Blog - 4 Standing Desk mistakes you need to avoid

Blog - 4 Standing Desk mistakes you need to avoid

The benefits of switching to a sit-stand desk in the office, as opposed to sitting for extended periods of time, have been well documented. But, like anything in life, there is a right way to use your sit-stand desk – and a wrong way. Avoiding some classic pitfalls will serve you well in getting the most out of your new workstation.

1. Only standing

It’s no good if your standing desk only allows you to stand because the health benefits come from alternating between sitting and standing across the day. Otherwise, you’re just replacing one static (and problematic) behaviour with another. To achieve this balance, you need a desk that moves easily from a customised standing position to sitting position so you can spend your day switching between the two.

2. Not getting a workplace assessment

Another common mistake is not setting up your new sit-stand workstations correctly. With this in mind, seeking out a workstation assessment is a savvy tactic because it means getting things like eye-line placement, posture, and height and functionality of your desk customised entirely to your specific requirements.

If you’re self-employed, there’s a wide selection of certified OH&S assessors who will come to your home office or workplace to make sure you’re not jumping from the frypan into the fire with your sit-stand solution. Your osteopath, physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner may also have instructions for you.

4 diagram of correct posture 2
Diagram courtesy of www.makeuseof.com

3. Jumping in too quick too soon

Switching to a standing desk is a bigger change for your body than you might think, so you need to give yourself time to adapt. In other words, gradually build the amount of time you stand versus the amount of time you sit.

Over the course of the first few weeks of using your new workstation, make sure you balance, as best you can, the frequency that you alternate between sitting and standing. There’s no hard and fast rule but it’s essential that you listen to your body. For example, if your back is beginning to feel stiff or tighten while you’re standing, or your feet start to get a bit achy, your body is telling you switch.

If you have a smartphone or a watch with a timer function, use it to give yourself 30 minutes of standing followed by 30 minutes of sitting and then slowly lengthen the intervals. There are smart apps available for your PC too, which can help you set you own personalised goals.

You should be shooting for a total of four hours standing every day but you’re probably only likely to comfortably achieve two hours per day in the first couple of months of using your standing desk. That’s totally okay. Using a gel mat where you stand is also a great way to avoid fatigue as a sit-stand desk rookie.

4. Slouching and leaning

It might come as a surprise to some people but getting a standing desk doesn’t automatically eliminate the postural issues associated with excessive sitting at your desk. If you find yourself leaning in a certain direction to see your monitor better, or reaching more for your keyboard or mouse, you might need to look more carefully at the set-up of your sit-stand workstation.

Leaning forward or resting your hands or elbows on the desk too often may be a signal that you’re fatigued and you need a break. When this happens, walk away from your workstation and refresh – even if it’s to get a coffee or go to the bathroom. You may want to switch back to a sitting configuration for an hour or so. It’s up to you, and it’s up to you to listen to your body.

Note: This post was written with the writer switching from sitting to standing at regular intervals. The result has been a better blog post.

For more information about Integra TransForm’s AeroSMART & BioSMART workstations and associated goal-setting apps, visit www.integratransform.com.au

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Published in Blog
K2_WRITTEN_ON January 25 2017
Written by Erika Hughes