We have all heard of the health implications caused by long sitting hours. For one, sedentary lifestyles can lead to heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, back pain, and lethargy.
From an evolutionary perspective, mankind was never supposed to sit for long hours at a time as we do in most office spaces. The average office worker sits between 35-40 hours a week, which is more than 35% of our waking time in that period.
These figures should be alarming, since studies suggest a 3:1 standing to sitting ratio, meaning for every hour spent seated 3 more hours should be spent standing up.
In terms of results-driven agendas, businesses suffer from compromised productivity due to the health implications leading to lower energy levels.
So, what can be done about it?
Two of the most prominent solutions are standing desks and ergonomic chairs. What are they and which is better?
What is a standing desk?
As the name already suggests, a standing desk is a desk built tall enough, so people have to stand up when using it.
The design aims to reduce sitting times in office spaces. This, in turn, could have the potential to combat the health implications associated with sedentary work setups.
Some models are non-adjustable, which might prove to be problematic for people of below-average height. Luckily, there is a variety of adjustable models, manual or electrical, that can transition from sitting to a standing desk for all heights.
All of this does sound quite promising, but standing desks are usually quite pricey, especially the adjustable ones.
It is important to note that cheaper options usually come with a weight limit, which can cause difficulties for heavy electronics.
How can it improve health and business?
Essentially, an adjustable standing desk can make a huge change in the health benefits of office workers.
Simply by reducing the amount of sitting time within a day, “sitting diseases” like heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and lethargy can be effectively eliminated.
In terms of productivity, however, standing desks might achieve the opposite. Sure, standing as opposed to sitting is better for the brain in the long term. The same thing applies to working out in between work– this can jog our creativity and inspired thinking.
But if workers spend 20 years sitting at their desks and fully switch to standing all day, they will struggle with tiredness and fatigue.
What is an ergonomic chair?
The exact opposite to a standing desk is an ergonomic chair, which is an office chair designed to force proper positioning–both feet flat on the ground, neck straight and hips parallel to the knees.
Good posture ensures relief on pressure points like hips. This, specifically, is much more agreeable with female workers and supports all kinds of shoe-wear too. As such, ergonomic chairs provide more comfort than standing desks.
As a result, the issue of productivity when people get too tired from standing up all day is solved.
What is more, ergonomic chairs are usually less expensive than standing desks, which is always a good office bonus.
How can it improve health and business?
At the end of the day, ergonomic chairs do not solve the problem of sitting down too much. The key benefit to this is what all mothers wish–perfect posture.
Standing up all day might reduce productivity. This is why it is important to slowly transition into the 3:1 standing to sitting ratio. (Make this a hyperlink to the second article)
This is why the ergonomic chair complements the standing desk. If workers are to transition to standing desks, the right posture is crucial: both feet need to be flat on the ground, hips in a straight line with your knees, and proper footwear is required.
The ergonomic chair ensures comfort, posture, and therefore reduces tiredness which enables improved efficiency and productivity.
Ultimately, both standing desks and ergonomic chairs help out enormously with the health and productivity of a business and its workers.
Whereas the standing desk reduces the health risks associated with long sitting hours, ergonomic chairs provide more comfort and proper posture which ensure long-term back pain prevention.
If the budget allows, a business would benefit from both solutions. That way, workers have the choice to alternate and get the best of both worlds.