Equipment used within the workspace has changed a lot in recent times as more research goes into the improvement of office working equipment. One of the more recent developments has been with the introduction of standing desks to the market. With their introduction, the benefits of an ergonomic standing desk compared to regular desks has been questioned. But it provide a multitude of health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, lowered blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease, reduced back pain, and improved mood and productivity. Standing desks are a newer innovation to the workspace that will likely fill offices in the near future.
Standing desks are quite well known for reducing the risk of obesity for workers. Weight gain is, in its simplest terms, taking in more calories than the body can burn. This means that weight can be lost by the inverse, burning more calories than you take in. Generally exercise is the best way to lose weight, but a more casual method of burning calories is simply standing rather than sitting. It has been shown that workers using a desk burn over 170 more calories compared to workers using sit-down desks (Leech). This means that workers will be burning over 1,000 calories a week by simply standing. This difference is likely to be the reason that sitting is linked to obesity. All of this means that the desk will be aiding workers’ caloric health while working.
Another benefit provided by desks is lowered blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease. One of the everyday causes of heightened blood sugar levels is the spike that comes after eating. Within a 10 worker study, those using standing desks were found to have their after-meal blood sugar spike reduced by 43% (Leech). Another study, this time involving 23 workers, showed that while alternating sitting and standing every 30 minutes lowered their after-meal blood sugar spike by an average 11.1%. This is easier on the body as it reduces workers’ average blood sugar levels throughout the work day. Standing desks have also been proven to lower workers’ risk of heart disease. This has been proven in multiple studies where bus conductors who stood while working had half the risk of death due to heart disease. Overall, sitting for prolonged periods of time has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by up to 147%.
One of the most common issues with desks that standing desks remedy is the back pain caused by sitting all day. Studies conducted to prove this showed that workers using standing desks saw an average 32% decrease in back pain compared to using normal desks (Leech). Another study, conducted by the CDC, showed a 54% decrease in upper neck and back pain in workers after 4 weeks of using a desk. The main reason for back pain while sitting is bad posture. This is easily remedied by the standing desk as posture is not an issue.
Standing desks also have the added benefit of improving worker mood and productivity. A one week study in 2011 found that those using standing desks reportedly had less stress than working while sitting. 87% of those workers also reported an increase in energy while using standing desks. This matches with studies that show prolonged sedentary times to be linked to increased anxiety and stress levels. Some of this boost could be attributed to the fact that workers generally have an increased mood when they feel that they are being healthier. It can also be noted that the effects dissipated within two weeks once the workers were returned to normal desks.
Standing desks, while being a newer technology, will likely make a large shift into offices soon. Their benefits outweigh all of a normal desk’s benefits. Standing desks provide a reduced risk of obesity by burning calories while working. They also contribute to lowered blood pressure and risk of heart disease as they put spikes in calories to use after meals. Reduced back pain is a large part of standing desks as most workers report having back pain while working at a normal desk. Finally, standing desks have been shown to improve worker’s mood and productivity by up to 87%. All of these combined make the standing desk a perfect addition to the workspaces of tomorrow. When choosing a desk, make sure you choose one with a good standing desk frame.