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The Standing Desk Craze: Is It Right For You?

By Garrett Spence   |    May 1, 2014   |    1:39 PM

What’s all the hype about standing desks?

Standing desks have skyrocketed in popularity lately. Believers cite increased productivity, higher energy levels, less back pain, and other benefits as concrete proof that making the switch from sitting to standing is the best thing office workers can do for their health.

Before making the switch, it’s important that you understand the risks, too. You’ll likely have a long adjustment period before standing around all day feels normal and comfortable, and there are some health risks associated with being on your feet for eight or more hours each day.

Why do so many people love having a standing desk?

Despite some stories that liken sitting to the next health apocalypse, there isn’t actually much scientific evidence that stand-up desks improve overall health. People who use and love them could care less about the science behind standing, though. The proof is in how they feel:

  • More energy: Plenty of people who have converted to stand-up desks say that their energy levels increased dramatically when they made the switch.

  • Goodbye to back pain: Office dwellers often develop plenty of back pain and stiffness throughout the years. Standing desks can help improve posture and core strength, leading to a happier back.

  • Increased productivity: Many workers swear that their stand-up desk led them down the path of greater productivity. One company even created an app to track productivity, and found that the standers experienced up to 10% more productivity than the sitters.

Disadvantages to Using a Standing Desk

Truthfully, the stand-up desk trend does have its downfalls. Many people that have made the switch love it, but there are some disadvantages to be aware of:

  • People may think you’re weird: The majority of offices still use good old-fashioned sitting desks. This might not be a big deal if you have your own office, or if you simply don’t care, but standing while everyone else sits might feel a bit awkward.

  • Adjustment time: Using a standing desk will likely be a huge lifestyle change and there’s bound to be an uncomfortable adjustment period. Consider easing into this new lifestyle by standing for an hour or two at a time. Just like with anything else in life, the key is moderation.

  • Leg and foot soreness: If you’re standing all day, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience some soreness. But, just as sitting in one position all day is bad for your health, so is standing. The key is to use the stand-up desk to coerce you toward moving around more often throughout the day.

Okay, I want a standing desk. What are my options?

In the past, the main way to snag a stand-up desk was to DIY it and hope that your carpentry skills were up to par. That’s certainly still an option, but there are a variety of companies that manufacture standing desks these days. LifeHacker’s roundup of standing desks is a fairly comprehensive look at the most popular options out there right now. You’re bound to find one that works with your current setup.

If you aren’t quite ready to make the move to a standing desk, at least make sure that you’re staying active throughout the workday. Finagling a stand-up desk at your current office might be a bit tricky, but anyone can squeeze bursts of activity into their day.

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