The health consequences of sedentary behavior, including working while seated for prolonged periods, are well known and devastating.
People who spend most of their days sitting have a higher risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and premature death.
Of course, it hasn’t helped that a lot of the work done in offices today requires people to be sitting and hunched over their laptops or PCs.
This runs contrary to how the human body has been designed to be in motion, and not stuck in one place, doing monotonous work. Prolonged sitting affects posture and is harmful to the spine.
Hence, it is important to consciously integrate movement into your office work routine so as not to reap the harmful effects of sedentary lifestyles.
Aside from standing and moving every once in a while to get away from your desk, there are office furniture trends designed to encourage movement.
Height-adjustable desks are now a popular fixture in the modern office. They make the transition from sitting to standing completely effortless.
These occasional shifts in the body’s position and posture are not only essential for efficient blood circulation but also for keeping the mind alert.
We've listed the top seven health benefits of height adjustable desks below. After reading these you'll wonder how you ever worked without one.
1. A reduction in back pain
Backaches and pain are common complaints among office workers. Lower back pain, is related to stress – both physical and psychological.
Studies have shown that employees suffering from chronic back pain benefit greatly from standing desks. Another study published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that standing desks can reduce upper back and neck pain by as much as 54 percent in just a matter of four weeks.
Of course, the reverse is also true. Once standing desks are removed, the benefits gained from flexible or height-adjustable desks can be reversed in just two weeks by going back to extended sitting.
2. Height-adjustable desks improve well-being
In one seven-week study, users of height-adjustable desks were said to have experienced less stress and fatigue compared to those who worked seated every day.
Moreover, 87 percent of those who were asked to use standing desks said they felt more energetic overall.
Conversely, when they were asked to go back to their old work desks, their moods dropped, returning to the levels they felt prior to the study.
The results of this research confirm the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and a higher risk of suffering from depression and anxiety.
3. Adjustable desks increase productivity levels
For those who are unfamiliar with using height-adjustable desks, one primary concern is that they can negatively impact a person’s ability to perform routine tasks such as typing.
However, for those who have successfully transitioned from working seated full time to using height-adjustable desks, there has been no significant impact on their ability to perform the same tasks, including typing speed.
Moreover, because of the mood-boosting effects of standing desks on users, it is fairly certain that they boost productivity.
4. Preventing unhealthy weight gain
If you’ve ever envisioned a couch potato then you know exactly what this means. Staying seated all day, no matter how busy the mind and typing fingers are, doesn't do the body any favors with regard to calorie burning.
Sitting may burn between 60 and 102 calories per hour (these figures, of course, depend on your weight), while standing will burn roughly seven to 10 calories more.
The small difference in caloric burn may not seem significant. However, the difference can add up if you consider how it accumulates over a week, month or year.
5. Height-adjustable desks lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders
This concept is nothing new since it was proposed as far back as 1953. In a study comparing bus conductors with bus drivers, it was found that the conductors had half the risk of dying from heart disease-related causes as their sedentary counterparts manning the wheels.
It was this study that sparked scientific interest in the effects of sitting on cardiovascular health.
It is now believed that prolonged sitting can increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease by as much as 147 percent. The harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle are so destructive that not even an hour of intense exercise can completely offset them.
6. They likely help reduce blood sugar levels
Any increase in blood sugar after meals is generally bad for health. This is especially true if you suffer from type II diabetes.
However, in one study of office employees who worked while standing for three hours after lunch, the blood sugar increase was reduced by 43 percent compared to when they remained seated for the same amount of time.
In another study, it was shown that standing and sitting alternately every 30 minutes during an entire workday helped reduce blood sugar spikes by around 11 percent.
Remaining seated after a meal, meanwhile, is known to increase the risk of developing type II diabetes by as much as 112 percent.
7. Standing while working can add years to your life
As mentioned earlier, there is a strong link between early death, type II diabetes, heart disease, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Conversely, more movement increases a person’s chances of not only losing weight but also improving health overall. In fact, one study showed that by simply decreasing sitting time to only three hours per day, the life expectancy of the average American can increase by two years.
Although more studies need to be done to conclusively establish cause and effect between more movement and longer lifespans, past studies and currently available evidence show that simply standing more can help improve health in general.
Height-adjustable health benefits are hard to ignore
Just like any form of physical activity, suddenly switching from sitting all day to standing all day is not advisable.
If you do this, you run the risk of suffering from leg, back, neck, or foot pain. What you need to do is to gradually ease yourself into it by starting with 30 to 60 minutes of standing per day, and slowly increasing it.
To ensure you don’t stand too much all at once, use an alarm to remind you when you need to switch from standing to sitting and vice versa.
You also need to find out for yourself what tasks you are able to perform more efficiently while standing vs being seated. This way, you can use a height-adjustable or standing desk optimally for performing daily assignments.
Introducing height-adjustable or standing desks in the workplace should be treated as a way of providing employees another flexible desk seating alternative.
Additionally, to benefit employees who use them, the desks need to be adjusted to suit each user’s height and physical requirements.
Users also need to observe the following to ensure they benefit from this new physical work arrangement:
- They must maintain an upright posture.
- Their upper arms should ideally hang vertically downwards.
- There should be a right angle between the upper and lower arm.
- The head and eye tilt should be equal to about 30 to 35 degrees.
Zenbooth's height adjustable desk benefits
If you’re looking to add office furniture that will boost worker productivity through the provision of a quiet environment, Zenbooth meeting pods are an excellent option. Our products come in sizes that fit 1-6 people. Modular conference rooms like the ones below add a meeting area otherwise not found in open offices.
They're perfect for agile office environments where the layout is designed to suit different team needs.
They not only help workers focus on their tasks, but they also feature height-adjustable desks in the single and double-size models.
Are you planning adding modular offices to your workspace and have questions about our Zenbooths? All you need to do is to give us a call. We’ll be happy to help make your floor plan as comfortable and productive as possible.
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