The Scoop on Standing Desks
Modern society is much different than almost any time in human history. From the beginning of time, humans have spent most of their time on their feet. Hunting and chasing prey or running from predators.
As recently as a century and a half ago almost everybody on Earth remained in physically active lives mostly as soldiers and farmers. Technology, eventually, lead to the industrial revolution but that just progressed to additional grueling jobs in factories and mines.
Over the most recent sixty years, however, the digital revolution has made it much more prevalent for machines to take on the physical tasks that were previously done by people. This has left people mostly in charge of programming the machines, overall, along with plenty of associated paperwork. This new way of living has made many people more inclined to work sitting at a desk every day, which is not especially healthy.
Many people no longer even have to leave their own home to work these days. Digital technologies and the internet allow jobs to be completed remotely from a more comfortable place than low-light cubicles in office buildings. Home offices have become more popular now than ever. This ends up meaning that people are spending even more time than ever seated because they spend even less time getting where they have to be.
Working sitting can be harder on the body that a physical job in many instances because we are built to spend most of our time upright. This type of work has lead, over time, to an epidemic of many physical detriments, particularly to the back and the joints of the lower body.
Fortunately, there is always a solution that technology creates to solve the problems which it has also created. In the case of sitting too much, the simple solution is a standing desk. The tasks that humanity needs to be done will not change suddenly overnight but the way those tasks are done can be.
The term standing desk can often bring up ideas of pretentious office hipsters or uncomfortable days stuck on one’s feet with no rest at all. Standing desks, however, are much less a sentence that has to be served and more an opportunity to change positions and stretch your body instead of being cramped and folded all the time. They tend to be more comfortable than they sound.
The fact that they come in a variety of sizes, styles, and degree of adjustabilities mean that a standing desk of some sort can prove to be ideal for any situation. Especially in a home office, the aware, and alert standing position can help with productivity and focus in an, otherwise, relaxing and possibly distracting environment.
While the exact size and style of a standing desk may be less consequential in an office setting, when it comes to a home office the personal touch can be important. In addition to the touch is if it fits, not only metaphorically but physically as well. Not every home office has an abundance of space and for many people, a more affordable option makes a new standing desk much more attainable.
The base model standing desk is, basically, no different than any regular office desk. Except, of course, sitting in a much higher position. The average surface is around five feet wide and three feet deep. This standard desk sie is great for a corporate setting but can prove to be too large for some small home offices.
At times, the size of the desk is not as much of a problem as the shape. The best place for a desk is, quite often, tucked neatly into a corner. Not many things go nicely into a corner of a room and that creates unused space waiting to be taken advantage of. L shaped desks have been taking advantage of these spaces fo a long time. The user gets twice the desk area for the space it uses, all neatly arranged around their person. Like standard desks, standing desks are available in this efficient and convenient design.
Other times, the size of the desk is important. A home office is the smallest room in the house most of the time. In the worst-case scenarios, the room is shared with another purpose such as laundry or crafting or is even not in a room of its own. A designated corner of the livingroom designated as office space just has to be good enough at times. In such cramped areas, there is no place to fit a full-sized desk, even one that is bent to fit in a corner. The compact size of technology has, fortunately, eliminated the need for so much space. No need for drawers full of paperclips and staples and a huge blocky computer monitor. The main function of the average home worker’s desk is a place to set a running laptop that is near the router and printer. Standing desks come in a variety of smaller sizes to accommodate just such needs.
If a small desk just is not small enough for the available space a portable standing desk may be an even better option. They fold up and can be stored, out of the way, when not in use. These are also a great option for a desk that can come room to room as necessary and can even be brought out to be used for projects and presentations.
It is never too early to begin teaching good habits. This reason and others are why standing desks can also be found in children’s sizes. A child-sized standing desk can provide a healthier, more comfortable place to work on art and homework.
Sometimes the best option is to work with what is already there. Some home offices already have a desk that, except for being too short to stand at, is perfectly fine. It is, of course, wasteful to get rid of something that already does its job well but there may not be room for any additional furniture. There is a simple solution for that. They make adjustable additions that sit on top of a normal desk or table and bring them up to standing desk height and functionality. This means many great features including monitor mounts and keyboard and mouse shelves at adjustable standing height. All of that right on a desk that is already familiar and loved.
All standing desks come with an option to adjust the height. Each user will need the desk in a different position based on their height for maximum efficiency. Some options even adjust the entire way from a standard desk position to standing height. There are several options of ways to adjust the height on various models.
This is the most popular and easiest option for adjusting the height of a standing desk. They may have a battery pack, but most just plug right into the wall. A push of a button causes built-in motors to raise or lower the height of the desk to best fit the height of the current user.
Sometimes the desk’s main components may be held in place by pistons filled with air. Releasing the pressure from the pistons will lower the desk while pumping them back up raises it. This is usually accomplished within the device itself with a simple push or pull of the desk into the desired position by the user. This simple and effective method is tried and true and has been used in office furniture, such as adjustable chairs, for decades.
This option is the most complex for the user but is often the most cost-efficient choice. There are, also, several ways that a user-operated, mechanically adjusted desk may operate. The easiest to use apply a similar set of gears to the electrically adjusting option. Instead of an electric motor, however, the user turns a hand crank to make the desk rise or fall depending on the direction the crank is turned.
Other, more economical manual adjustment options may include pushbutton rivets that allow the desk legs to slide to several measured positions or bars that lock into designated rack positions. These options can be a bit harder to reposition but are still a great option for a single user with no need to change the desk’s height with any regularity.
There are, as for other desk options, several choices when it comes to monitors on a standing desk. The simplest option is just an available raised shelf for the desk to set the screen on. Complex mounts for monitors of all sizes are also available. There are one and two screen options. Some mounts are minimally adjustable and hold the monitor facing forward. Other options include one or two complex jointed arms so that the screen or screens can be turned in any desired position. There are even arm mounts designed specifically for attaching a laptop while working at the desk.
There are many other important things to be attached to a standing desk other than just monitors. Most people use laptops these days and many do not even have a stationary computer at home. Others, however, recognize the extra processing power a larger computer can have. Home PCS can be conveniently mounted to the underside of a desk, for example. Wire management mounts and built-in power strips can also be added to the desks. These features provide a place to power charge multiple devices without a mess of wires running to the wall.
The optional drawers on a standing desk can be a nice addition. Some cases, when all work consists of is finding a place for the laptop, the extras are unnecessary. More often than not, however, the old-style office features, such as a segmented drawer for paperclips and pens or a deeper on for files can come in handy. No office area is complete without some storage space.
Mats and Seating
Standing may be better than being seated all of the time but it can still get uncomfortable. Some mats and boards can help to stand at one of these desks more comfortably. Mats can provide just the right cushion to take extra tension off of the back. Specially designed rocking boards can help comfort and health by allowing the body to bake subtle adjustments smoothly and steadily. Even though these desks are primarily built for standing up, there are even tall chairs and specially designed stools to be used with them. It doesn’t hurt to sit some of the time, especially in a definitively upright position.
There are many other available features as well. Including:
- keyboard trays
- under hooks
- bottle openers
- side tables
Set up and Use
It is important that a standing desk is set to the correct height for its users or none of the associated benefits will be maximized. The monitor that will be the main point of focus should be centered within or just below the user’s line of sight while they are standing in a well postured but comfortable position. Elbows should be at a ninety-degree angle while typing or using the computer mouse. This should also be just the right height for other surface-based tasks such as taking notes with a pen and paper.
Having a mat or board while standing is important. They keep the feet an lower back comfortable through cushioning but more than that they encourage subtle body movements which prevent fatigue and pain.
It is important to maintain good posture. Holding the head up and keeping the spine in the proper ‘S’ shape is important. Slouching can lead to greater discomfort than sitting in the long run.
It is important to keep moving. One of the greatest benefits to standing over sitting is a better ability to keep the body in subtle motion. These constant adjustments prevent cramps and constrictions in muscles, nerves, and veins from being as severe. If they even happen at all. One more tip is to get in a good stretch every half hour or so. Even the constant subtle movements are not enough to make up for the fact that the body is, mostly, static all day long. Taking a moment to get the blood flowing two or three times an hour can maximize all of the benefits associated with standing over sitting.
Back and Neck
The spinal benefits are the most obvious. Not being confined to a chair each day allows the spine to stretch out as it should be. Proper screen position will keep the neck in a neutral and strain-free position that can reduce pain not only in the neck itself but also the upper back and even the shoulder blades and shoulders. Even thug it may seem that standing would put more strain n the body overall, the opposite is true. Constant subtle movements distribute strain more evenly over the body and reduce tension on critical points.
Not sitting is much better for blood flow and breathing. When in the seated position nerves and veins in the legs, butt, and lower back may become constricted which can cause several other discomforts and problems. When standing, blood is free to flow naturally through the body as biologically intended.
Sitting also can put pressure on the diaphragm and ribs. This can cause breathing to be more shallow and, in turn, more rapid. In a standing position, the ribcage is given the ability to expand fully allowing deep and steady breathing. This helps regulate the heart rate and oxygen distribution in the body.
Just feeling better physically alone can often provide a mood boost but that is not the only mental benefit that standing more often can provide. Better blood flow means more and more steady oxygen supply to the brain. That means clearer and more cohesive thoughts. Constant subtle motions can also, like other exercises, stimulate the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals elevate the mood and help combat the symptoms of common mental afflictions such as Anxiety, Depression, and attention and focus difficulties.
To conclude everything nice and neatly, the important thing to come away with is that being in the standing position more of the time is much more healthy for the body. Expanding wellbeing is important to strive for daily. That fact makes a standing desk the perfect, healthful addition to any modern home office.