The days when the only choices for office furniture and desks was which colour and whether to opt for straight or curved are long gone. The office furniture industry has evolved and changed to make the office healthier. These days, desk choice is not only about aesthetics, it’s also about working practices, productivity and well being, which is why office furniture and desk designers are constantly innovating to develop new desking solutions that suit all requirements.
Most manufacturers have a range of sit-stand height adjustable desks which have grown in popularity. Many allow the individual user to electronically adjust the desk height from a sitting to a standing position with the touch of a button.
Incorporating height adjustment technology used in the healthcare sector, the modern height adjustable desks have been designed to enable the end user to set their desk at any height or change the height to suit the task at any time.
So, why are height adjustable desks so popular now?
Firstly, they address and anticipate changing working practices. Increasingly, companies are designing collaborative spaces into their office environments and a sit-stand desk layout enables a permanent or temporary collaborative space where colleagues can meet informally without having to move chairs or retreat to the more formal setting of a meeting room.
Secondly and most important, there is also a wellbeing element to the practice of standing meetings or even working while standing. Sitting in an office chair behind a desk for prolonged periods of time can definitely cause lower back pain or worsen an existing back problem. The main reason behind this is that sitting, in an office chair or in general, is a static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and in particular, can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.
Prolonged periods of sitting have also been linked to increased risk of morbidity and life threatening conditions, including type two diabetes and cancer. Now a study co-commissioned by Public Health England has advised that office workers should spend a minimum of two hours on their feet at work – building up to an ideal four hours – in order to avoid the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
The report specifically advises the use of sit-stand desks to help employers encourage their employees to spend less time sitting at their desks and more time standing while they work.
And the health benefits don’t end there. Even when an employee is sitting at their sit-stand desk, a height adjustable desk can help them to improve their posture by enabling them to position their desk at the optimum height for their needs. That not only means an end to sitting hunched over a keyboard but also enables greater flexibility for offices that operate a hot desking policy.
Research suggests that a sedentary desk job can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing over time and office workers should be encouraged to spend more time standing during the working day.
Having the option to stand, as well as sit during the work day has been proven not only to benefit the health of the user by helping to burn calories, improving posture and promoting mental well-being, but also benefits the business.
Put simply, a healthier workforce is a happier, more motivated and more productive workforce; not to mention the reduced risk of sickness days due to back problems and other symptoms of sedentary work habits. Studies also show that height adjustable desks promote creativity, team interaction, collaboration, and the willingness to share ideas.
So, when it comes to sit-stand desks, a modern desk is much more than a place to work; it’s a working culture that benefits both the employee and the company.
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