There is More to Standing Desks than Just Standing

Last updated on February 1, 2021

Kottmann Standing School DeskWhich do you prefer – sitting or standing at your desk?
I have been using standing desks for quite a while to deal with problems I have with sitting too long. I requested an adjustable desk shortly after I started working in the ISM office. This has caught on and several other co-workers are now using standing desks as well. In this post I talk about the use of standing desks at ISM and some related health issues.

Ergonomics Expert Offers Tips for Working Smarter at Home >>
Remote working for extended periods of time creates ergonomics challenges. This article points out areas of concern, specific reference information and tips for working out solutions. (From The University of Cincinnati via Lab Manager.)

Is a standing desk the solution for you?
I wanted a desk with a height that was adjustable for either standing or sitting on a stool. The solution was a used Kesseboehmer Ergonomietechnik TMQ71 height adjustable desk. This was perfect for me. Since our offices were expanding, my temporary location also brought a lot of traffic by my work area. Before long, interest in my desk led ISM to conduct a test of the VARIDESK®. This adjustable standing desk fits on top of existing desks and allows quick and easy adjustment from sitting to standing. Reaction was so positive that ISM now provides all their staff with the option of using standing desks.

“Within the first day it felt great to stand and I felt that I was finishing my tasks at a faster pace.” (Susanna)

Studies show that reducing sitting time during the day has many health benefits.

It can reduce upper back, lower back and neck pain
It can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

“While standing I actually work my core muscles which is part of my physical therapy for my herniated disc. I expect to strengthen my core, as well as improve my posture.” (Amie)

Color photo collage of standing desks in use at ISM

The Reality – Inactivity Physiology
Inactivity Physiology is a relatively new area of medical research. Researchers have always assumed that sitting too much is the same as exercising too little. It turns out that it may be much worse than they thought. The findings are that even if you are getting plenty of physical exercise, sitting too much offsets the benefits of regular exercise.

“Sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little. They do completely different things to the body.”
Marc T. Hamilton, lead researcher at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Promise – Standing Desks are better, sort of …
Standing desks have definite benefits.

  • Standing burns twice the calories as sitting
  • Standing also allows better blood flow
  • Standing keeps you mentally sharper and gives you more energy.

However, standing for long periods isn’t so good for your health either. Comfy shoes and maybe an anti-fatigue mat may help you transition to a standing desk.

“So far the transition has been smooth. I do not need an anti-fatigue mat as of now but may get one in the future.” (Steve)

Hedge's 3 S's Ideal Work Pattern from CUErgo
What’s the Ideal Work Pattern?

The best choice is to make every 30 minutes at work include:

  • 20 minutes sitting
  • 8 minutes standing
  • 2 minutes moving and stretching
  • Repeat

The Reality
You can easily prevent the harmful effects of prolonged sitting without such a strict plan. Every 20 minutes to an hour stand up, stretch and move around. You simply need to develop the habit of adding more movement and a greater variety of movement to your workday. At the very least, it is better to stand for a minute or two every 30 minutes or so. Use every little break to add on a little movement, the more vigorous the better.

“I had read an article that if you sit for 8 hours or stand for 8 hours they can both be bad for you in the long run. The article suggested that you try to walk around for 5 minutes every hour. I did this for several months and noticed I started having fellow employees teasing me that all I did was walk around everyday. So I did get the stand up desk so I can sit or stand, off and on all day.” (Mike)

An exploded view of an ISM modular check valve. Click here to go to a landing page where you can get more information about these valves.

Modular Check Valves

We've taken spring-loaded check valves to a whole new level. Mix and match imperial and metric connections. Watch the video.

A play button for a video about ISM's modular check valves. Click here to go to a landing page where you can watch the video.

Some final thoughts about standing desks

  • Choose a desk with easy adjustment for both standing and sitting
  • Remember that no single solution works for everyone
  • Increase your activity level
  • Change your habits at work

These changes will be just as helpful even if you end up sitting at work. Keep in mind that there are always ways to make every sort of desk choice work for you.

Look for our upcoming blog article about custom manufacturing and packaging:

Custom Fittings, Assemblies, Kitting and Your Bottom Line

What kinds of problems have you had trying to balance your workflow to your workspace? What was the journey you took to get to where you are now? Help us pass on ideas for making work fit into long-term health goals by mixing up the workday.

By the way, Industrial Specialties Mfg. (ISM) is a worldwide supplier of miniature pneumatic, vacuum and fluidic components. We have found that happy employees help us better serve our valued customers.

If you still have questions or comments about standing desks and incorporating physical activity at work, please add a comment to this blog.


Steven C. Williams headshot March, 2018.

About the author
Steven C. Williams my LinkedIn profile link button.
Steven C. Williams, BS, is the technical writer and an inbound marketing specialist at Industrial Specialties Manufacturing (ISM), an ISO 9001-2015 supplier of miniature pneumatic, vacuum and fluid circuitry components to OEM's and distributors all over the world. He writes on technical topics related to miniature pneumatic and fluidic components as well as topics of general interest at ISM.       

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