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A breeding ground for innovation, the workplace is at the forefront of new technology and furniture that helps to increase productivity and comfort.

Not convinced? Cast your mind back twenty years and consider how different- not to mention how uncomfortable- the average office was. Cluttered with cubicles and water coolers, the workplace was somewhere that people typically sought to avoid.

Over time, however, designers have transformed offices into places that staff find agreeable. From ergonomic desk chairs to trendy breakout spaces, modern additions have helped to enliven workspaces and boost productivity.

The latest innovation to be loudly championed by office designers is the sit stand desk.

Allowing users to work in a far more flexible fashion, sit stand desks– otherwise known as ‘height adjustable desks’- can be effortlessly configured to be used in either a sitting or standing position. Conveniently operated with manual or electronic mechanisms, it’s easy to move between the two positions whenever necessary.

Guided by science, height adjustable desks have been engineered to help relieve the various complications which are associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time. Indeed, the ability to work whilst standing has been proven to reduce the risks of muscular strain whilst at the same time improving focus.

Widely embraced throughout Scandinavia, legislation in places like Denmark stipulates that anyone required to work at a desk for two or more hours each day is legally required to have a sit stand desk. Inspired by this law, campaigners working for Get Britain Standing are currently seeking to secure similar provisions for workers in the UK.

With this in mind, it would certainly be no exaggeration to suggest that sit stand desks are revolutionising the workplace. 

What are sit stand desks?

In the most straightforward terms possible, sit stand desks are office desks which can be configured for either seated or standing use. Also known as height adjustable desks, they allow for a greater amount of movement and can be modified to meet the specific needs of the user.

Boasting a range of benefits, height adjustable desks have been proven to:

● Improve posture

● Boost energy levels

● Increase blood circulation

● Enhance productivity

● Raise calorie burn

These are some fairly impressive gains and go a long way towards improving employee performance.

Concerned that standing might distract you or your staff from getting things done? Don’t be- a study carried out at the Johannes Gutenberg University compared typing and error rates across 120 participants and concluded that the 50% using sit stand desks performed just as well as their seated colleagues.

Sit stand desks also offer a far greater accessibility than traditional desks. Indeed, the ability to raise and lower the height of the desk makes them a particularly good choice for wheelchair users.

Are standing desks worth it?

Research would definitely suggest that standing desks are worth investing in. Indeed, a year-long study conducted by the Center for Active Design established that sit stand desks offer a noticeable improvement in the wellbeing of users.

Randomly selecting 48 participants from an office, they provided half with height adjustable desks and half with traditional seated desks. After a year of use, employees were asked to complete an extensive questionnaire to determine the exact benefits of height adjustable desks.

Collating the responses, the study found that when users were using sit stand desks:

● 65% felt more productive and focused

● 47% experienced fewer aches and strains

● 65% felt better outside of work

● 88% found them easy to use

It’s no secret that healthy staff are often productive staff, so it certainly makes sense to consider introducing adjustable desks in the workplace.

Researchers at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention have also suggested that height adjustable desks are a helpful aid for sufferers of chronic pain. Monitoring a sample pool of sufferers over several weeks, they discovered that by the fourth week, participants were reporting that their upper back and neck pain had subsided by 54%.

To return to the initial question, it would seem reasonable to suggest that standing desks are definitely worth it.

Are standing desks better?

Unlike a regular standing desk, a height adjustable desk means that users have the option of sitting or standing when it comes to completing their work. 

Obviously, there are some tasks which are better performed while sitting and some which require a little more movement. Having the ability to oscillate between sitting and standing is therefore an ideal solution.

How do you adjust the height on sit stand desks?

How you adjust the height of your sit stand desk will depend on the model you purchase. Some will have a crank that raises and lowers the height of the desk whilst others have more sophisticated electronic mechanisms to perform this task.

In either case, you’ll find the instructions you need in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

What height should a standing desk be?

Believe it or not, there’s a subtle art to adjusting the height of a sit stand desk. When it comes to configuring your desk to work whilst standing, you’ll need to:

1. Stand up straight across from the desk with your arms by your side

2. Bend your elbows to form a 90 degree angle

3. Adjust the height of the desk to align with the height of your elbow

Alternatively, if you’re planning to position the desk for some seated work, you should:

1. Sit upright and raise your chair so that the cushion is parallel to your knees

2. Position the desk so that it’s aligned with your elbow when your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle

Incredibly easy, right?

How much is an adjustable desk?

Like all pieces of office furniture, adjustable desks are available at a broad range of prices. With offerings from economy to premium brands, the price point will be determined by both preference and need.    

Indeed, if you require a sit stand desk with modular features, it’ll cost slightly more than a more basic model.

What are the best adjustable standing desks?

Because sit stand desks are designed for a variety of functions, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to suggest which of them are best. There are, however, a selection of adjustable desks that come with some attractive standout features that make them stand out from the crowd.

These include: 

Herman Miller Ratio Sit Stand Desk

Designed with classic Herman Miller engineering at its heart, the Ratio Sit Stand Desk is a fully customisable and adjustable desk with optional risers. The perfect solution for seated and standing work, the aluminium framed screen means that the desk provides privacy as well as flexibility.

Humanscale Quickstand ECO

A height adjustable fixture which sits on top of an existing desk, the Humanscale Quickstand ECO is a workstation that facilitates standing work without the need to invest in a completely new desk. Complete with an adjustable keyboard platform and available in different finishes, this Quickstand is a nicely portable solution for flexible working.

Elite Mobile Sit and Stand Meeting Table

Adjustable desks aren’t the preserve of lone workers, they’re great for entire teams to make use of too. The Mobile Sit and Stand Meeting Table from Elite is perfect for employees to gather round when presenting ideas or getting together for an informal catch up. 

Electric HA Desk and Capisco Chair Combo

Presented as a dynamic package, the Electric HA Desk and Capisco Chair Combo makes for a great partnership in adjustable furnishings. Making the alignment process as straightforward as possible, the desk has LED lights which indicate its height. Like each of the other models on this list, the desk also features a fully wire managed underframe to disguise any cables running to the mains.

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