In 2010, scientists discovered that sitting for prolonged amounts of time could have dire effects on one’s health. Leading a sedentary lifestyle was said to increase chances of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The ill-effects from over-sitting soon became so well known that sitting was labelled ‘the new smoking’.
This new research sparked an urgency for office workers to review their lifestyle and habits. The need to keep active throughout the day while still working at a desk led to the popularity of sit-to-stand desks.
But that wasn’t the debut of the standing desk. They’ve been around for a while – and for good reason. We cover some of the reasons why you should use a standing desk below.
1. Standing desks can improve productivity
Studies show that working at a standing desk can help with creativity, productivity, focus, and overall work engagement.
The earliest recorded standing desk-er was Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 1400s to early 1500s, who sketched out a lot of his inventions on a standing desk. Other brilliant minds who were fans of the standing desk include Napoléon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, and Ernest Hemingway
Jason Nicholls, Director of Photography and Editor at Fluke Creative, hasn’t been using his sit-to-stand-desk for long but he has already noticed a change. “Your brain works differently when you stand,” he says. “Do you ever notice that when you get a phone call you get up and go for a walk? You’re more active and alert when you’re standing. The desk definitely makes a difference.”
2. Standing desks can improve mental health
Standing doesn’t only help the brain think more clearly; it helps it think more ‘happy’, too.
Depression and anxiety are affecting an increasing number of people. As awareness of mental health issues grows, businesses are being encouraged to take better care of their staff.
The increased productivity and focus from working at a standing desk results in greater work satisfaction and helps to decrease work-related anxiety. Studies show that using a sit-to-stand desk leads to positive changes in psychological health – both work-related and generally.
Being active is also key to keeping brain health in check. The more you move the more endorphins the brain releases, and it’s easier to be motivated to move if you’re already standing.
There is also new evidence that sitting for prolonged periods of time can reduce the medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults. This part of the brain is responsible for memory and spatial cognition. Leading a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to Alzheimer’s, too.
Looking after the mental health of your employees is good for them and for the business. As Geoff McDonald, former Global Vice-President HR at Unilever, says: “Putting wellbeing at the centre of everything you do will grow your business and help attract and retain talent.”
3. Standing desks are be better for general health
We now know that too much sedentary time increases the risk of unwanted health concerns, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Standing helps decrease stress and anxiety, which is linked to many illnesses. It’s better for blood flow and sending oxygen to the brain. It’s also said to be better for your waistline – standing is better for metabolic function and increases the heart rate, resulting in burning calories.
4. Standing desks help relieve back issues and improve posture
The first thing you’ll notice after using a standing desk is that your body just feels better. The ergonomic benefits of being able to stand while working are widely known.
The human body, quite simply, was not designed to sit for the length of time we sit today. Sitting too much can be detrimental to your posture and cause back issues.
Standing upright leads to an increase in core strength and improved posture, which contributes to a better back. Newer models of standing desks are controlled electronically, so there’s no need to awkwardly crank them when you want to stand – which in itself could result in back issues!
Back pain is what initially spurred Jason Nicholls to get his sit-to-stand desk. “I’ve got a pretty rubbish lower back,” he says. “Editing involves a lot of computer time so I was sitting for long periods, which really didn’t help.”
During the day Jason alternates between sitting and standing to get a good balance of both. “It’s great to have the option of standing,” he says. “With my old desk, when my back was getting sore I would just have to put up with it. Now I can stand up and work, which relieves the pain. It’s good to get out of the routine of sitting for long periods – and standing doesn’t affect my ability to work.”
If you want to improve your staff’s wellbeing, health, productivity, and attitude, science shows that a sit-to-stand or standing desk might be the way to go.
And you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent adjustable standing desk. SmartSpace’s ‘Rubix Electric’ is at a lower price point and has the same features as the best sit-to-stand models. It’s height-adjustable, electric, and sturdy.
If your staff don’t want standing desks, it’s still important to make sure your office furniture is ergonomically designed. This can be as simple as ensuring a computer is at the right height with a monitor arm, or providing a decent chair.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of adjustable standing desks or other workplace solutions, get in touch with the team at SmartSpace. There’s a wide range of solutions depending on your budget and need.