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Feb 27

Time to Take a Stand?

by Michelle Santaferraro

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In the last few years, there has been a buzz around the importance of changing your position throughout the day in order to avoid sitting for 8 hours. Remember those friendly graphics and stretching exercises you could mimic when waiting by the company copier?  Now many of us have all our accessories at arms-length and could easily stay seated for hours. Several of my clients have recently made the switch to standing desks and love the variety they offer. If you have been curious about the craze, then here are some things you should consider when looking at stand-up desks:

Desk Space Limitations – Many of my clients have had to figure out where all their desk accessories will go when they make the switch.  Everything from the pens in your coffee mug to your favorite stapler may need to be housed just to the right or the left of the desk.  Pedestals are a good option for storing these items near your standing desk.  They typically have two drawers along with one file drawer and come with casters so they can roll.

Features of the Electric Stand-Up Desk – Most reviews agree that the noise of the raising and lowering of the desk is a top consideration in this category. The customer service reviews of each product are critical and the variation of shaking or wobbling while raising and lowering the desk should be considered. Many electric desks even offer automatic reset settings to the ergonomic heights that are optimal.  (NOTE: The Wirecutter states that proper standing posture should allow for elbows to be at or near a 90-degree angle, your eyes should be about 20 to 28 inches from a mark about two inches below the top of the monitor, and a roughly 20-degree top monitor tilt.)  The stand-up desk that seemed to be a top pick again and again was the Jarvis Bamboo desk made by a company called Fully (formerly Ergo Depot).

Features of the Non-Electric/Hand Crank Stand-Up Desk – This is a cheaper option for many folks and allows an easy point of entry in trying out stand-up desks. Humanscale and Steelcase make several models.

Desk Mounted Standing Workstations – You might also consider buying a desk conversion kit.  Some conversion kits can attach to your current desk or you can buy the frame to attach your desk.  This provides an opportunity for you to see if you like the set up in a typical work week. Some reviewers are excited about the Kangaroo Pro Junior. You could look at other options from Ergotron, Humanscale, and Veridesk.

One Mandatory Accessory – Many agree that if you are going to buy a stand-up desk, make sure you also look at an anti-fatigue mat as an added sidekick.  Some suppliers are offering the mats along with your purchase, but I suggest investing in a quality mat.

Frequency of Sitting vs. Standing – So, how much standing and/or moving should be practiced in a typical workday? Alan Hedge of British Journal Sports Medicine says “You should be standing and/or moving around 2 hours of every 8-hour workday.”  Yet Rachel Litsey, an ergonomics specialist and owner of Bouldergonomics shared, “In terms of the optimal amount of time a worker should be spending time sitting vs. standing, there is no definite consensus.  Frequent changing between sitting and standing is optimal.  It is best when the changes happen frequently throughout the day rather than long periods all at once.”

There are now even more options for stand-up desks and so reading reviews are encouraged.  I liked the guide from reviews.com and enjoyed the quirky tests that they put their samples through.  Their team spent six weeks researching and testing 67 adjustable standing desks before creating this guide. If you are like me, you might even get innocently drawn in by their other reviews … did someone say vacuums?

Posted in Personal Productivity