Of course, just because a method is better doesn't mean you automatically know how to do it perfectly. While we're still working on the ideal standing desk technique, those who have just begun to stand can and should take a few pointers from the pros who've been using their standing desks for a while now. Whether you're just getting started or looking for a few tricks to improve your technique, here are five of the best pieces of standing desk advice we could find.
The entire point of a standing desk is to enhance office ergonomics, which is not a magic word that means 'efficiency'. Rather, ergonomics means the ideal meeting place between people and the work they do. While the same desk height for everyone may work sitting down (for all but the very tall and very short), we are all different heights when standing so the same standing desk height will not work for everyone. Working at a desk of the wrong height can hurt your back, neck, and shoulders far worse than sitting and it is vitally important that you ensure that your desk positions your keyboard and monitor comfortably for your height and posture, with the desk surface at the same level as your elbow. Don't forget to account for the height of your anti-fatigue mat when adjusting.
Almost everyone used to working with a computer is also used to hunching their shoulders forward to work. However, the best posture for your legs, back, and shoulders requires you to keep your shoulders rolled back and aligned properly with your spine and hips. We don't usually pay attention to our shoulders when we work so you may often find yourself both hunched and aching from standing and working incorrectly. Remember to frequently roll out your shoulders as if you were stretching before a workout and try to keep your shoulders pushed back into 'good posture mode' until you get used to working that way.
Standing to work is great but standing in the same position all day long isn't. The human body was made to walk for hours and hours each day if necessary, and you can relax and shake out almost all of your standing muscles simply by taking a walk around the office about every hour or so to keep from becoming tense and uncomfortable. Don't be shy about swinging your arms and legs around a bit to loosen up. If anyone asks, you've joined the Ministry of Silly Walks.
There's actually a reason that bars have that long metal footrest, and it's not just to park your toes when sitting on a stool. It's easier to stand when you can give one foot at a time a brief reprieve by propping it up on something even if you don't sit down. Look into standing desks with their own footrest bars or DIY one for yourself with a PVC pipe or a small stool. It's also helpful to keep something to sit on nearby like a tall stool or an exercise ball which can double as workout equipment.
Our final note of advice? Don't forget to fidget! Yes, we know your mother, teachers, and perhaps the occasional employer has asked you not to, but when you're at a standing desk, it helps to move around from time to time even if you don't take a walk. Constant minor activity will prevent you from locking your knees, which can be damaging, or letting your muscles get stiff from holding still. With all that space your chair isn't taking up, you can also bust out a few workout reps like squats, calf-lifts, and even a little light weightlifting at your desk while you check your emails or read a report.
Standing desks are one of the best things that have ever happened to the modern office, and by implementing them, employers are doing their part to promote employee health. If you have recently been assigned to a standing desk or volunteered to be one of the first in your office, congratulations! No all you need is to build up your good-posture muscles and learn to work-stand like a pro.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos