There is a lot of hype at the moment about the concept of stand-up desks. Now stand-up desks are not a new concept. The idea has been around as long as I have been doing ergonomic assessments (quite a while!). However, it seems that more and more people are spending their entire day at in front of a computer and the work day itself has become longer. There has been a strengthening in the research base indicating that prolonged sitting has harmful effects. Unsurprisingly, there has been strong interest in the concept of standing while working, in particular while using a computer. In this blog, Gina Trapani converts to a working in a standing position and gives some ideas on how it can be achieved cheaply. I note that she says she endured some pain on the conversion.
A quick search of the net will reveal a range of people professing that a standing work station has revolutionised their life. There are a range of stand up work stations available. One reasonably priced version is the Frederik Stand-Up Work Station. For $149 you can have a standing desk set-up.
Standing-Up All Day
Is continuous standing a good thing? In a word I would say, no. In general, standing is probably better as your body is ever so slightly more active, you would usually have a better posture, maintatining the natural curves in your spine rather than the tendancy to hunch that may occur in sitting, however, standing can introduce its own problems. Sore feet and legs can lead to a tendancy to rest the weight on one side, exentuating any scoliosis that may exist. If there are problems with hips, knees or ankles these may be aggravated by prolonged standing.
So Is Standing Bad?
In my experience, bodies love movement. I think assessments of workstations can focus too much on the single ideal position. In fact, even if you are in a great ergonomic position for 8 hours per day, you can still suffer some aches and pains for maintaining that one position over such a long period. So, although reseach indicates that standing is generally better than sitting, I would recommend that people change position frequently. I believe bodies usually provide pretty good feedback on when to adjust although in some situations you may want to encourage a posture that doesn’t feel natural for the worker at first.
Sit Stand Work Stations
So I love the idea of sit stand workstations. I have to mention a particular product in this area. The Workfit-s from Ergotron. This is not an ad, as RehabHub has no connection to Ergotron. This product looks great. It provides the ability for the worker to move from a sitting to a standing position and back again quickly and easily. the workstation itself moves up and down. Fantastic! A worker can use their their own body cues to decide when to sit and when to stand. Have a look at this video to give you an idea of how it works (and a bit of a laugh as well).
So Would I recommend a Sit Stand Work Station?
In the right situation I would. It would depend on the worker’s needs, their injury, the job and all the things that need to be considered as part of any workplace assessment. I also think that, given the highly adjustable nature of the workstation, the worker would also require some top notch education on how to adjust their workstation and the implications for them, of different positions.
Have a look on the Ergotron website, Just Stand.Org. They have a range of workers “breaking up” with their office chairs. It will give you a good laugh.
Another Final Word
This just my opinion. I would love to hear yours. Please comment on the form below. If you would like to be notified of new RehabHub posts, please leave your email address in the form on the right hand side.
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