Plantronics, the guys who make great gadgets, conducted a survey of 2000 office workers. Their results – and the consequent implications on our health – are staggering.
If you’ve talked to me for more than 30 minute about coworking, I’ll have mentioned my experiments and ongoing fascination with the standing desk. When I first heard the phrase “standing desk”, I was incredulous.
The Science Bit
As anyone who’s sat at a desk day after day will testify, your back, neck, arms and legs can all get uncomfortable, cramped and even painful. Your muscles go soft due to lack of use and you can put on weight if you’re coming from a more active post.
- We sit for about 8.9 hours a day at a desk
- We sit while travelling, eating and socialising
- Then, we lie in bed all night
- That’s a lot of time not moving very much!
Recent research suggests that sitting at work is the new cancer or heart disease, and some studies celebrate its weight-loss and muscle-toning capability.
Who wants to stand all day?
This is the first mistake. Standing desks would be better named “adjustable desks” (and during my search for them online, I’ve noticed this slight change in marketing terminology over the last year or so), because while users may stand at them all day, many don’t.
Many professionals already stand all or part of the day, when you think about it: teachers, lecturers, trainers and educators of all types; outdoors and construction workers; scientists and people who work in laboratories; healthcare professionals – so, it’s not a physical impossibility.
For office workers whose environment involves a desk:
- People tend to switch between sitting and standing during the day
- Some prefer to sit for phonecalls, eating, or while writing
- Some stand in the morning and sit in the afternoon
- Some only work at a desk for a few hours during he day, so they use a permanently standing desk
Scanning the internet for – and there’re really nothing new under the sun! – I encountered many reference to The Ikea Hack, essentially a coffee table on top of your desk, with a small keyboard shelf attacked.
- While my feet were sore for the first two days, I managed to stand for approximately 6 hours after a few days of acclimatisation
- I tested the option of sitting down for calls (which felt odd, since I tend to stand for calls – though this could just be habit) and eating
- I found that once I sat down, I forgot I was supposed to be standing (some clever people use a timer to prompt themselves to change position)
- In all, I recommend it, and I’ve retained my standing desk option, so I can use it when I wish
- There were no negative side-effects
- I’d recommend getting an adjustable desk (crank and motor options are available)
- My investigations into good-looking, sturdy, big adjustable desks found that you can buy something reasonably large for approximately £200, though you can spend right up to £9000 if you have it!
Is it Going to Catch On?
While many trends take a while to reach the UK from the USA or the rest of Europe, I’ve encountered less and less confused faces when asking about this. But, I still encounter people who look incredulous and dismiss the idea without listening to my research and experience.
Research suggests we could stand for 4 hours a day, and that that alone would improve our skeletel, muscular, heart and even mental health (better focus, alertness and positivity).
We hope to be able to enable you to experiment at WabiSabi with some adjustable desks. They will look and operate like regular desks, but will have an adjustable option, so you can see for yourself.
Image credit: juhansonin
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