Whether you work from home or in an office, an ergonomic standing desk is key to an ergonomic office environment. But what do you look for when choosing this type of desk?
What Is an Ergonomic Standing Desk?
Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment, and ways to optimize both human wellbeing and overall system performance. The whole discipline of ergonomics evolved out of the observation that we work most effectively while maintaining good posture. So, in essence, an ergonomic desk can be any desk that allows you to work in a neutral position to reduce stress on the body.
People often think that standing desks and ergonomic desks are the same thing, although that’s not necessarily so. It’s certainly possible to construct a standing desk that doesn’t contribute to comfort. However, a height adjustable sit stand desk offers the greatest flexibility to fit the variety of tasks that office workers are called to do throughout the day.
Do I Need an Ergonomic Desk?
It may feel comfortable to slouch over a desk or curl up with a laptop for a while, but these positions can take a toll. Even people who sit all day at a traditional desk begin to notice aches and pains over time. That pain is the body’s way of telling us something, and it often indicates the beginning of musculoskeletal disorders.
Nearly anyone who experiences discomfort during the course of their work day will benefit from a more ergonomic workstation that supports proper posture.
Things to Look for in an Ergonomic Desk
When choosing a desk, consider the desk’s features and how useful they are for the person who will actually be spending their time at the desk.
The desk height adjustment method determines a desk’s usability in a number of ways, affecting not only how easy it is to move the desk up and down with precision, but also speed, safety, and long-term durability of the desk.
Most people prefer to adjust their desk repeatedly throughout the day as they sit and stand, and in those cases, a smooth, efficient adjustment mechanism that provides assistance with the lifting is ideal. Touching a button on a pneumatic or electric desk is an ergonomic improvement over cranking or having to push the weight up.
If you only want to adjust a desk once a day, such as when two workers of different heights share the same desk, you may find that a manual adjustment mechanism like a hand crank would be sufficient.
Normal human height covers a wide range, and traditional seated desks are simply not tailored to that wide range. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to set up a workspace at one optimal height for all the main office tasks because typing, mousing, writing, reading documents, and viewing your screen are all optimally performed in different body positions, at different heights. An adjustable-height standing desk offers the best fit because you can raise or lower the desk height incrementally, and you can easily switch between sitting and standing at regular intervals throughout the day. You’ll want to choose a standing desk model that has an adjustment range that accommodates your height.
Desk Surface Dimensions
Consider the space you have available, as well as what items you keep on your desk, when choosing the width and depth of your desk’s work surface. Ideally you should be able to keep everything you use within reach without having to resort to awkward postures.
Make sure the desk frame is stable enough not to tip regardless of how the weight is distributed on the surface. Wobbling and bouncing leads to greater wear on the desk, and also poses a safety hazard. Also, even though the desk will not be handling the weight of your body in the way that an ergonomic chair does, it will need to accommodate the load that will commonly be placed on the desk.
Ergonomic desk prices range from $150 to $2000, depending on features, materials, engineering, and durability.
Additional Ways to Make a More Ergonomic Workstation
Desk accessories like a monitor arm, document holders, and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse should be chosen to ensure ergonomic movements and postures. Along with good lighting, these accessories help make sure the monitor, keyboard, and reading materials are at the correct height, and that commonly used items are within easy reach. That in turn helps keep you from subconsciously choosing awkward postures and movements.
A cornerstone of ergonomics is to keep the user in mind. When you’re choosing an ergonomic desk, details that are crucial for one person may be unimportant for another, depending on their physical needs, work duties, and office environment. Take your time in finding the right ergonomic desk that checks all your boxes.