If you’re considering making your workday healthier with a standing desk, you’re not alone. A growing number of people and companies are choosing to buy standing desks in order to upgrade or replace their traditional desks, and that means an explosion in the number of products consumers have to choose from. To make your search a little less daunting, here are a few things to consider when looking to buy a standing desk.
Standing desks are nothing new–Ben Franklin and Ernest Hemingway both used one–but the main reason for the increasing popularity of standing desks is the mountain of scientific evidence showing that a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to our health. Sitting and inactivity negatively affect our physical, mental and emotional health, as well as our productivity. In fact, The Mayo Clinic coined the term “sitting disease” to describe the laundry list of ailments that studies have associated with excessive sitting. The most common and costly chronic illnesses of our time are on that list, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, back pain, cancer and depression. The research also suggests that simple interventions like standing desks are effective in breaking up sitting time, increasing daily movement, and even improving work performance and productivity. *
Movement is the Key
Considering the bad press that sitting has been getting lately, it’s understandable that some might think the answer is to get rid of their chair altogether and stand up all day. However, too much standing comes with its own set of problems. A healthy balance between sitting, standing and movement is the best approach to creating a more active workday. The human body is designed to move, so a height-adjustable, sit-stand desk is the healthiest solution because it gives you the freedom to change positions and incorporate regular movement throughout your workday.*
Consider your Workspace
The landscape of the modern workplace varies widely; cubicles, open benching, co-working spaces, traditional offices, kitchen tables and neighborhood cafes are all part of the mix, so it’s important to get a sit-stand solution that fits your situation and work style.
- Measure your work area and decide what kind of footprint your space can handle.
- Decide whether you want something to sit on top of the desk or table you already have, or if you want to replace it with a full-size sit-stand desk.
- Consider whether you need a solution that’s lightweight, flexible, and mobile.
- Finally, think about your setup–do you work on a simple laptop or do you need enough work surface for multiple monitors and extra hardware?
Getting Down to the Details
Once you’re ready to start comparing specific models, there are some details and practical matters to consider.
Height Adjustment: Manual or Electric Standing Desk?
- Desks that adjust manually can change positions quickly and quietly. They are affordable and can be used anywhere, regardless of power outlet locations. Choose one that allows you to raise and lower the desk easily with minimum effort or strain.
- Electric standing desks offer continuous height adjustment options and require no physical effort to adjust.
- It makes sense to look for an affordable standing desk, but keep in mind that you’re making an investment in something you’ll use every day of the week for years to come. Try to find one that’s a good balance of quality, value, and functionality. You want a sturdy, well-made product, but there’s no need to spend thousands on a full-size, high-tech solution if a simpler, more affordable standing desk will do.
- In some cases, buying multiple desks will get you a bulk order discount that can save you a significant amount of money. If possible, consider purchasing for the whole office at once instead of one desk at a time.
- Once you’ve decided on the size, type and price range you’re looking for, it’s time to narrow it down to a specific model that meets your needs, and that’s where standing desk reviews come in handy. Other standing desk users can help you find the brands that score high on quality, value, user experience and customer service.
- Consider the quantity as well as the quality of reviews. Simply put, the best standing desk will likely boast thousands of five-star reviews instead of just three or four.
- Check out reviews in multiple places – start with the retailer’s website, then go to any second-party retail sites like Amazon.com, and then search for professional reviews in online magazines, blogs, etc.
Choose a Brand You Can Trust
- When you read reviews you’ll obviously want to know how well the desk works and that other people enjoy using it, but also pay close attention to what consumers are saying about the customer service experience, the return policy, the shipping time, and any other interaction they’ve had with the company. You only want to buy from a company that stands behind their products and values their relationship with their customers.
- Read the fine print. Before you purchase your standing desk, read the warranty information, shipping terms and return policy on the company’s website.
Consider the Whole Package
- For most standing desk users, the desk itself is only the first step in creating an active workspace and a happier, healthier workday. Add-ons like anti-fatigue mats, monitor arms, active seating, and lighting are considered essential accessories.
- If you want a top-to-bottom active office setup, you might want to consider going with a company that offers other accessories so you can purchase everything at once. That way you’ll know that all the pieces will work well together and that every product will be backed by the same warranty and customer service promise.
Making it Happen
When you’ve found the best standing desk and you’re ready to buy, who foots the bill? The answer depends on your work situation, your company’s policy, and possibly even your wellness plan options.
- If you’re making the choice to purchase a standing desk with your own money, check with your boss first to see if they might be willing to reimburse you for a part of the expense. Who knows, they might decide to take advantage of your in-depth research and purchase desks for the whole office–including you.
- Another way to encourage your employer to help you pay for a standing desk is to approach your manager or HR director with information about the many health and productivity advantages of creating a more active office.
- If you have back pain or other physical ailments, your doctor may be willing to write a note stating that a sit-stand desk is a medical necessity. Such documentation can make a big difference if your boss needs more convincing or if HR needs something for their records to justify the expense.
- Many benefit packages and wellness plans now consider standing desks to be eligible expenses and may even offer standing desks as prizes when employees accrue participation points in the plan. Check with your HR director or plan administrator about what your benefits plan allows.
Hopefully, this guide will help to simplify the process of finding the best standing desk solution for you. If you end up buying one from VARI, we’d love to hear from you and get your feedback on our products, your purchasing experience, our customer service performance and anything else you’d like to share. As a company, we strive to create fans for life and we consider VARI customers our best resource in achieving that goal.
*Research sources cited here.