Many are rightly concerned with the long-term effects of sitting at the workplace: Medical studies from multiple sources have asserted that this is unhealthy over the long term. However, the most obvious alternative, a standing desk that eliminates the chair altogether, isn’t necessarily better and comes with its own health risks. What, then, is the best way for employees to work without unnecessary strain?
Writing for Quartz, Gwynn Guilford proposes a compromise: the “sit-stand” desk. She writes that in her own experience, working at a standing desk ended up easing pain on her back but led to swollen ankles from a lack of movement.
Asking her friends, Guilford found that the “sit-stand” approach was more common than either completely standing or completely sitting. She notes that using adjustable desks grants employees the ability to change their surroundings to match their personal physical needs throughout the day.
“These desks allow you to adjust the height of your computer, either electronically or manually,” she writes. “This feature is appealing because many people seem to like doing email or talking on the phone while standing, but struggle to write or do more focused tasks unless they’re sitting.”
This is also a way for workplaces to transition into using standing desks, instead of suddenly switching over to them at once. It takes time to get used to any new behavior at work, and the sit-stand approach gives workers more time to let their bodies adjust.
Managers should look for quality office furniture that lets workers slowly adjust to a new setting and make meaningful changes to their work routine at their own pace.