Looking back a few decades, the idea of a desk with no chair may have seemed like a punishment or downgrade. But today, given what we now know and the health challenges that the western world is facing, standing desks may arguably be an upgrade over their counterparts. So let’s break down the pros and cons of each type of desk and see whether it is really worth it for businesses to spend money to change to standing desks for those employees who request it:
Starting with the status quo, traditional desks have a long and proven track record in the workplace. It is a convenient option and one that most people would probably intuitively consider more relaxing (this might not be the case once they try both options though). While there is nothing wrong with sitting down, it is the long time periods of continuous sitting coupled with overall sedentary lifestyles that is the harm. Studies have shown the physical issues that one can develop from sitting for too long due to improper posture and over the long-run potential metabolic diseases if they do not live a healthy and active lifestyle. The upside of sitting down while at work is that it puts less stress on the body, which can be important during times of recovery. It can also be an advantage in people who already face certain conditions or are at risk for issues such as pregnant women who can develop varicose veins if they stand for too long.
Now for the opposite option- standing. Standing desks continue to grow in popularity as people become more health conscious and willing to give them a try. Many users have noted favorable effects including more energy and increased productivity throughout the day. Standing also leads to greater calorie usage, which can help those who might struggle with their weight. The downside of course is that there is more stress to the body and people can develop soreness or stiffness as a result of the standing. But this is often something that can be lessened with time if a person goes from sitting all day to standing more gradually. Those who work standing all day for a long time often get used to it and no longer get sore or stiff. Even they may have issues with their feet with excessive standing though.
The best solution for most people is likely a combination of sitting and standing. Adjustable desks offer people the option to switch between both positions depending on what they prefer. If a person tries to stand as much as possible but also listens to their body in terms of how tired they feel or any discomfort or pain they have and switch to sitting as a result when that happens, they will likely achieve the best outcomes. It is important to be active but also not to overdo it and that holds true with sitting or standing at work just like it does with most things. So go ahead, if you have the opportunity give standing a shot!
Image credit: roseburn