When it comes to office furniture, one simple fact dominates discussion today. Sitting when you work for long periods is bad for your health. This is no longer a topic for debate. All the evidence is in and it's not so much that the experts have completed their surveys and tests and come up with that conclusion, which they have, but the workers themselves have spoken too. They want their health and wellbeing to be a top priority for their employer. They want flexibility and variety in their work environment. They want the option of different types of office furniture with height adjustable desks being at the front of the queue.
Talk to any physio
People who deal with muscle strain, back injury and other issues will tell you that often a person's posture impacts their health. When asked about their work situation, physiotherapists often hear their patient talking about sitting for long periods of time. To repair those sore bodies, a series of exercises may be required. But if given the choice, the injured worker would prefer prevention over cure any time. Talk to any GP and they will talk about your cardiovascular situation advising that being mobile and able to keep your muscles moving is one of the best ways to keep your heart in fine fettle. Improving your circulation while you work is the perfect win-win situation. People with or at risk of diabetes are urged to exercise sensibly and not to sit for lengthy periods. Your health is looked after and your productivity is at a high level when you have deliberate shifts in your working position. Surely all the above facts must tell your boss something.
Major health benefits of working with adjustable desks
- Overcome tiredness
- Reduce lower back pain
- Keeps your mind alert
- Lowers risk of putting on weight
- Prevents tight hips
A tired worker is an unproductive worker. Avoid tiredness setting in by varying your working positions on a regular basis. An adjustable desk is the perfect piece of equipment to help in this regard.
Lower back pain is a real bugbear for millions of people. Working standing can go a long way to preventing this thorny issue. An adjustable desk enables you to work while standing.
Physical fitness is matched by mental fitness. Feeling drowsy because of lack of movement makes your productivity slip backwards.
Having a healthy weight is always a good thing but standing to work burns far more calories than someone seated for long periods.
Tight hips arise when the muscles in your hips get little activity. Constant sitting is the prime cause. Tight hips can often lead to lower back pain. By working standing at an adjustable desk you give your health the best possible advantage.
Adjustable desks are not new
People have been standing to work for centuries and there many examples of famous people - writers in particular - who stood to scribble. When modern thinking helped change the type of furniture used in offices, the first standing desks were a type of lectern. Then they became more desk-like with space beneath the surface for storage of materials. Then they became adjustable and to be able to adjust the height, some manual dexterity was required.
Today we've stepped into the modern age. Adjustable desks now have remote controls. At the push of a button, you are able to set the height for your desk to suit you. And many a remote can record your preferred heights meaning one push will set the desk to the desired level. It's like a car where there are drivers of a different height. Driver 1 locks in their preferred car seat position and hits button 1. Too easy.
The best adjustable desks are those which can be adjusted quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Having provided your employees with adjustable desks, make it as easy as possible for the staff members to use the equipment.
You do know that an adjustable desk has the added benefit of allowing the worker to sit or stand. To give variety to your work routine, switch your desk to another height and keep on working.
One size fits all
Another top benefit of an adjustable desk is that one size fits all. Your workforce will most likely be of different body shapes and sizes. They can all be accommodated with the same desk. It can be adjusted up or down according to the dimensions of the employee. Have desk, will adjust. It's not as if the company needs to buy tailor-made desks.
Remember the dual aspect of an adjustable desk. You can sit to work at or on it as well as stand. But remember that sitting badly at a desk is a double whammy. You not only need regular breaks you also need an ergonomic chair. An adjustable desk in itself is not the complete answer. When you're sitting to work at that desk, make sure your chair is spot on as far as your health is concerned.
Train your staff
Let's face it, while adjustable desks are far more common today than before, some employees are not so keen to use them. I mean, why break the habits of a lifetime? So here are some suggestions to help you help your employees to learn to love their adjustable desk.
- Get the best desks. Ones which clearly show the height at a glance and a remote which is clever at remembering your employee's preferences will help the desk be more attractive. And the best desks are the ones with the greatest range of heights and which are adjusted with a minimum of sound. You don't want changing the height of desks sounding like feeding time at the zoo.
- Get an app to remind workers when it's time to adjust their desk. This can bring a boost of fun to your workplace. The app has beeped and told me to move. You can even have teams or individuals competing for the best response to desk adjusting.
- Educate the troops. Simply pointing to the adjustable desk and asking the employee to get stuck in is not wise. Some basic training will always help. Even a printed guide with basic How to Operate rules will help the beginners. And once they get the hang of it, the keener they will become and then the real benefits of better health, fun at work and improved productivity will kick in.
- Add an alternative to the adjustable desk. You will have explained the health benefits so why not add that little bit extra. Having an exercise bike and/or a treadmill in the office will add additional fun and health-producing activity. It becomes a company keen to help its employees.
Is good health important?
It's a rhetorical question of course but there are some important side issues here. Thinking that a burst of exercise outside of work, even within a gym, will fix the issues caused by sitting for long periods of time at work is wrong. It's a myth. It's false. Your health risks are made worse by bad positions at work. Research tells us that working for even two and a half hours a day will burn 350 calories. And this is just as important. Your productivity increases by 10% when you are standing to work. Let's face it; our bodies are born to move. Motion is a natural activity and is essential to maintain a good circulation, caring for our spine and avoiding muscle fatigue. There is a huge incentive to keep moving at work and to work in the best possible positions.
Think about this, Owner
In your business over the years, you may hire dozens even hundreds of workers. They will come in different heights. But they all need caring for as far as their health and wellbeing are concerned. One desk could be used by any number of employees. You want two things in the adjustable desks you purchase.
- Good quality, rigid construction
- A wide range of heights ranging between 685 to 1205 mm
Telling your employees when they should use their adjustable desk and at which height may backfire. If you've educated your workers about the benefits of standing at some times during their working day, you'll be encouraging them to take the appropriate action. Ordering them to do so is a waste of time.
Adjustable desks are always getting better. Take the time to see what's new in the world of healthy employees and more productive workers.