The American Heart Association reports that sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950. However, movement is vital to the ways our bodies function. Because of that, height adjustable desks and the focus on ergonomics have skyrocketed. From lowering the risk of injury, decreasing stress, and reducing soreness, to increasing productivity and focus, sit/stand desks are a game changer in the office furniture industry.
However, without the proper use, even desks that allow movement and options between sitting and standing can be ineffective. Follow these tips to ensure you are maximizing the benefits of your ergonomic desk.
1. Remember to Stand
According to the Ergonomics Health Association, the body’s metabolism slows down to as much as 90% after approximately 30 minutes of sitting. This is why it is so important to get up and moving.
Standing may seem like an obvious thing to do when you have a sit/stand desk, but many people actually forget when they get caught up in their work! Set reminders for every hour and make sure you utilize the flexibility of your furniture.
2. Work in Increments
Just as you shouldn’t sit all day, standing all day, especially when your body isn’t used to it, can also be harmful. Start by standing for 15 minutes at a time and try to work your way up to a 1:1 ratio of sitting and standing.
In addition to increments, consider buying an anti-fatigue mat to ease the effects of the standing position. These mats support your body weight and are meant to decrease the soreness in your lower body associated with standing for long periods of time.
3. Set the Right Height
When you choose to move your desk to standing height, it is important to watch the placement –meaning don’t keep your desk too high or too low.
Some electronic height adjustable desks have memory built into the control system or give a visual indictor of the height. This makes it easy to find your perfect height and stick to it, but the right height should feel natural and comfortable. Position the desk to a level where you have approximately a 90-degree angle in your elbow and your wrists are straight in the typing position.
4. Correct Your Posture
Up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives according to the American Chiropractic Association. Movement is an important part of health and combats the strain we put on our spine when we sit in awkward positions for long periods of time.
However, even standing isn’t the cure-all if you have poor posture. In order to be truly ergonomic, make sure you keep a neutral spine and a slight bend in your knees. Don’t sit into one hip or arch your back.
To ensure you don’t tilt your head, which also throws your spine out of line, position your monitor a minimum of 20 inches away from your face at eye level or slightly below. This might mean that you need to invest in monitor arms or a product to lift your screen.
5. Change Positions
Our bodies are meant to move! Switch back and forth between sitting and standing, take short walks throughout your building between tasks, or do some quick stretches at your desk!
It’s correct that height adjustable desks are a game changer and can make a positive impact on your health and productivity. But, make sure you use them correctly to maximize the benefits and be truly ergonomic!