As Americans we’ve become a sedentary population, sitting on average 7.5 hours each day, with only three hours of activity. This sitting around has had a big impact on our health, even when workouts and daily exercise is done. Standing offers many benefits, and can counteract some of the negative effects on metabolism, cardiovascular disease and other maladies. Standing can tone muscles, increase circulation and—here’s a bonus—burn extra calories! One interesting website called JustStand.org has a helpful Sitting-Time Calculator to help you see how much time you may actually be sitting in an average day. The results may surprise you!
Home offices, like traditional office settings, are now following a trend to promote more standing time and decrease sitting. Of course most people don’t wish to stand all day long, and it can be harder to stand and concentrate on difficult tasks, so the solution for home offices is probably some combination that allows both sitting and standing.
From a design point of view, there are some options for built-ins that can make the home office a healthier room in the house.
For the best fit in a standing or sitting desk, it’s important to have it set up for the optimal body position. The Human Solution offers a calculator for both sitting and standing desk designs. Generally, your sitting or standing elbow height should be the height of the keyboard surface. The screen should be between 20 and 30 inches from the eyes and the top of the screen should be at eye level.
There are plenty of options for standing desk furniture. Very often people will re-purpose architects’ desks, library or municipal office tall tables or desks, and even some re-purposed industrial stations can be modified for home office use. The key is to set up the standing desk to feel comfortable and be as useful as possible. Sometimes something can look great, but if it’s not sized right, it can be a bad choice.
Human Solution desks offer a custom approach to stand-sit desks. Their desks adjust to preset levels with the touch of a button, allowing for ease of transition between sitting and standing.
Other options include cantilevered desk additions that will raise or lower the computer screen and keyboard easily. Some home offices with limited space utilize a drop-down desktop that folds away when not in use.
Most experts agree that some sitting and mostly standing for desk-type work has a lot of benefits. You’ll need to start slowly with just a few hours a day, as standing to type or complete other computer tasks can be tiring. Make sure that your footing is padded. Kitchen pros use special padded mats to save their legs and backs; consider using one for your standing desk area. Some experts recommend padding the edges of the standing desk as it’s a natural tendency to lean on things when standing.
Another important tip: keep some sort of sitting desk area for tasks that need more concentration or to provide a break from standing. However, make sure that the standing desk is your primary work location, otherwise you’ll end up “cheating” with the sitting desk too easily. It’s also fairly important to take regular breaks from standing in one position and move around a bit. That keeps the blood moving and muscles from tiring or cramping.