Are Sit-to-Stand Workstations Necessary? Economic Options for Employers June 29 2018
Sit-to-Stand workstations are on the rise in modern office culture boasting long-term health benefits and increased productivity among employees. But how true are these claims and does it apply to everyone? Many employers are asking these questions and wondering whether it is their responsibility to provide sit-to-stand workstations to all employees or just to those with medical needs at risk for injury. Sit-to-stand workstations have been proven to reduce the risk of injury due to extended periods of sitting as well as improve health and wellness. However, does increased comfort always lead to increased productivity? And is that true for employees of all shapes and sizes? AskErgoWorks has written this quick guide for reference on common sit-to-stand workstation setups and which types of employees would benefit the most.
Determining the Need to Stand
The first step in determining whether it is necessary to outfit your employees with sit-stand workstations (or one employee in particular) depends on the type of work they do, their symptoms, and whether they have a medical certification due to a condition. Some employees will have notes from their doctor indicating that prolonged sitting agitates a particular medical condition that they have. In this case, you must provide accommodation for these employees according to the Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For an employee that does not have a diagnosed medical condition but has expressed mild symptoms and spends more than 4 hours a day seated at a computer, it would be suggested to provide some manual or shared office solutions. If you’re not sure what the best solution would be for your particular workplace, consider getting in touch with us about our ergonomic assessments. We conduct full workstation evaluations (both on-site and remotely!), office space planning, ergonomic workshop training, and on-site installations for office of all shapes and sizes. Schedule your workstation or office space evaluation here.
If an employee spends less than 4 hours a day at a computer within the office, then a possible compromise is to have one standing desk available as well as a seated desk available. They need not be adjustable, but the option is there for the employee to make the best choice for their own needs.
Types of Sit to Stand Workstation Setups
The types of sit-to-stand workstations available on the market are as varied as the people who use them. The right workstation for you depends on your height, vision (near or far sighted), and how much time you spend sitting versus standing on a regular work day. Consider these popular styles:
An ergonomic solution best for employees that already currently use a keyboard tray below the main desk surface. This front clamp mount attaches to the front of an already existing desk and can be removed and added to any desk. Just make sure the desk is strong and sturdy enough to support its weight. It can raise and lower its surfaces easily to go from standing to a seated height position, but the surfaces do not retract. The monitor arms are not adjustable, so this would not be the best option for someone who is near or far sighted and needs custom adjustment for monitor distance. This options also requires some assembly, so having someone in the office with mechanical skills to set it up initially is needed.
This ultra-easy sit-to-stand solution can sit right on your desk as it is now. With a spacious upper display surface and lower keyboard/mouse desk, this spring-assisted lift mechanism allows you to easily switch between sitting and standing working positions. It does not come with any type of monitor support or control however, so you would need to arrange your monitor yourself. This desktop addition holds up to 33 lbs. and remains steady and sturdy at any height. This desk on desk solution is perfect for those who do remain seated throughout the day on a regular basis. Users must have the arm span and the grip strength however, to grasp the levers on each side for adjustment. This option would not be recommended for those that already suffer from back problems and cannot do heavy lifting.
The most economical option for employers when considering their options for purchasing ergonomic equipment for the office is likely the adjustable standing table desk. Versatile and simple, this desk can be used for any number of purposes, can roll easily from room to room, and adjusts to virtually any height accommodating 99% of users. You may need to add on keyboard trays for some employees. This desk can be used for desktops, laptops, or tablets.
Make Standing Part of Your Office Culture
Encouraging your employees to stand at work more often is another possible way to improve the health and productivity of your staff. Standing desks help users burn more daily calories, improve posture, and reduce the risk of heart problems. Consider holding more stand up meetings, walking to other coworkers’ offices to give them information instead of emailing them (bring back the memo?!), and encourage regular breaks throughout the day to walk around the office building. Take phone calls standing up, taking walking meetings, and get up for more glasses of water! There are tons of ways to encourage more standing and movement at work. Work as a team to improve one another’s health and you’ll see a more productive staff.