Standing desks are currently the rage and rightly so! After all, the advantages of standing at the workstation cannot be emphasized enough. Increased productivity, better work collaboration, and good health are just some of the benefits that come with the usage of standing desks.
While you know the health benefits of standing desks, did you know that improper use of a standing desk can aggravate your health issues? Although it is not rocket science, there is still a method and way to use a standing desk for using it wrongly can set you up for many health conditions.
Also, if at the end of the day, you’re not comfortable when using your standing desk, it makes little sense to use one, right?
Therefore, you need to know how to make optimal use of it. Avoiding the common pitfalls when using a standing desk will help get you the most out of it.
Here are the common mistakes you should avoid when using a standing desk and how to rectify them.
1. You have set your desk too high or too low
You read the review and went ahead and bought a standing desk. But after a few days, you start getting body pains. You then start wondering whether it was a wrong decision to buy a standing desk.
Hold on, the problem may not be in the desk but at the height in which you have set it.
Where most people go wrong is setting their desk either too high or too low that causes a lot of posture problems later on. For your desk to be ergonomically effective, you have to position it at an appropriate height. Correct computer position and desk height are crucial for improving comfort and ensuring you work comfortably.
So, how do you know which height is ergonomically right for you?
While the height of the desk can differ from person to person depending on the person’s height, to begin with, you can set your desk at a level where your elbows are placed at a 90-degree angle. This way you do not put any undue strain on your neck and hand muscles.
As for your monitor, place it slightly below your eye level. For minimum strain on your eyes, maintain a distance of at least 20-28 inches from the screen.
2. You’re not using an anti-fatigue mat
If you find your feet aching after standing for long periods at your desk, you can add a cushion on the floor or wear a pair of comfortable shoes. But these will not be as effective as an anti-fatigue mat.
Using the right anti-fatigue mat will ease the discomfort caused by standing for long periods and make you feel more energetic. Thus, you can work for longer without feeling tired.
Standing still in one place can put pressure on the legs, shoulders, and neck leading to increased muscle aches and joint pains. Anti-fatigue mats are designed in such a way that the users will be constantly changing their feet rather than standing still in one position. These micro-movements in the leg and calf muscles are sufficient enough to improve circulation in the legs thus reducing any pressure on the muscles or joints that cause pain.
Frequently changing your standing position will also reduce tension in the shoulders and neck and take the pressure off your back.
When choosing an anti-fatigue mat lookout for the following:
- The mat should be made of shock-absorbent material.
- The mat should not slip, or create a trip hazard.
- The mat should have sloped edges (less of a trip hazard).
3. You’re standing with poor posture
Though posture is an important component of our health, we pay little attention to it. Good posture is always essential, whether you're sitting or standing. Poor postures like hunching over your desk or leaning to one side can cause discomfort and increase your chances of getting back and neck pain.
Here are a few tips to improve your posture at work:
- Do not slouch on your desk; instead, stand with your head held back and your spine in a straight position.
- Choose a good ergonomic chair that provides you with proper pelvic support.
- Keep your monitor at a height that is level with your eyes and position it at a minimum distance of 20-28 inches.
If you are finding it difficult to stick to a good posture routine, begin by setting reminders to yourself. These reminders will pull you up every time you begin to slouch. By actively working on your posture, you’ll begin to realize its benefits—not only will your body perform optimally, but you'll feel much better too!
4. You’re standing for too long
While standing at your desk all day may feel like a healthy alternative to sitting, failing to alternate between the two is just as bad as sitting all day. Standing for prolonged periods at your desk can easily burn you out and might cause you to discontinue the use of the desk altogether.
If standing at your desk is causing you any muscle soreness or stiffness, it means you have stood for too long.
Your body is your best teacher; it will tell you when you need to take a break from standing. Listen to your body and when you feel tired or sore, sit down for a while.
An ideal workday should comprise a mix of sitting and standing. Alternating between the two is the best bet.
It might seem like a small thing but switching to a standing desk is a huge change for your body than you realize. Therefore, give your body time to adjust.
5. You’re not taking enough breaks
Working continuously for hours at a stretch saps your productivity. Thus, whether you’re working at a standing desk or otherwise, you need frequent breaks to recharge your mind and body.
Studies show that microbreaks reduce stress, improve concentration, and can even help you avoid workplace injuries. They are essential as they not only rejuvenate you but also give a break to your tired muscles—the finger muscles if you do a lot of typing or your back muscles if you’re standing in a fixed position for a long time.
For office workers, micro-breaks that are less than two minutes are perfect to recharge and get their mojo back. Within this break period, you can stretch, move around, chat with your colleagues, or do a different work-related task.
Some suggestions for micro-breaks:
- Watch a funny video or scroll through your social feed – Although it might seem contradictory, studies say by focusing on something distracting such as watching a video or scrolling through your social media feeds, you can actually reboot your brain.
- Do some relaxing exercises – Practice a few breathing techniques during your breaks to reduce workplace stress.
- Get some fresh air – Spending even a few moments outside and breathing in the fresh can boost your productivity levels.
- Drink more water – Dehydration causes fatigue and increases stress levels. So be sure to include a visit to the water cooler during your micro-breaks.
As important as it is to transition to an ergonomic workstation, it is also crucial to avoid making the mistakes mentioned above. By maintaining the right posture, setting the desk at the right height, and dividing time between sitting and standing, you can make the most out of your standing desk. As a result, you can boost your productivity and overall satisfaction at work.
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