How to Properly Use Height Adjustable Desks

It’s no secret that prolonged sitting can have a detrimental effect on your health, and it’s an issue currently being tackled by many companies now focusing on the health and well-being of their employees.  One of the more radical new implementations towards this approach are height-adjustable desks, which allow employees to do their work upright, and on their feet, as opposed to sitting down. The advantages are health-related, and encompass everything from weight loss and a decrease in musculoskeletal pain, to lower cholesterol and better productivity.  However, many employees find the initial shock too much to endure for the long haul, which is why many revert back to sitting within a short space of time.  The following are a few examples of challenges employees face when trying to get used to height-adjustable desks.

#1) Lack of Moderation

To encourage employees to adopt height-adjustable desks in the workplace, the biggest factor is moderation.  Just as sitting all day can be detrimental to your health, so too can standing for prolonged periods.  In fact, studies have shown that jobs involving prolonged standing can actually increase the risk of heart disease, compared with sitting.  The old adage “too much of a good thing” comes to mind, and for good reason.  Rather than standing or sitting for the entire day, the focus should be on changing positions multiple times during the shift, which strikes the right health-related balance between the two. 

#2) Fear of Change

Let’s face it – most people have a hard time dealing with change in even the most subtle forms.  As pattern-seeking mammals, we tend to gravitate towards the familiar and comfortable, and any deviation from this routine can throw a proverbial monkey wrench into our system.  Imagine having to suddenly adapt to the concept of standing vs. sitting during your workday!  It’s enough to make even the most ardent proponent of change do a double-take.  When it comes to something as ergonomically focused as standing-based work, employees shouldn’t quit right away, even if they experience a bit of muscle fatigue and soreness when the shift is over.  In the same way it takes time to get used to a new computer mouse, it can also take a few days or even a few weeks to fully adjust to working at a height-adjustable desk.  One shouldn’t feel pressured to spend hours and hours in a standing position.  For the first few days, try standing for a half-hour at most, before sitting back down.  Then, increase the duration when you feel ready to do so.  The idea should be to implement a proper trial run of the height-adjustable desk, before jumping to conclusions and giving up prematurely.

#3) Reduced Comfort

If you’ve ever been to a music concert, you know it’s going to involve standing in line, and enduring a standing position for the opening bands, and the eventual main act, before making it back to your vehicle.  In total, you could find yourself standing anywhere from 3-5 hours.  That’s a lot of standing, and it’s going to do a serious number on your muscles and joints.  When working at a height-adjustable desk, you shouldn’t be expected to stand for that long, but it pays to be comfortable.  Many employees complain of initial and enduring discomfort during these periods, so it’s important to invest in a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes,  laying down an anti-fatigue mat, or adding a riser to prop up one foot at a time and shift your weight to alleviate stress on each leg.  These options can be combined with good old fashioned commitment, which will reduce strain over time, build your stamina, and allow you to achieve that healthy balance between standing and sitting.

#4) Distraction

Height-adjustable desks come in many forms, from hand-crank models to pneumatic setups.  It’s important to choose the right kind of desk for your workplace in order to limit distractions for both the person using the desk, and other employees within the workspace.  Pneumatic and electric height-adjustable desks tend to be the quietest and quickest, allowing the user to go from sitting to standing in a fraction of the time required for a hand-crank model, with far less noise distraction for others.  It also reduces the chance of the user’s concentration being negatively affected, allowing them to get back to their task and maintain their productivity.  As the focus on health-related employee benefits increases, so too will innovation in future height-adjustable desk models. 

Humans are driven largely by a desire for comfort and pleasure, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of our health.  The new trend towards employee health and well being is a wonderful one, but it requires the right balance to implement effectively.  fluidconcepts offers a vast assortment of height-adjustable desks that are perfect for your workplace.  When combined with the above talking points, you can achieve a successful roll-out for your team. 

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