Standing desks have been all the craze in office furniture for almost 5 years now. In that time, there have been a lot of new designs, added features and cost reductions making product selection better than ever. Some of the most important knowledge I’ve gained over the years is in regards to the drawbacks using a standing only desk. This article will highlight the biggest problems to using a standing only desk and offer some suggestions to help with your transition to a standing desk.
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The #1 problem with a standing only desk is the risk to one’s health if the desk is not used correctly. In our article titled, “4 Reasons Standing Only Desks Are Bad for Your Health” we review the negative health effects a standing desk can have and offer tips to help avoid these problems. We will not be repeating all of the information here because it would be rather long and redundant, but make sure to check out the article for more information on health risks.
Solution: We recommend using a desk with multiple height adjustments so that you can go from sitting to standing throughout the day. This will greatly reduce the health factors associated with both prolonged sitting and prolonged standing.
Uncomfortable to Start
Something most customers don’t realize is just how much of a toll, standing for prolonged periods of time, can have on your back, legs and feet. The initial change from sitting to standing can be a painful one if done incorrectly. Even if done correctly it is common to experience soreness and fatigue until your body becomes accustomed to the change.
Solution: Always take breaks from standing. It is not healthy to stand for prolonged periods of time, even after you have become fully accustomed to your standing desk. Incorporate movement into your routine while working at your standing desk. Things like taking a walk during your break or marching in place at your workstation can work wonders to increase blood flow and prevent fatigue. Good, supportive shoes can also make a huge difference on the health of your feet. We also always suggest an anti-fatigue mat when possible to increase overall comfort and to help reduce stress on bones and joints. We recommend the Gel Pro Anti-Fatigue Mat:
Most People do not Follow Through
Due to the commitment needed along with the painful aspects of switching to a standing desk, most standing desk users do not follow through with standing. Studies performed by Alan Hedge at Cornell University, show that the use of sit-stand workstations rapidly declines after about a month and most users revert back to sitting.
Solution: Humans are creatures of habit and making your standing desk a habit is the best way to naturally incorporate it into your lifestyle. We recommend developing a routine for using your standing desk and sticking to it. A good model to follow is 20 minutes sitting, followed by 8 minutes standing, followed by 2 minutes of casual movement.
A standing only desk is not versatile due to the fixed nature of the height. The proper ergonomic standing height varies for each user depending on their height. A standing only desk purchased for someone who is 6’0” will not be suitable for someone that is any other height than 6’0”. A product like this is not a good option for shared work areas. A standing only desk can also create somewhat of an awkward work environment if some users are constantly standing next to others that remain seated.
Solution: For shared work areas, we recommend an electric sit to stand desk. This will allow fast and easy height adjustment with the push of a button for whichever user is at the desk. If an electric adjustable desk is not in the budget, then we would recommend going with a standing desk converter. A standing desk converter is a product that goes on top of an already existing desk and allows for multiple height adjustments. We recommend the following adjustable desks:
Limited Seating Options
Most office chairs do not come with the option to add a tall cylinder to bring it up to the height of a standing desk which means you will be limited to drafting stools or active seating options. Most chair manufacturers have a wide range of standard height chairs and a small selection of drafting stools, if any. Drafting stools will often lack the adjustability of their chair counterparts and active seating options are typically recommended for short periods of use at a time.
Solution: Finding quality seating options for a desk that is at standing height can be a tough task but there are a couple options. If you want something to sit in, for longer periods when taking a break from standing, then we would recommend a drafting stool. Be sure that the stool goes high enough for your needs and double check that it has the adjustments that you require. If you only require something to help alleviate the stress of standing a bit, then an active seating product might be the way to go. These products are not meant to be used for prolonged periods of time but they are great for giving your legs, feet and back a break without having a bulky drafting stool near your desk. We recommend the following stools:
Standing desks have proven to be a very popular product in today’s world of office furniture, yet there are many drawbacks to the standing only desk. If used correctly, many of the negative aspects can be negated or reduced; however standing only desks are very limited compared to sit-stand and standard height office desks.
Standing Desk Resources
- The 5 Best Varidesk Alternatives and Competitors
- How Much Does a Standing Desk Converter Cost?
- 9 Most Common Problems with Motorized Standing Desks
- The Uplift 900 Standing Desk C-leg (Review / Rating)
- How To Select The Right Standing Desk Height (Calculator)