Sit-Stand Desks: The Correct Way to Use Them & Reap Their Unique Benefits

If you’ve had the chance to visit several different offices or browse magazine articles on office design, you’ve probably noticed that sit-stand desks are highly popular. But unlike other trends that offer nothing in terms of functionality, there is a serious reason why sit-stand desks have their spot in the modern office.

Beautiful office women working while standing Ergotron

Research studies have shown that standing desks may increase your risk of developing health issues like cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, bone decay and high cholesterol. Ergonomic engineers have put enormous effort to transform science into practice and develop healthy solutions for workplaces. Many leading brands in this field, such as the innovative Ergotron desk manufacturer, offer numerous sit-stand desk varieties, underlying the importance of a healthier work environment.

However, a sit-stand desk will only be effective as long as you use it properly. That being said, besides making sure to pick the right model from the Ergotron desk range or another manufacturer, you also need to know how to properly set it up. Here are some things to address in order to reap the benefits this type of desk has to offer.

Adjust the Desk and Screen Correctly

ergotron desk

First of all, it’s of ultimate importance to properly adjust desk height and computer screen position. This will improve your comfort and bring office injury risk to the minimum. If you fail to do so, you’re risking putting a harmful strain on your neck, shoulders and upper back. That being said, the standing desk’s surface should be placed approximately at elbow height, to ensure elbows are positioned in a 90-degree angle from the floor when on the desk. For instance, if you’re 180cm high, you should raise your desk to approximately 110 cm.

The position of your computer monitor is also an important part that you need to address when applying ergonomic design. Screen position is recommended to be at or slightly below your eye level. If it requires a slight upward tilt, that should be limited between 10 and 20 degrees. The main point is to achieve a straight and relaxed neck position, with minimal up or down tilts.

If you’re using a laptop, you need to adjust the keyboard to your elbows’ height. You will need a separate keyboard and external mouse to meet ergonomic guidelines and get the best long-term results. Generally, a computer monitor should be placed at a distance of 50 – 70 cm from your face. Failing to adjust your screen properly can cause eyestrain and fatigue.

Switch from Sitting to Standing Periodically

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While standing may be better than sitting, it’s still best to make sure you’re moving periodically. With that in mind, you should not only sit or stand, but rather alternate between two positions frequently. The actual act of getting up and down has numerous health benefits, and an optimal switch should be every 30 to 60 minutes. To remind yourself of doing so, you may set timers or use different apps. Expert studies are still in the early phase, but a proportion of 1:1 or 2:1 sitting versus standing appears to be ideal. To find it more convenient, stand up while you’re doing activities that don’t demand a lot of typing and vice versa.

Invest in an Anti-Fatigue Mat

Happy women using Ergotron in office while working

Unfortunately, as much as standing offers some exercise as opposed to sitting, it’s not as good for your feet and can lead to fatigue. To prevent this, you can simply use an anti-fatigue mat. An anti-fatigue mat is a soft surface mat which encourages gentle leg muscle movements for increased blood flow and circulation.

To choose an appropriate anti-fatigue mat, along with softness, you should consider its size and antimicrobial properties. You can get flat style or 3D topographical style which can provide your feet with a massage, encouraging you to fidget and move more. The mats can also help with many foot issues and lower back pain, so it’s worth to give it a try.

Pay Attention to Your Wrist Position

Ergotron happy men working on sunnyday

Working 8 hours a day on a computer may affect your wrists. That being said, optimising wrist position throughout your shift is equally important regardless of being in a sitting or standing position. The ideal wrist degree while standing should be slightly upwards compared to sitting.

If you want to protect your wrists, keep your keyboard and mouse at the same level, and wrists straight while typing. If that’s impossible to achieve, you may consider using an adjustable keyboard stand and gel mouse pads for additional support.

Start Using Arm Supports

Office-Ergonomics-Wrist-Rests ergonomic keyboard wrist support

The research is clear on the value of armrests in preventing musculoskeletal disorders to the upper extremities. Arm supports are soft paddings that can be mounted on your desk to encourage a healthy forearm position. As a result, they can reduce muscular tension, provide adequate support and prevent back, neck, shoulder and wrist pain.

Take Regular Breaks

ergonomics monitor stand lotus

Last but not least, make sure to take regular breaks. Even if you’re aware that standing at your desk is better than sitting, you should still take short breaks to walk around and stretch. To some, these breaks come naturally, while others need to be reminded. Whichever group you belong to, make sure you establish break rules and successfully adapt them throughout your working day.

Despite the multiple health benefits standing desks provide, if you don’t use yours correctly, you may experience more harm than good. Try the above-listed tips and make the most of a sit-stand desk while reducing the risks.

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