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Sep

Benefits of Using Sit-Stand Desks

Posted by Thomas Faulker - Health and Safety Adviser

Loved by some and dismissed as a passing trend by others, standing desks and sit-stand desks are both becoming common sights in offices. While some people are still sceptical about their use, there are plenty of benefits to be gained by transitioning from a traditional workstation to using an ergonomic sit-stand desk and workstation. 

Reducing Back Pain 

Lower back pain is probably one of the most common issues affecting sedentary workers. In order to address this issue, a number of studies have been conducted on the use of standing desks and whether their use could offer a solution to the problem.

 A 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that those who took part experienced a 32% improvement in lower back pain following several weeks of using a sit-standing desk rather than a fixed height one. The same study also concluded that by transitioning from working sat down to standing, participants reported a significant reduction in their levels of fatigue too. While the results speak for themselves, it is important to note that transitioning to a standing desk should be done gradually, otherwise it could put unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles and the important aspect is that keeping mobile and changing postures is the key message .   

Boosting Energy and Productivity

Spending extended periods of time sat down can often lead to a drop in energy levels, with most office workers feeling sluggish by the afternoon. By switching to a sit-stand desk, users can change position when they begin to feel like their energy levels are dropping, as standing up naturally offers a boost of energy.

Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day also has a positive effect on circulation. By promoting good circulation, using a standing desk can also improve productivity and concentration, resulting from the improved blood flow and static tension in muscles and connective tissues that can increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDS.

Improving Posture

Using a sit-stand desk can also benefit employees by helping them improve their posture when used correctly. Following Display Screen Equipment (DSE) guidance, a standing workstation will allow employees to carry out their work without them hunching over, slouching, or adopting a poor posture . Using a sit-stand desk is ideal for improving posture. By alternating between sitting and standing, users who have been properly trained can always assume the correct posture, switching positions when this becomes uncomfortable for them. As a result of this, users will avoid either slouching when using the desk standing up, or hunching over their workstation when sitting down and potentially developing unwanted MSDs. 

Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

Although it is normal for blood sugar levels to fluctuate during the day, they can lead to a general sense of poor wellbeing and even cause more serious issues if not kept in check. Thankfully, using a sit-stand desk can help offset such spikes in blood sugar, One 2013 study found that office workers who stood up for over an hour following their lunch break had much lower blood sugar levels than those who returned to their sitting desks after finishing their meals.

To find out more about sit-stand desks, and how to use them correctly, contact us today or sign up to our IOSH Approved Display Screen Equipment Training course and Workstation Assessment Tool WA+.

Author

Thomas Faulker - Health and Safety Adviser

Thomas has been working within a safety role since 2013 and is based at our Head office in Suffolk servicing clients in the South East. He has recently graduated from a Masters in Safety, Health and Environment at the University of Salford and is about to embark on a PhD in Organisational Health and Well-being at Lancaster University.

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