Today, we’re going to be exploring the benefits of sit-stand desks and the drawbacks, so you can discover whether your office really needs one.
Sit-stand desks are an increasingly popular choice for workplaces worldwide – and for good reason! With claims of fixing back-pain, correcting posture problems, increasing productivity and more, it’s no hardship to see why the sit-stand desk is so popular.
However, how true are all these claims?
Explaining the sudden rise of sit-stand desks: the importance of standing
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the sit-stand desk is just another meaningless fad, but that could not be further from the truth.
With our lengthening life spans, taking care of our health is increasingly important. Shopping trends have started to reflect this; consumers are more conscious about their health than ever before.
While the importance of exercise for our health is well known, recent studies have uncovered that exercise isn’t enough. Furthermore, it’s not just that exercise is good – living a sedentary lifestyle is bad for us. Studies have shown that sitting down for long periods of time actively harms our health.
“The World Health Organization identified a sedentary lifestyle as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.“
This translates directly into the workplace. The average British office worker spends 35-40 hours a week sitting at their desk, not including sitting down to commute and time spent sitting for leisure. All this time sitting down contributes to a number of harmful consequences such as:
- Increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90 percent.
- Slowing your metabolism.
- Increasing the likelihood of an early death.
- Higher risk of developing dementia.
- Link to increased chance of cancer.
- And more.
Naturally, on the heels of this research, people grew increasingly concerned about their work habits – enter the sit-stand desk. The sit-stand desk is an adjustable desk that allows office workers to use it whilst standing or sitting, offering them the ability to stand up during their work day.
Health Concerns Around Standing
While there are a lot of health concerns around the sedentary lifestyle, this doesn’t mean that the answer is never sitting down again. On the contrary, there is research to suggest that too much standing can have a negative health impact too.
In fact, there has been a study showing that jobs requiring employees to stand up all day were associated with an approximately 2-fold risk of heart disease compared to those that were sitting. That being said, it’s worth keeping in mind the fact other factors of standing jobs (such as operating machinery, carrying heavy items, being in high-stress environments such as sales etc.).
One of the likely reasons for this is the fact that standing causes blood to pool in the legs and there is increased stress when pumping it back up to the heart. Excessive standing has also been linked to varicose veins, clogged arteries and night cramps.
The benefits of sit-stand desks are vast – but maybe the fact that they allow you to sit and stand is the biggest one. If you shouldn’t sit too much and you shouldn’t stand . . . what is the best thing for your health? As with many things, the solution seems to be a happy medium.
Benefits Of Sit-Stand Desks
Now that you have an overview of the science behind the concept, we’re going to identify and explain the benefits of sit-stand desks.
1. Allows you to break up hours of sitting
As we’ve explained in the previous section, sitting down for too long is harmful. However, it’s also inevitable if you work in an office.
The idea of getting up for breaks every hour may sound doable in principle, but in practice it may be less so. You may be working to tight deadlines and not have the time to spare; you might work in customer service and have to be present to answer the phones.
The first benefit of sit-stand desks is the ability to break that streak of sitting down, while still working. You can seamlessly switch between sitting and standing during the workday, so you don’t have to take constant breaks.
2. Standing is beneficial for your health (in moderation)
Not only does standing ensure you aren’t sitting still for too long, standing for part of the day is actively good for your health. Standing for three hours a day has the health benefits of running 10 marathons a year!
3. You have the option to sit and stand
We’ve touched on the fact that standing all day can be just as harmful as sitting, so having a standing desk may not be the solution. However, one of the biggest health benefits of sit-stand desks is the ability to adjust the settings to both sitting and standing height. This allows you and your employees to create a balance between the two throughout the day that fits you.
4. Good for productivity and focus
Amongst all the health benefits of sit-stand desks, there are workplace improvements too. Studies have shown that in some offices the introduction of sit-stand desks increased productivity by 46%! Not only do sit-stand desks improve your employee’s health, they improve their working ability – a solid investment, in our books.
6. Helps to maintain a healthy weight as you burn more calories
The last benefit of sit-stand desks that we’re sharing today is the fact they help employees to maintain a healthy weight and reduce obesity. When you think about it, it’s logical – sitting down expends far less energy than standing, so your body burns less calories sitting.
Studies have shown that employees utilising a standing desk burned 0.7 calories extra per minute; this adds up to around 50 calories an hour and, even better, over the course of a year, you would burn 30,000 calories. (Based off spending three hours a day standing, five days a week.)
These are just six of the many health benefits that sit-stand desks have to offer. If you are interested in providing your office with sit-stand desks, here at Quills we have a wide range of options. Feel free to send us an enquiry, or have a browse of our digital brochure.
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