As the traditional office full of cubicles and desktops falls further and further out of fashion, efforts to reimagine how the workplace should look continue to flourish. Designers are putting their efforts into creating new and innovative approaches to how the workplace should look, with added focus being placed on productivity and the wellbeing of workers. Employers are understanding that creating offices that are designed with workers’ happiness in mind increases overall productivity and quality of work.
One of the fastest-growing trends in the new approach to office design is the standing desk. It should come as no surprise that sitting too much is bad for workers’ health. The traditional office layout saw workers sitting still at their desks for up to nine hours a day, with many even choosing to forgo their lunch break and eat at their desks. In many, this has led to back problems and strained muscles. What’s more, sitting at a desk all day is linked strongly to weight gain, as stationary workers burn very few calories. In fact, those who sit for long periods each day are more likely to have a range of afflictions linked to weight and obesity - including heart disease and diabetes.
In order to counteract these negative consequences of sitting all day, many office spaces are now making use of the standing desk model. For those who are unfamiliar with the model, we’re going to go through six of the greatest health benefits associated with the standing desk.
What are standing desks?
First off, a bit of definition always helps. Standing desks are exactly what they sound like - desks at which workers have the freedom to stand as they work, as opposed to merely sitting still all day. Many models are adjustable, meaning that workers can choose to work in different positions throughout the day. This helps avoid fatigue and gives office workers the chance to stretch their legs!
1. Improved circulation
Sitting at an office chair all day can have negative impacts on the circulation of blood around the body. Remaining seated can cause your circulation to slow down, which then means that blood that goes to your legs and feet has trouble circulating back to the rest of your body. This can cause damage to tissue, and especially for those who already have trouble with their nerves, the lack of nutrients and oxygen caused by poor circulation can cause intense discomfort. Tingling and numbness are the first signs of poor circulation that most people experience from sitting too long at their desks. Standing desks aid in maintaining a healthy circulation throughout the body by making sure your legs stay stretched throughout the day.
2. Lowered risk of weight gain and obesity
One of the invisible benefits of a standing desk is the extra calories you can passively burn throughout the day! Studies show that using standing desks can burn up to 200 more calories in the same working day when compared to using a traditional sitting desk. Over time, these extra calories can really add up and go a long way in generating weight loss and preventing obesity. As obesity and its related health afflictions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and premature death, become more and more deadly - adopting a standing desk could go a long way in contributing to the wellbeing of your overall health.
3. Reduction of physical pains
Sitting sedentary at a desk all day is well known to be the root cause for many office workers’ physical pains. Remaining in an upright sitting position for hours on end, week in week out, can have detrimental effects on many parts of the body. Many workers report experiencing chronic back pain as a consequence of sitting for too long, and over time this pain can even develop into more significant issues such as scoliosis. Hunching over a keyboard is also known to cause shoulder and neck pain, both of which are reported to be relieved with use of a standing desk.
4. Improved concentration
When our environments are completely devoid of change or dynamism, it can be all too easy to find ourselves becoming dull and distracted. Standing desks offer the ability to adjust your working conditions throughout the day, keeping your workspace fresh and engaging. This can have a hugely positive impact on workers’ ability to stay focused and alert throughout the day. Many of those who have converted to using standing desks report that the ability to adjust their workplace to suit their mood helps them maintain their focus and productivity throughout the day.
5. Lowered levels of stress and fatigue
Staying on your feet throughout the day is shown to keep your heart rate steady, blood circulation strong, and mind engaged. The combination of these effects results in an overall improvement in both physical and mental wellbeing. Standing desk users often report that their energy levels remain more consistent throughout the day than when they solely sit at work. All these benefits lead to workers who are less likely to succumb to stress and fatigue due to their workplace conditions.
Standing desks appear to have many benefits, both to the physical wellbeing of workers, and the quality of the work that they produce. And while research into these benefits is in its early phases, there’s a reason why more and more employers and home office workers are exploring the possibilities of the standing desk!