Last month we explored why sitting (or standing) all day is not good for your body or productivity. Your body craves and needs a variety of positions throughout the day.
One of the best ways for someone working in an office environment to achieve variety is to have a sit to stand workstation. The desire to stand more and sit less has led some people to come up with their own creative workstation solutions. While any effort to move more during the day is a positive step in the right direction, having a workstation that works best for the individual’s needs and body is very important.
Here are some examples of the various active workstation options that are currently in use around campus. View photos of these active workstations and watch a few of them in use on our Facebook page.
The Buoy chair is a safer alternative to using a stability ball meant for exercise as a chair. Unlike the large ball that can cause injury due to unsteadiness, the Buoy has a stable bottom that still allows for movement. A user engages their abdominal and back muscles when seeking stabilization. The Buoy should not completely replace a traditional office chair. It should be a sitting option that is used for short periods of time throughout the day. Learn more about the Buoy.
Height adjustable table
A height adjustable table is just what it sounds like—a table that can be adjusted for any height. This is a great option for an area that may need to use the same solution for multiple people or that a traditional sit to stand unit will not work for due to height. There are many different types of height adjustable tables available for varying prices, work surface sizes, and that raise in various ways.
The Kangaroo is an adjustable workstation that sits on top of an existing desk and can be raised from sitting to standing whenever the user wishes. The Kangaroo affords user more customized adjustability than some other desktop units in that the keyboard stand and monitor height can all be adjusted independently to properly fit the user. Dual monitors can be accommodated with certain units. The Kangaroo also has multiple work surface options to accommodate various user needs, such as bringing the telephone closer, optional larger mousing surface, and more. Additional information is available at ErgoDestkop.com.
Monitor arm/keyboard tray combo
For people a certain height, a monitor arm and keyboard tray can allow them to safely work at a standing position. This option allows the user to possibly use equipment that is already available in the office to create an active workstation.
The Varidesk is another option that allows an individual to easily switch from sitting to standing as often as he/she likes. The unit is all one piece that sits on top of your existing desk and certain models can accommodate one or two monitors. Set up is extremely easy with little assembly required; however, it does lack the ability to independently adjust the monitor and keyboard heights. Additional information is available at Vari.com.
Additional considerations for standing workstations
One of the greatest attributes of sit to stand workstation options are that they are not one-size-fits-all items. However, there are certain things you want to take into consideration when reviewing your options.
- Adaptability for other users. Many sit to stand options fit a variety of workers better than a traditional office desk set up. It is important to consider current and future needs when choosing an option that is best for the individual and the department.
- Shoes and anti-fatigue mat. Anyone who plans to stand for any period of time while working needs supportive shoes and an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. Most offices, while carpeted, have concrete floors with little to no padding.
- Ease of use. Whatever workstation is used needs to be easy for the user to maneuver and not cause any additional discomfort.
- Proper fit. Just as with a traditional office set up, sit to stand options need to be fit properly to the user’s body. Health Promotion and Wellness staff members are happy to help you review options as well as set up and adjust your workstation.
- Variety is key. Remember, standing all day is not the answer either. Standing all day can create an entirely different set of aches and pains. The goal is more activity and variety in the ways you hold your body throughout the day. While sit to stand workstations make variety and activity much easier to incorporate into the work day, there are plenty of tips and tricks people can use to get more activity into their workday without adding new equipment to their office.
For more information on active workstation options and free ergonomic services available, contact Health Promotion and Wellness by phone at (309) 438-1891 or by email at Wellness@IllinoisState.edu.