What is a sit-stand desk?
Quite simply it is a desk that is height adjustable and enables either a seated or standing working position (and anywhere in between). They are usually electrically powered but can also be operated by a hand crank or by sprung loaded columns. Sit-stand desks are definitely becoming more popular as a way to reduce back pain and other complaints associated with a poor sitting position. It is not, however, recommended that office workers stand all day but rather that they use the adjustability to vary their posture throughout the day.
Recent research into sit-stand desks
Before we look into this further let’s look at the key findings from recent research.
- Workers who used sit-stand desks were 78% more likely to report a pain-free day than those who used regular workstations, according to a Stanford University back pain study.
- At their 2013 annual meeting, the American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.
- A 2011 study published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that when workers are equipped with sit-stand workstations, prolonged sitting is reduced and mood states improve.
Now we’ve looked at the key findings let’s take a deeper look into Sit Stand work stations.
Is it a Fad?
Many look at sit-stand desks as a bit of a marketing ploy by the furniture industry to reinvent the humble desk. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gone are the days of cramming in as many people as possible into a limited space with the major perk of the office being tea and coffee making facilities. Employees now expect a lot more from their workplace, with health and wellbeing high up their agenda.
So, the answer to this question is no. With the rise of the sit-stand desk the office furniture industry has actually identified a way of improving the wellbeing and, consequently, the productivity of office workers and also a way that has been proven to help to attract & retain the very best talent.
Scandinavia is leading the way.
In Sweden, sit-stand working is so commonplace that our Nordic colleagues are perplexed by how slow the UK has been to catch up. The expectation of varying working positions throughout the day is so widespread across Scandinavia that over 80 percent of Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian office workers already use sit-stand workstations, and offering employees a height adjustable workstation is now mandatory in Denmark. Despite sit-stand working still being in its infancy in the UK, with only 2 percent of knowledge workers having access to height adjustable workstations, there is plenty of compelling evidence and a groundswell of expert opinion to suggest that the UK office is going to have to get off its backside pretty soon.
Let’s get moving
After looking at the evidence and how our Scandinavian colleagues leading the way, it’s pretty hard to argue. The fact is Sit-stand desks are here, and they are here to stay.
With our ever evolving workplaces and a shift towards Agile and New Ways of Working, the Sit-stand desk is going to become a key feature of office design for the foreseeable future.