while typing and moving the mouse no matter which position you are in.


Proper working postures


Monitors should be at eye level and approximately at arms’ length from the body. The monitor is placed directly in front of you and other monitors are positioned to the side if there is one. The proper position of the monitor will allow to maintain good posture, relieve stress in the neck and shoulders, and minimize eye strain.


Individuals wearing multi-focal lenses need to make additional adjustments to make sure that monitors are positioned properly. If it is a limited height desk or a fixed height desk, consider adding both an adjustable keyboard platform and an adjustable monitor arm to achieve the proper adjustments.


The Reason behind Adjustable Standing Desk


Why the need for an adjustable standing desk? The answer is simple. No one is created equal, meaning our bodies are all different. Some have long legs; others have a long torso. This makes it difficult to find the exact position and relationship between keyboard and monitor when moving from one position to the other. 

The final reason is the concept of movement. People lean or slouch once in a while. That changes the correct equipment position as well. So making the standing desk adjust makes it easy to move which allows you to listen to your body and work comfortably.


More practical considerations


Having the entire desk being adjustable is ideal as it allows the keyboard, laptop, monitor, phone, coffee, and all paperwork to adjust with you. One of the drawbacks of desktop products is that the only things that can move with you are the monitor and keyboard. When reaching for the phone, or reaching for your paperwork, is not only inefficient but puts a strain on your body.


The adjustable desk shouldn’t put more work for the user to adjust to the proper settings. Manual systems and standing desk systems need different degrees of effort and the more heavy the equipment on the desk the more effort it requires to move it, particularly when adjusting to the up or standing position.


The best solution to adjusts easily is an electric, height-adjustable standing desk. It’s simple, reliable, and easy to use. You can browse our website, Flexispot.com, to find the best height-adjustable standing desk like the Theodore Standing Desk-48" W.


Final Thoughts


The evidence is proof enough that movement is healthy for our bodies and adjustable height desks can be a useful tool for the millions who work at a desk! There are so many models to choose but it is strongly recommended to do some research and be wary of those that just want to sell you something.


Get help from an ergonomics or wellness specialist and buy from a reputable reseller or furniture company. It is true in any growing market there are lots of shortcuts to be taken and people that just want to make a buck off the latest trend.

 Be wise, be careful, and please be informed.


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