By now most adults working at corporations, startups, publications, and other computer-intensive desk jobs have at least heard of standing desks (often called sit-stand desks). Once considered an expensive luxury reserved for office workers with special needs or back problems, they’ve taken the corporate world by storm.
Now standing desks are as ubiquitous as the smartphones and laptops and other tools we depend on to do our jobs. Companies are increasingly touting the availability of standing desks as an attractive office perk. Researchers continue to focus on the effects of sitting and standing for prolonged periods as public curiosity grows.
What does this mean for home users? While little data exists on the use of standing desks at home, there are certainly many attractive benefits to incorporating a standing desk for your home office. This article sets out to determine what the benefits of a home office standing desk may be, and what some of the best standing desks for home offices there are available on the market today.
What is a standing desk?
First, for the uninitiated: What exactly is a standing desk, and how does it function in an office or home environment?
In their lowered positions, height adjustable desks look much like other conventional desks, though they are typically supported by two steel legs on either side. The cheapest height adjustable desks must be manually raised and lowered, usually by loosening a valve-like screw and lifting or lowering the surface of the desk.
A manual height adjustable desk may not be a feasible option for those with a lot of desk clutters, or heavy office equipment on the desk. In addition, they are less precise as they must be adjusted by hand every time. However, for those who only need their desk for a laptop and a few documents, a manual height adjustable desk may be a cost effective and sufficient solution.
Depending on your needs, you may not need a height adjustable desk at all. Many workers may benefit simply from using an ergonomic office chair for sitting and using readily available materials, like a pile of books or an inexpensive laptop stand when they wish to stand.
The most popular standing desks by far are those equipped with an electric motor that lifts and lowers the surface of the desk for you. Many of these, like the height adjustable SmartDesk 2 from Autonomous, can be lifted and lowered with the press of a button, and even programmed to remember your custom heights. This ensures you get a sitting and standing elevation uniquely suited to your precise measurements every time.
The rise in popularity of standing desks
So why are standing desks for home office and the corporate world becoming so popular? The answer lies in recent research into human activity in a modern working world that revolves around human-computer interaction.
Unlike the days of the industrial revolution when most of the developed world’s working class were employed in factories and various other forms of manual labor, today’s workforce is increasingly comprised of office workers typing away on their computers, or employees working from home and using their computers as a conduit to interact and collaborate with their team.
Though the research is still developing, most health organizations agree that sitting for hours on end without moving is bad for you. The American Cancer Society recently conducted a study in which they found that an hour of intense exercise per day is needed to offset the harmful risks of sitting for 8 hours a day. Some researchers have even suggested that sitting for prolonged hours every day without movement or exercise is as harmful to human health as smoking.
Standing desks are designed to combat sedentary fatalities by giving office workers the ability to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Standing burns slightly more calories than sitting, at 88 calories per hour standing as opposed to 80 calories sitting down.
Standing desks have been shown to relieve shoulder and back pain, improve core strength, and give users an energy boost that they might not otherwise get from remaining seated for hours at a time. Though more research needs to be done and current studies are inconclusive, standing could even reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.
Are standing desks necessary for home use?
Standing desks have the potential to boost well-being and productivity by keeping workers healthy and more active than they would be sitting down. But what about standing desks for home offices? Well, that really depends on your personal habits.
If you work full time at home, chances are you spend as much time at your desk as someone who works in an office. If that’s the case, you could potentially benefit in all the same ways as someone in a professional setting by having a home office standing desk.
However, if you’re a part-time worker, or just use your home office to write occasional emails and check social media, you may not need a standing desk. Instead, you may want to focus on making other practical ergonomic adjustments to your workspace, like raising your computer monitor and laptop screen to eye level, and investing in a solid ergonomic chair.
Best standing desk for home office
Most office furniture is designed for a modern, “industrial” aesthetic that may not suit the interior of your home. Fortunately there are many customizable options out there like the Autonomous SmartDesk 2. These standing desks for home office have scratch-resistant surfaces as well as smooth-gliding stands and a quiet motor that won’t create a noisy disturbance in your home. They also feature a variety of wood finishes that you can mix and match with different frames.
You may have a custom surface, perhaps a table or desktop that you already have, or would like to use. You’ll want a standing desk for home office frame only, so that you can affix your customized table top. The SmartDesk DIY Kit from Autonomous is a highly versatile and affordable option that can handle a lot of weight and just about any custom shape that suits your home office space uniquely.
Increasingly, office workers around the world are turning to standing desks as a way to counteract the adverse effects of prolonged sitting. If you’re someone who works from home a lot, you may want to consider investing in a more ergonomic setup, and perhaps even a home office standing desk.
Regardless of the solution you choose, the key principle to bear in mind is to make sure you stay active, eat healthy, and research a lot before you invest in any home office equipment. In addition to shopping for ergonomic office furniture, you may be able to make small adjustments with what you already have in your own home!
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