Considering investing in a sit-stand desk? In previous posts, we've talked about the dangers of sitting for too many hours in the day. This issue is particularly important to address for those of us who have jobs that keep us desk-bound. Purchasing or creating a non-adjustable standing desk seems like the solution for minimizing the impact of sitting throughout the day but standing all throughout the workday causes a separate set of issues. The key here is flexibility. This is what makes sit-stand desks such a great solution, you get the best of both worlds.
So, what should you keep in mind when purchasing your first sit-stand desk?
You'll want to make sure that the sit-stand desk you're choosing isn't shaking back and forth when extended to the standing height that you need. Not only is this important when you have expensive equipment on your desk but is also an important consideration with everyday, light usage of the desk.
A wobbly sit-stand desk can mean that your wrists and forearms aren't properly supported and it's also distracting. Having a desk that moves around as you're working on it will decrease the productivity benefits that a sit-stand desk should be providing you. That's because it ends up causing you to focus on the constant movement of your desk rather than your work.
You might think a natural solution to this is to purchase a desk with a crossbar underneath and while this does improve otherwise unstable desks, there are plenty of sturdy desks out there that don't have a restrictive crossbar underneath.
Another factor in choosing a desk that is stable is a dual motor desk. This means that there is one motor on each side of the desk that ensures a smooth transition from sitting to standing. The desk goes up at an even height without much issue.
In order to maintain your concentration and workflow, you'll also want a desk that transitions quickly and easily. If it matters to you, you'll also want to consider the amount of sound that the sit-stand desk's motor makes. This is an important consideration for those in a shared workspace or who possibly work-at-home parents of young children.
Your desk should be able to go from sitting to standing in seconds and should be easy for you to do without additional effort. A crank adjustable desk is a great green solution, however, you might become discouraged by the amount of time spent adjusting throughout the day if you're changing your position frequently. A crank solution is best suited to those whose work life isn't primarily desk-bound.
A feature on some height-adjustable standing desks that makes the transition even easier is a programmable handset. Programmable handsets allow you to program your standing height and your sitting height into the desk. All you have to do from there is touch the button once and your desk will automatically stop at the height you need it to.
An important thing to be familiar with before purchasing a sit-stand desk is the proper sitting and standing height for you. You can find out the recommended desk height, monitor position and chair position for you by using our free ergonomic assessment chart. Once you know that, you'll want to make sure that the desk you're considering goes to the heights that you need.
Even with height adjustable desks, there are height ranges that are simply not accounted for in some models. If you are particularly tall or short, look into the minimum and maximum height ranges for the desk you're buying. The good news is that a lot of companies that specialize in these types of desks will have extended height range models for their desk to accommodate this need.
Work Surface Needs
Having a desk that adjusts up and down will usually also mean that you're giving up storage space under your desk. Take into account the space you'll need on your work surface and purchase a desk or desk base that meets this need. It's most important that it fits all the items that you need on a regular basis while working so that you're not interrupting your workflow to fetch them.
Look into the maximum width that your desk base adjusts to so that you know what it can manage to accommodate. If you're using a computer with a tower, you may want to look into purchasing a CPU holder that allows you to mount the tower underneath your desk. This will allow your mind to be at ease when taking into account the length of the cord attaching your computer tower to your computer monitor.
In choosing this solution also be sure to check the weight capacity of your desk. Going over the weight capacity can affect the transition of the desk or even cause damage to the motors.
Your Desk Accessories
Consider the chair you have now, the height you need your desk at and whether or not your chair will meet your ergonomic needs after you purchase your height-adjustable standing desk. Will you be able to position yourself correctly at your new desk with the chair you currently have in order to receive its full benefits? Once you switch to a sit-stand desk, you'll also notice a change in the height of your monitor. It's likely that you'll be lowering your desk height from the standard height that non-adjustable desks are made at. This means that we'll be looking further down at our computer monitor. This is relevant to all computer setups but if you have a tower and monitor, you can simply prop your monitor up on something. Those with laptops will need further adjusting.
The first solution you can look at is purchasing a laptop stand which will raise your laptop monitor to the correct height. You would then pair this solution with an external mouse and keyboard so that you're still typing in a way that isn't going to hurt your wrists, neck or back.
Another solution you could use is an external monitor paired with an external mouse. You can use a monitor that adjusts to the correct height or purchase a monitor arm that attaches to your desk and will adjust it the height and distance you need. Just be sure that your laptop monitor is short enough that you'll still be able to view over it easily to see the other monitor. If you'd like more tips on using your laptop ergonomically, you can view our previous post here.
Ready to start searching for a sit-stand desk that fits you? Our Overture II Height-Adjustable Standing Desk is a great, affordable place to begin.