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Category: Home Office

Are standing desks a good idea?

The popularity of standing desks in the workplace has been rising quickly since about 2015. While standing desks have only entered mainstream use in the last few years, they aren’t a recent invention by any means. Many intellectuals, politicians and writers throughout history have used them, including Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Jefferson.

Many workers have become staunch advocates of this new form of office equipment, which is also becoming more common in homes. Figuring out whether this hype is justified isn’t easy, as there are a number of trade-offs to consider. Orthopedic health and obesity are two key factors that can help you determine if a standing desk is a good idea for you.

Overview

The scientific evidence comparing standing desks to sitting desks provides few conclusive answers. In the first place, standing desks haven’t been around long enough for scientists to conduct many studies. Furthermore, the few studies that are available don’t make a particularly strong case in favor of standing desks.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study in 2011 showing that standing desks reduced pain in the neck and upper back, and also improved the user’s mood compared to sitting desks. However, this study didn’t consider possible drawbacks of using a standing desk. In addition, mood is a subjective factor that’s highly prone to a placebo effect.

Orthopedic Health

Research on standing desks suggests that they don’t offer any overall orthopedic benefits compared to sitting desks. Standing is definitely better for your back and neck than sitting. However, standing for prolonged periods has its own orthopedic problems, primarily stress on the knees.

It may be possible to counteract these effects by combining standing desks with other equipment. For example, some studies show that fatigue mats can reduce knee strain from standing by up to 60 percent. These results could give standing desks the edge over sitting desks with respect to orthopedic health if you also use a fatigue mat.

Obesity

Standing desks are often touted as a cure for obesity, but there is a strong scientific consensus that standing doesn’t burn significantly more calories than sitting down. It’s much more important to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule, whether you sit or stand at work. In particular, you need to engage in 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity at least three times per week.

Summary

Current research isn’t sufficient to draw any conclusions about the health benefits of standing desks. The limited research that is available suggests that it isn’t all that helpful as an alternative to sitting desks by itself. A better solution might be to alternate between the two positions while working. Furthermore, standing desks don’t eliminate the need for daily exercise.

Gear Up Your Home Office to Aid Productivity

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, 45% of full-time workers in the United States are working from home either all or part of the time. If you fall into this category, you’ve probably realized just how challenging it can be to stay motivated and focused while working from home. Fortunately, there are some simple upgrades you can make to your home office to boost your focus and productivity. 

A Supportive Office Chair

It’s hard to focus on your work when you’re uncomfortable. Old or poorly designed office chairs can contribute to distracting neck and back pain. Upgrading to a supportive, comfortable office chair with an ergonomic design can make all the difference. Specifically, look for one with plenty of adjustable settings that will allow you to achieve customized comfort. Or, ditch the office chair altogether and invest in a standing desk!

An Ergonomic Keyboard

People often overlook the importance of economics on a computer keyboard. If you spend a lot of time typing, the wrong keyboard and improper form can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues. And of course, this can affect your work performance.

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Ready to upgrade your keyboard? Look for one with an ergonomic design that will support your wrists and encourage correct form as you type. Meanwhile, it’s important to take regular breaks from typing, so schedule some into your day.

White Noise or Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noisy pets, rambunctious kids, and other everyday sounds can quickly become distracting when you’re trying to work from home. One simple way to drown out distractions and improve your focus is to invest in a great white noise machine or a pair of noise-canceling headphones. 

Not only can white noise improve focus, but its use has also been found to boost creativity and reduce stress. Even better? You don’t necessarily have to spend money on a white noise machine to capitalize on its benefits. There are plenty of free white noise apps and even white noise recordings on YouTube that you can access for free.

The Right Lighting

Proper lighting can make all the difference in your productivity from a home office. Natural light, for example, can give you a much-needed energy boost. If you have a window in your home office, invest in a great set of blinds or shades so that you can adjust the amount of light coming into your workspace with ease.

Meanwhile, task lighting in the form of a desk lamp can support such tasks as reading, viewing photos, and the like. Just be careful to set up your task lighting in a way that prevents shadows, as these can become distracting—especially when you’re trying to write.

Boost Your Productivity Today

Working from a home office can be a blessing in many ways, but the work-from-home life does require a little extra focus to stay productive. With these tips and home office upgrades, you’ll be on your way to maximizing productivity and staying motivated all day long.