It’s Time to Stand-Up while you work
By Arlene Allen, Contributing writer
Sit-stand desks have been around for a number of years now but the last couple of years have seen a significant increase in their availability and use. These desks give office workers a chance to have greater control over their working conditions, improve their comfort and productivity while reducing the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time.
Researchers from England released findings in 2015 that called for office workers to spend at least two hours on their feet at work — though they preferred four hours — to avoid serious health consequences that result from too much sitting. The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that office workers sat for 65 to 75 per cent of the day. The researchers concluded that dramatic changes were needed in the office that would see employees having dedicated walking time and workspaces designed for standing.
Other research and experts have since challenged these conclusions, but the general consensus remains: sitting at your desk for most of the working day is not good for your overall health and wellbeing. Employees and employers alike have recognized that sitting in a stationary position every day can increase your risk of high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, and can even cause premature death due to cardiovascular disease or certain types of cancer. As a result, a boon in sit-stand or stand-up desk solutions as evolved. As the name suggest, these desk allow workers to stand up or sit down with ease by simply adjusting their desk. There are now a wide range of customiz- able options that allow users to find the right height, position and placement to improve their comfort and productivity.
However, it is worth noting that research has also determined that standing all day in the same position is as bad for your overall health as sitting. Instead, workers should change positions throughout the day and incorporate movement into their work day. To this end, stand-up desks solutions provide the flexibility to change positions throughout the day and to maximize the comfort level of a workstation —they can even allow you to move around the office without losing access to your desk, a.k.a. “your lifeline!”
“The key benefit of sit-stand desks is that they help facilitate postural variation as the human body is de- signed to move throughout the day,” said Jane Gleadall, vice president of sales and marketing at Fellowes Canada Inc. “The movement will help increase metabolism which impacts the body’s ability to regulate glucose, blood pressure and fat breakdown thus reducing the risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Even minimal movement stimulates blood flow and oxygenation to the brain and provides a sense of feeling better which boosts productivity.”
There are two main types of stand-up or sit-stand solutions currently on the market: stand-up desk (desk with adjustable height) and desktop sit-stand workstations (standing desk converters). The latter is currently favoured by the market as they generally offer organizations a cost effective, and preferably tool-free, add-on to convert their existing desks with fixed heights into sit-stands. These come in an array of stylish options with a variety of finishes and features. Rocelco a Canadian firm has line of stand-up desk that work in this matter that you can buy at Staples online starting from $300.
There is a wide variety of desktop sit- stand solutions in the market; however, some features are not standard, like Fellowes’ “innovative cord management“, Fellowes is very excited to have received recognition for the Lotus Sit- Stand,” Gleadall added. “Health and wellness messages at work have never been more prevalent. Consumers want a better work experience and employers system” that keeps cords neat and out of the way, and double platform with device charging slots. Platform sizes also vary and not all will accommodate a mouse and accessories, double monitors or a monitor arm.
Gleadall said Fellowes, which received COPA’s Innovative Product Award this past November for their Lotus Sit-Stand desk, plans to launch more sit-stand workstations in 2018, including the Lotus VE — a clamping workstation solution with a slightly smaller, black ash wood veneer platform — and the Lotus DX which will include USB ports, a wireless charging pad and a Microban protected surface.
“Fellowes is very excited to have received recognition for the Lotus Sit- Stand,” Gleadall added. “Health and wellness messages at work have never been more prevalent. Consumers want a better work experience and employers want to provide cultures and workplaces that are positive for their employees. The Sit-Stand solution helps improve productivity and promotes a healthier lifestyle which is a win-win for both business and workers.”
3M has also waded into this market with a desktop sit-stand desk with features it believes distinguishes it from competitors.“3M has long been a provider of workspace solutions,” said Jenny Patrick, national account manager in 3M’s Consumer Business Group. “As a company who applies science to life we wanted to expand our product lines to meet the evolving needs of customers.”
3M’s preassembled desktop sit-stand desk features an adjustable keyboard tray that comes complete with the company’s gel wrist rest and power saving mouse pad — a mouse surface that is touted to extend battery life by 50 per cent! The desk also uses “gas assist” in its height adjustment which allows for infinite height settings versus preset positions. The large work surface is big enough to accommodate two monitors and you can avoid tripping over your power cords and cables by using the standard grommet opening.
When it comes to stand-up desk you can find a wide variety of sizes and finishes to suit your space and style. You can think of stand-up desks as a standard desk that adjusts in height — which you can accessorize as you like, including adding a credenza or storage drawer to form an L-shaped unit. Stand-up desks cost significantly more than desktop solutions and require installation. Mobile stand-up workstations offer improved features such as a double platform with a separate keyboard tray or shelving for additional devices and storage. The mobile options are also generally smaller than the non-mobile stand-up — no one wants to be pushing a bus around the office!
As for desktop sit-stand solutions, there are a few key things to take into consideration when shopping for your ideal match.“First, you need to understand the size of your desk space,” recommends Gleadall. “These solutions can be large. Secondly, ease of adjustability is important. You don’t want the lift mechanism to be so stiff you can’t adjust it. You also need to have a sense of the proper height of your monitor on the platform to ensure that you are look- ing at your monitor at the correct level. Finally, you need to make sure all your everyday tools, such as your keyboard and mouse, are easily accessible so you can work well.”
To get the most out of your sit- stand, Gleadall suggests starting with a commitment to actually use it.“There is no sense in having a sit-stand if you aren’t going to stand! So, the employee needs to make a commitment to standing,” she asserts, adding that research varies on the amount of time that should be [spent] sitting versus standing and there is no prescriptive formula, each employee should determine what is right for their own needs. The rapid rise of the stand-up or sit- stand desk is a welcomed change in the workplace.
“Data tells us that a dollar spent on prevention through the use of ergonomics saves an employer many dollars down the road in terms of wellness claims and worker productivity,” said Patrick. “More and more employers understand the value in this.” Patrick added that with an aging workforce, more employees have ergonomic needs, and the younger workers have a heightened awareness of how a quality workspace should be set up. “We know that when you feel healthy and free of pain and discomfort you can’t help but enjoy a better quality of life, both at work and home.”