Should You Use a Standing Desk?
The answer depends on who you are.
Yes, if your workday is more sedentary than you like.
By now most people know that sedentary lifestyles are linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer (especially cancers of the colon or breast), and premature death. We have only so much control over how we spend our days, and 8 long hours at a desk can account for more of it than we like. Factor in any driving time, relaxing time on the couch, and you get the idea. If you have to sit all day, it’s hard for those minutes in the gym and in the yard to make a dent. Stand when you can.
Yes, if you become uncomfortable sitting at a desk for long stretches.
If you’ve noticed your lower back aching at the end of a work day, you’re definitely not alone. Too much time in a fixed posture is often the culprit. Can a standing desk help here? Yes, but only if you have the option to sit and stand at will.
Start slowly. If you suddenly go from sitting at a desk all day to standing at a desk all day, you run the risk of developing back, foot, or leg pain. You have to find the sweet spot by easing in to standing. Start with 30 to 60 minutes a day, and then increase it gradually. Experiment and see what interval works best for you.
Yes, if you would like to improve your focus and productivity.
Whether you work from home or in the office, distractions can intrude and interrupt your work flow. A height adjustable desk can help you return your focus to the task at hand – provided that desk adjusts position at the same pace you do.
If you tend to fidget and become distracted, a standing desk may provide just the occasional movement you need. Ignore advice to set a timer that reminds you when to sit and stand. That will just disrupt your concentration and reduce your efficiency. Instead, consider changing postures when you change tasks, or whenever you feel uncomfortable or fidgety.
Yes, if you have certain types of injuries.
For some people with spinal compression injuries, an adjustable desk that allows standing as well as sitting is the lifeline that enables them to continue desk work.
No, if your desk work requires using fine motor skills.
Clock makers and other precision workers may benefit from a seated posture that limits their arm motions and improves accuracy. If all your work is precision work, a standing desk probably wouldn’t be worthwhile.
No, if you hope to lose a lot of weight.
A standing desk is not the magic weight loss bullet. While studies find that standing does indeed burn a few more calories than sitting, it’s really not enough to add up to significant weight loss. What a height adjustable desk can do is facilitate transitions from sitting to standing. Which is a fancy way of saying that if you can sit and stand when you choose, and remember to choose it, you can increase flexibility and heart rate, and moderate blood pressure.
A better way to burn those calories would be to take a brisk walk around the building a couple of times a day, or to choose the stairs instead of the elevator, or to park at the end of the parking lot. A height adjustable desk can be just one part of an active lifestyle that encourages movement.
Suffice it to say, small choices do add up over time. Even the choice to stand throughout the day while taking your calls or responding to emails reinforces the habit of movement. It may not always result in tremendous weight loss. But movement matters.
So, should you use a standing desk?
Many people find a standing desk ensures a perfect fit for their daily tasks. That’s likely why standing desks have gained such a large share of the market. Although they’re clearly not for everyone, standing desks offer the most flexibility for your workday and – given their mobility – maximum flexibility for your office design as a whole.
Find the most comfortable, efficient, and sturdy standing desk that meets your needs. Make sure that it provides the right amount of surface area, and that it supports the amount of weight you usually have on your desk. Choose lockable casters if you think it would be nice to move around the room easily.
Should you use a standing desk? It depends. What have you got to lose?