Stand Up and be Counted: join the quiet revolution of upright workers and students with an adjustable desk
As more and more people work from home, a height adjustable desk – sometimes also called a rising desk or a standing desk or even a sit/standing desk - is the perfect solution to a busy household with options available for lots of different age groups, sizes and heights.
What are the advantages of an adjustable desk?
- You can change the height to suit a variety of different people, ideal for home working and hybrid office spaces
- Users can choose to either sit or stand whilst they work or switch between the two
- Standing up to work is better for your health, it avoids aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting and poor posture, burns more calories than sitting down and boosts productivity, some studies maintain by as much as 50%
Why is working standing up so beneficial?
With everyone spending so much time on a screen whether for work or leisure purposes, there has never been more need to stand up for the benefit of your health. Standing up during screen time helps promote circulation and alleviate aches and pains and also avoids poor posture problems and back, neck and shoulder issues which are associated with too much sitting down.
Research has demonstrated that standing up to work boosts productivity and energy levels compared to sitting down.
How is the desk adjustable?
Top of the range adjustable desks have electronic motors in each leg to move the desk up and down. The desk is adjusted by a control panel usually hidden discretely on the underside of the desk. There are a range of pre-set height settings or you can create your own. These desks can be adjusted in seconds so work well for multiple users plus the technology is sufficiently discrete to ensure that the desk can be styled into a home interior.
Manually adjustable desks
The alternative is to have a manually adjustable desk, cheaper on electricity costs and also silent – some of the electronically adjustable desks are noisier than you might think. A manually adjustable desk usually deploys a mechanical spring system to move the desk up and down. Some people prefer these as there can be safety concerns over desks which are electronically adjusted particularly in the home environment with desks that are ‘one touch’ to adjust the height deemed not as safe as those which require a continuous pressure on the sensor to rise and fall. Some people also find the manual desks quicker to adjust than the alternative electronic version.
Think about your workstation
How you use your adjustable desk and the equipment on it may change if you alter the height so before you buy, it is important to think how the desk will be used by each person and with what tech.
An adjustable desk may have to accommodate a laptop with or without a separate keyboard, perhaps two screens, maybe a document holder. It could need space for free working away from the screen. The desk may be used by multiple people in the home all with differing requirements – an adjustable desk needs to work for all and not just be adjustable, there must be sufficient work area.
What about the users?
If an adjustable desk is just for one person then it is much easier to shop and find the right style of desk, design and size however, multiple users make this much more of a challenge. Here are some top tips to help buy the right desk:
- Not all types of adjustable desk will suit every individual, most desks are designed for an average height and weight so if you are taller, shorter, bigger or smaller than average i.e. your adjustable desk is for multi-use in the home then this presents a purchasing challenge
- If you are more than 185cm in height then from a furniture maker’s perspective, you are classified as tall. Some adjustable or sit and stand desks will not rise high enough for taller individuals to keep their arms at the correct angle to avoid aches and pains and RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury. Also, if you are taller, you may also be a little heavier and some adjustable desks are simply not strong enough to take the weight of someone of that height leaning on them – always try before you buy to find an electronic desk which will extend high enough and is also stable enough for you to lean on
- If you are less than 165cm tall then you are considered small or petite, make sure you have enough strength to raise and lower a manually adjustable desk when it is loaded with laptops, keyboards and paperwork; the gas- powered mechanism needs to be of sufficient quality and capacity. The desk may sit higher than the shoulder when it is extended to full height and could be too heavy to drop back down again when the work surface is fully loaded
Having an adjustable desk in your home
Having an adjustable desk in your home is just like having any other desk or is it? Here are some design tips and considerations to help you style your interior with an adjustable desk.
- Adjustable desks are a more modern concept so most of the styles tend to be contemporary rather than really traditional – the good news is that you can style the desk to be just like an occasional table when it is not in use
- The location of the desk in the home is really important as the idea is to change the height so it may not work against a wall particularly if there is shelving present or pictures
- If you have a fairly traditional or old-style home then choose a neutral style and colour like plain white or a mid-range wood – it is surprising how easily these will just blend in particularly if you use the desk for ornaments when it is not in use
- Think carefully about the desk will be used particularly if you have small children who will like nothing more than sending the desk up and down constantly, perhaps to the detriment of the equipment sitting on top of it
- Some electronic adjustable desks do not require continuous pressure on the button to raise them but just go up and down on one touch – this can be unsafe with small children in the household
- If you want to keep your current desk or table because it just fits perfectly with your décor then why not think about an adjustable desk add on which can be fitted to an existing table, this is a good compromise for those who really find they dislike most adjustable desk designs
Top tips with an adjustable desk
- Try standing for long periods to work either at someone else’s adjustable desk or just taking some of your work to a countertop in your home, you might find it is just not for you
- Try out the desk before you buy it, you could find it cumbersome to adjust or too noisy
- Make sure the adjustable desk can move up and down bearing the weight you intend to put on it, not something you will necessarily think about if you are trying the desk in a store unladen or you are buying online. The manufacturer should tell you the maximum capacity that the desk will be able to lift
What is an adjustable desk add on?
An adjustable desk add on is great if you don’t want to swap out your current desk or you are on a budget. This is a model that hovers over your current desktop with a swing arm mechanism. The disadvantages of an adjustable desk add on is that they can interfere with keyboard and monitor placement and might look rather ugly and awkward particularly if you don’t have a dedicated home office but rely on working space in the main living area of the home.
A possible alternative to this is a fixed height desktop riser which is essentially an elevated platform you can add to your regular sit down desk. The great thing with these is that most of the designs fold up so they are portable and invisible when you have finished work for the day, returning your table to being just a table in your home.
Having an adjustable desk in your home
Gone are the days of clunky and featureless office furniture, herald the arrival of sleek, contemporary desks which can look just as good in the home and are flexible enough to suit just about every interior with seamless living very much in vogue.
The modern office in the 21st century no longer looks like an office, more like a workspace with tech making everything mobile and portable. Fluid workstations with attractive furniture now make an easy and seamless transition for the adjustable desk into the home for remote workers, hybrid works, students and school children.