Standing up to Work

Nobody sits at work anymore. In a collaborative workplace, people are always on the move. And, when they chose a workstation, it usually has a standup desk.

An adjustable height desk lets workers stretch their legs and backs at a surface that suits their respective height. They can lower the desktop to a traditional desk position, but the standup gives them a welcome option.

Fundamentally simple
The standup desk is fundamentally simple: an adjustable frame and a worktop. Frames come in different metals and colors, and tops might be laminate, bamboo, or other material.

Some have additional features like automatic adjustment mechanism and wire trays to hide and manage cabling.


People can work at the usual desk level. Or, they raise it to whatever height suits them comfortably. And, it holds all the things workers like on a desk: pictures, lamps, pens, and more.

Fundamentally ergonomic
Comfort is the key issue. The U.S. Army Public Health Command Ergonomics Program (USAPHC)has tested and determined, “the most cost-effective way to obtain the benefits from sitting and standing is for healthy workers to sit in a neutral work posture and intermittently stand and move around…”

They also report, “If you currently experience difficulty sitting for 30 minutes or fewer, you are likely a candidate for a sit-stand workstation. We also recommend if a sit-stand workstation is being purchased, that it is easy to adjust and encourages an individual to change positions frequently.”

Standing releases energy because it improves blood flow. It improves core muscular strength, improve posture, and relieve pain in lower spine. And, standing stretches the skeleton to break up the physical monotony and stiffness of remaining in one position throughout the workday.

Writing from personal experience for Forbes, Steven Mullis says, “It’s a lot harder to get sleepy at your desk if you’re standing. You are constantly aware of your body.”

But, there are still some things to work on. Comfort takes some doing to be ergonomically correct. For example, unless the computer monitor is at eye level, the neck will stress because the head is tilted down.

The desktop should be at a just below elbow height that requires arms to work on keyboard and mouse at a 90-degree angle.


According to Steve Yu, founder of StandDesk, the automatic sit-to-stand desk fulfilled his “passion for lifehacking – discovering the easiest possible ways to a happier, healthier, more productive planet.”

Fundamentally cost efficient
There’s not much to a stand desk. Some frames are made of recycled metals. And, tops are simple flat pieces.

Some brands let you provide your own top within sizing limits. Some suggest horizontal stabilizing bars.

There are no drawers, but files and work materials can be stored in nearby cabinets or moveable portable drawers under the table top.

The stand-to-sit desk has a smaller footprint than the usual desk. And, available accessories have a modern utilitarian and minimalist appearance.

Some users recommend an anti-fatigue pad to stand on. Some also use keyboard trays, attachable under the top spin tray for small office supplies, ergonomic arms to support monitors, or under the top CPU holders.

To reinforce the ergonomic advantage of motion and posture, people also invest in kneeling or wobble chairs.

Standup summary
People have seen and felt the values of standing desks for centuries. Engineers and architects, for example, have long sought the comfort of working on raised surfaces.

Any worker, at home on in an office, lab, or factory floor can now share the advantages. Perhaps the ideal solution is a space large enough to hold a traditional desk along with a sit-to-stand desk or a workplace large enough to allow employees to use standalone desks as an occasional option.

But, the automated sit-to-stand desk is starting to dominate the office furniture layout.

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