How to choose the right standing desk

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Ergotron WorkFit

After reading the mountain of evidence that shows how terrible prolonged sitting is for your health, you’ve officially jumped on the standing desk bandwagon. So now what? There are dozens of different standing desks on the market. We developed this guide to choosing the right one for your unique situation. It breaks out the most important questions to ask yourself before investing in any sit-stand desk.

Adjustability
Questions to consider:
1-Do you want a desk that adjusts to both sitting and standing positions?
We follow the rule of “everything in moderation,” and encourage people to sit and stand during the day. After about 30 minutes seated, switch to standing for 30 minutes, and so on. If you choose a fixed-height standing desk, though, it may be difficult to switch it up while remaining at your workstation. An extra-tall stool or chair is necessary.

2-Is the desk easy to adjust up and down?
Choose the right solution for you: A powered standing desk with an electric motor can move a lot of weight on the desktop, whereas a standing desk with manual adjustment can move more quickly, meaning you’ll be better inclined to change your position as you desire. Check that the design doesn’t include a ton of cranks, buttons or locks that can slow you down. Or sharp, exposed mechanics that could pinch fingers.

3-Will you share the desk with multiple people?
If your office uses a hot-desk system or runs multiple shifts necessitating shared workspaces, it’s essential to have a height-adjustable desk with a broad range of adjustment points from low to high. That way, a person who is 6’1” can use the same desk as a person who is 5 feet. (Use this ergonomic assessment tool to check the fitness of your workstation.)

Look and Feel
Questions to consider:
1-Do you want to convert a traditional desk to a standing desk?
When you don’t want to buy a full standing workstation, or completely rearrange your space, consider an attachment that goes on top of an existing desk. An adjustable add-on unit is flexible and portable, so you can move it from desk to desk, or office to office. If you invest in one yourself, you can even move it from job to job.

2-How large of a desk do you want?
Do you like to spread out when you work, or are you more of a minimalist with little extra stuff? Standing desks come in all sizes and shapes, so pick the one that best fits you, your equipment, workflow, and space.

3-What kind of environment do you work in?
If you work in an office, you’ll probably prefer your desk to have a sleek, professional look that matches your décor. If you work in a lab or industrial environment, you’ll probably need something more rugged that holds more weight.

4-Do you need your desk to be mobile?
If your work environment tends to move around often, or you need to frequently access cords and cables in the back of your desk, think about investing in a desk with casters, to make movement quick and painless.

Cost
Questions to consider:
1-What’s your budget?
2-What level of quality do you expect?
3-Does the desk come with a warranty? If so, how long is it?

Of course, some standing desks are less expensive than others, but don’t be too quick to choose the low-cost option. When you invest in a standing desk, you’re investing in your health and well-being. Consider the level of quality you’re looking for, and how long you want the desk to last. Also, a robust warranty and service package are nice to have in your back pocket, in case an issue comes up.

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Got a case of “text neck”? Heads up!

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Have you been using a smartphone or tablet more often, instead of a desktop computer? Working on the go may lead to certain types of injuries due to a mismatch between mobile technology and our interface with it.

Case in point: Text messaging has been common for years and initially medical clinicians saw an uptick in repetitive strain injuries of the hand. Pain related to handheld devices was amusingly named “BlackBerry thumb” or “teen texting tendinitis.” But it was no joke. Patients suffered weakness, throbbing, and “popping” from inflamed muscles and tendons of the thumb and wrist, requiring cortisone injections or even surgery. We quickly learned to lighten up, write short, and take breaks.

Now there’s a new scourge associated with the use of a smartphone, tablet, or other small devices: “Text neck.” Caretakers and physical therapists say patients complain of headaches, muscle strain and pinched nerves. Frequently bending your neck for long periods to look at a device can even lead to spinal degeneration.

Technology usage rates are skyrocketing across the globe, according to Pew Research Center. In addition to texting, other favorite activities include social networking, watching videos, and listening to music/podcasts. In fact, two-thirds of Americans now own mobile devices, spending an average of 3-5 hours a day on them.

The ergonomic remedy?

1.-Use good posture, keeping your head upright. The average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds, which equals the weight of a bowling ball. When you tilt your head forward 60 degrees, the weight your neck must support surges to 60 pounds, about the weight of an 8-year-old child!

2.-Adjust the screen height and angle of your device for optimal viewing. When a desk is available, attach an external keyboard and/or monitor for prolonged use.

3.-Switch up between sitting and standing throughout the day. If it’s not possible to alternate positions, limit leisure screen time, especially if your work is computer-intensive.

To discover more ways to use smart devices safely, download The Ergonomic Equation for Comfortable Computing which explains, in illustrations, the core principles of comfortable computing.

Or for an engaging take on the basics, watch this Ted-Ed video, The Benefits of Good Posture, and learn how to support your body in adapting to the stresses put on it.

Heads up!

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