Standing Desks: Could They Improve Your Workplace?

January 12th, 2016 by admin

Woman in a red jacket using a laptop while reaching for a cup of coffee

It's been talked about everywhere from the New York Times to Men's Health and Women's Health: Sitting at a desk all day may be dangerously unhealthy.

Medical studies conducted around the world support the same conclusion: When a human body remains seated and inactive, it quickly enters its own "power-saving mode"—not unlike the computer you're using right now. The internal processes that burn calories and break down fat slow to a crawl. Over a full workday, the body's overall "fat burning" functions can shrink to as much as half the normal rate. That raises the long-term risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, while pressure points on the spine can lead to other issues—from poor posture to lingering back pain. Prolonged sitting may even slow chemical circulation in the brain, affecting mood.

In today's breakneck pace of Bay Area business, how many of your employees stay seated in their cubicles from 9 to 5—or longer? Do they skip meals and work through what was once generally considered "lunch hour"—hardly even getting up to stretch their legs? Will their productivity eventually be threatened by what researchers have dubbed sitting disease?

There may be a simple solution.

Stand and Deliver

More and more office workers—including employees of Silicon Valley heavyweights Google and Facebook—are experiencing multiple health benefits from standing desks. A Canadian study of standing desk users published earlier this year in Preventative Medicine revealed:

  • An average physiological increase of 8 heartbeats per minute (even higher for a treadmill desk!)
  • Higher HDL ("good") cholesterol—and less ("bad") LDL.
  • Reduced fatigue, tension, confusion, and depression—with more energy and focus.

Best of Both Worlds?

A standing desk may take some getting used to. Some users report a physical "break-in" period—like the soreness from a new workout routine. While many come to prefer standing, doctors advise that only standing or sitting still both carry potential health risks, and recommend alternating between the two. That could mean using height-adjustable desks (an online search will display plenty on the market, at varying price points) or using one or more "community" standing workstations, which employees can try for themselves and use whenever they'd like a change of pace.

The good news here is that simple "toggling" between different onsite workstations is another perfect application for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). Instead of unplugging and re-plugging a laptop—or being left "anchored" by an immobile desktop PC—the user can simply log in from either endpoint, with full functionality (files, apps, email, conferencing, and more) hosted in the Cloud.

If your company has an in-house ergonomic specialist, run this idea by them… then talk with us about making it work.

Posted in: Solutions, Hardware and Software