The standing desk is a trend that is returning to many offices. By altering time spent sitting at the computer with time spent standing at your computer, you can give your circulation a boost, your eyes a break, your knees a flex and quite possibly, even your mind a stretch. Imagine how easy it would be to take phone calls, scan email and even edit while standing.
Research has shown that sitting all day is not ideal for the body. Sitting for a long period of time can put you at risk for back pain, a slower metabolism and even cause a drop in healthy cholesterol. However, standing all day is not healthy either. It places a high workload on the body that puts it at just as much risk for back pain as the low workload of sitting. Studies show that it is best to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the work day. This reduces the risk of back pain and improves circulation.
Luckily, there are more products available than ever to create a sit/stand working environment. For example, Herman Miller has their Everywhere and Envelop tables that give you many postural options as you work and are height adjustable. Levenger offers a great Sit to Stand line that doesn’t require any kind of retrofit. They simply provide an STS desk, laptop lifter and a book riser that will sit on any desk or cubicle surface.
Even though our bodies thrive on movement and a variety of position, today’s work doesn’t require much of our bodies. Most of our work seems to be brain work. Even though movement improves creativity and concentration, workers who have the freedom to get up and move usually just stay put. Most workers feel like if they are not sitting at their desks, coworkers will think they are slacking.
It is important for employers to provide a way for employees to sit and stand and move throughout the work day. This can be accomplished with furniture itself or by building it into the workplace through the placement of shared equipment and common spaces. You can create a layout that forces employees to take a longer route to their destination. This will be good for their backs, circulation and social interaction.
If your cubicle doesn’t allow for a sit to stand surface or you are not walking regularly to the printer or to meetings, you should stand up at least once and hour and walk around for five minutes. This simple activity can help to refresh all of your major and minor muscle groups. If you must sit all day, be sure to find a good ergonomic chair that will support your lower back and allow for a variety of positions.