This post will not attempt to address the health benefits of standing over sitting for extended periods of time during the workday…that topic is discussed at length elsewhere, and it’s now a foregone conclusion that the benefits are real. We’re going to proceed from the assumption that you’ve already decided that you are going to incorporate standing for some period of time into your office or home work space.
There are now literally hundreds (or maybe thousands) of products that allow you to stand and/or sit while working, but as you might expect each of those solutions has distinct advantages and disadvantages. We will try to give you a general overview of the pros and cons of different sit/stand solutions.
The two primary broad categories of sit/stand products are desktop conversion units that sit on top of your current desk and allow you sit and/or stand by adjusting the height of the converter unit. The other category is full surface height adjustable (or fixed height) desking, in which case the entire worksurface raises or lowers as needed.
Desktop Conversion Sit/Stand Products:
RA Products Hover Helium Pictured Above
The best known type of desktop conversion products are made by Varidesk, and have received a lot of exposure due to extensive advertising on television and print media. Varidesk products are only available directly from Varidesk (they don’t have a dealer network) but several other vendors have adapted and improved on the Varidesk concept and design. This YouTube Video compares the Victor Model DC350 to the Varidesk Pro and points out some significant shortcomings of the Varidesk products.
- Desktop conversion sit/stand products obviously sit on top of existing work surfaces and therefore do not require the purchase of new desking, therefore the cost is typically less than full surface sit/stand products.
- Easier to relocate if personnel moves or relocates offices.
- Loss of usable work surface. Desktop conversion sit/stand products typically take a significant amount of desk surface, rendering that space unusable for non-computer type work. Also, some users (including the author of this post), prefer to sit while working on their computer and stand to do other type work, such as paperwork, reading, talking on the phone, etc. and in this scenario a desktop conversion unit is totally counterproductive
- Depending on the brand / style of desktop conversion unit the viewing angle can change from a sitting to a standing position and unless the monitor height can be adjusted independently of the keyboard surface, an awkward viewing angle can result.
- Keyboard and mousing angle can be uncomfortable and lead to neck/back/wrist strain over prolonged use.
Desktop conversion sit/stand products can be a workable solution if you want to have the ability to work at your computer while standing, but you will sacrifice a lot of surface space. If you prefer to do tasks other than computing while standing, these units are not for you.
Full Surface Sit/Stand Products:
Adjustable Height Desks:
As the name implies, with adjustable full surface sit/stand solutions the entire worksurface raises and lowers as needed. The method of raising and lowering the desk surface can vary, as can the weight capacity. There are electronic motorized products, manual crank, and gas assist lift products. The obvious advantage of motorized units is that the surface raises and lowers with the push of a button and some offer programmable height settings, which is actually a very useful feature. I have my sit/stand desk set with three settings: sitting, for use with a stool and full standing and I frequently switch from one to the other.
Motorized Sit/Stand Desk Pictured Above
Styles / Colors / Options:
Adjustable sit/stand desks are available in a wide variety of styles from traditional to contemporary with numerous top and base color options. It is sometimes possible to remove a top surface from existing furniture and place it on an adjustable sit/stand base.
Size / Weight Capacity:
Overall surface size is a very important consideration when purchasing a sit/stand desk. Obviously available space may dictate your choice, but you should also consider what tasks you will be doing at the desk. The most common stock sizes are: 24? x 60?, 24? x 72?, 30? x 60?, 30? x 66?, and 30? x 72? (for reference, standard office desk surfaces are 30? deep while credenzas are 24? deep).
If your primary use will be computing while standing, then a 24? deep surface will probably be adequate. If you plan on using it as your primary worksurface and will be doing other tasks, then a 30? deep surface will be preferable. Regarding desk width, again available space may limit your choices but you’ll need to consider what tasks and desk accessories will be needed. My personal preference is 66? wide, but another size may be workable for your situation, keeping in mind though, that slightly larger than needed is better than not having enough worksurface.
Fixed Height Standing Desks:
Fixed height full surface desks are available and are relatively inexpensive, but they are not truly sit/stand products as they can only be used while standing. It may be possible to incorporate a fixed height standing desk into your work space as an addition to a traditional desk, depending on your office size and furniture configuration. The primary issue we see with fixed height desks is simply the fact that the surface height is fixed, and people come in varying heights. For example, a standard 42? height surface may not work for the user who is either shorter or taller than “average”. I’m 6’0? tall and the ideal working surface height that I prefer is 45? from the floor, and I’ve discovered that part of that preference has to do with the distance at which my eyes focus best on papers I have spread out on my desk.
- Full surface height adjustable units allow a variety of tasks to be performed while standing, as opposed to desktop converter units which are only suited to computing while standing.
- Accessories, such as adjustable monitor mounts and keyboard trays can be used with full surface sit/stand desking.
- Generally speaking, a more ergonomic workspace can be achieved with full surface sit/stand products.
- Typically more expensive than desktop converter units.
- Take more floor space.
- Style may not match existing furniture.
Sit/Stand Stools and Accessories:
A stool and/or footrest can make a huge difference in the amount of time that you are physically comfortable while standing. Traditional “drafting” type stools are sometimes used with a standing desk for a place to sit occassionally, but obviously they negate the benefits of standing. A new breed of stool has become popular over the past few years and they are designed to be used while standing up. Some are called “wobble stools” and have a rounded bottom or moveable shaft that allows the user to move their core while leaning against it.
Another popular accessory for sit/stand applications is a footrest with allows users to maximize the health benefits of using a standing desk.
Pricing / Request a Quote:
There are numerous different models and options available on products mentioned in this presentation, in addition quantity discounts may be available on multiple unit purchases as well as freight allowances depending on order size. Rather than attempting to present all options / variables in a a price sheet, we request that you contact us for a quote request.
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