Sit-stand desks: how can standing at a desk benefit you?

Standing desks are becoming an increasingly popular workstation in offices. There are many modern office designs that have completely replaced classic work desks with modern sit-stand desks. These offer a range of benefits to employees, but it’s important to understand the right way to use them in order to maximise the benefits.

On this page, we will take a look at the many benefits of sit-stand desks and explain the best ways to make the most of them. At the end of the section, we’ll address some common queries.

Click on a link to jump to that section:

Read about the features of sit-stand desks and how they work.

Read how using a sit-stand desk can benefit you in terms of health and productivity.

Find out whether it is more beneficial to your health to stand or sit at a desk.

Find out how often you should stand at your desk during the working day.

Find out the ideal height for a standing desk to ensure you work safely.

Read our guide to equipment that can make your sit-stand desk more ergonomic.

Frequently asked questions on using a sit-stand desk correctly.

What is a sit-stand desk?

A sit-stand desk is an adjustable workstation that can be modified at will to accommodate both sitting and standing. When the user wants to work in a seated position, the desk surface can be placed at the lower setting, and it can be raised upwards when the user wishes to work whilst standing. Sit-stand desks are easy to adjust thanks to clever design elements that assist with adjusting the desk height. They have come about in the wake of research that associates issues like obesity, heart disease and repetitive strain injury with office workers spending all their time sitting at desks.

standing desk

What are the benefits of using a sit-stand desk?

There are several benefits of using a sit-stand desk, associated with both the health and productivity of the user. The first health benefit is that it can help reduce discomfort and back pain. Spending many hours sitting in a chair can become very uncomfortable. This can lead to aches and pains, likely making the worker uncomfortable and irritable. Furthermore, various musculoskeletal disorders are associated with prolonged sitting. It’s very easy to slip into bad habits with regards to bad posture, and these habits can lead to repetitive strain injury and other painful issues which, left unchecked, can become serious.

You can read more about repetitive strain injury here.Another key benefit is that a sit-stand desk encourages movement. The act of switching between the two states is movement in itself, and once you are standing, you are immediately being more active. This is extremely helpful in avoiding the issues of stiff, tense muscles that can result from sitting for long periods and having a sedentary lifestyle. It is also a good way to raise your heart rate and ensure that you are less sedentary,  which can contribute to issues like obesity. Another well-documented benefit of sit-stand desks is that they can help improve energy levels. Employees who are sat in a chair all day can become lethargic and tired. The body actually likens that sedentary activity to sleeping, making you feel more tired after sending some emails than after an intense workout. Lack of energy obviously makes people less productive, which can be detrimental to business and cause employees to be more stressed.

Active Electric Sit Stand Workstation

sit stand

Our Active Electric Sit Stand Workstation is a viable solution for homeworking, and would be particularly useful for those working in a home office.

  • Instantly converts any desk into a sit-stand workstation
  • 700mm x 400mm solid working surface
  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Comes complete with a single and double supports
  • Power-assisted height adjustment
  • Single option supports monitor weights up to 7kg and the double option supports monitor weights up to 14kg
  • The base has been modified to remove the cut-out feature to improve stability
  • VESA Compliant 75mm & 100mm
  • Travel range is 450mm ±5mm
  • Travel time is approx. 11 seconds
  • The product life cycle is 10,000+

Find out more

Is standing better than sitting at a desk?

There is no doubt that standing at a desk can be beneficial to your health. You burn more calories when standing, and you are more likely to move around when stood than you are when nestled in a chair. Increased movement and adjustment of your posture can help to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury, as long as you are working in the right posture. However, prolonged standing can also cause health risks as well. It does not make you immune to repetitive strain injury, particularly if your posture is not good when you stand. This is why sit-stand desks are such a great idea – they let users get the best of both worlds, combining sitting and standing throughout the day to help promote good health at work.

You can read how to sit correctly in our guide What is the correct ergonomic sitting position in the office?

How often should you stand at your desk?

It is generally recommended to stand at your desk for 25% of the day, split into 15 minutes out of every hour. As previously mentioned, standing all day can cause similar problems to sitting all day, so it’s important to make the switch and use a combination of the two through the day. It is also recommended that you take frequent, short breaks from working to ease the strain on your joints, muscles and tendons.

What is the right height for a standing desk?

Generally speaking, you should aim to position your desk at elbow height for standing. To get this right, you should bend your arms to an L-shape so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Then, measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of your elbow. The desk should be set at this height when you work. Sit-stand desks can be adjusted to various heights, so you should have no problem finding the right level for your needs.

How to stand at a standing desk

When you are working in a standing position at a sit-stand desk, there are certain posture considerations to be mindful of. Stand straight and upright with your legs tucked under. Foot support can help keep your feet in the correct position. If your desk is adjusted to the correct height, you should be able to bend your arms to 90 degrees in order to work. Here are some tips for standing at a sit-stand desk: – Alternate frequently. Don’t stay in one position for too long. – Adjust your keyboard and mouse position. You need to have your arms and wrists in a comfortable position whilst you work. – Use arm supports. This can help reduce the strain on your upper arms. – Take breaks. Regular breaks will alleviate the strain on your body.

The image below demonstrates how to correctly stand at a height-adjustable desk:

correctly standing desk

You can read our full worker’s guide to ergonomics for more information on working ergonomically.

What exercises at a standing desk can be helpful?

Standing at your desk is a great opportunity to do some light exercises while you work. Try the following:

Calf exercises

With your feet hip-width apart, push up onto your toes and hold the position with your calf muscles contracted for 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times.

Leg raises

Whilst standing, bend your knees until you feel a contraction in your thighs. Now, lift one leg off the ground and try to extend it forwards. Hold for 10 seconds, then do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times for each leg.

What equipment can make a standing desk more ergonomic?

There are various things you can do to make a sit-stand desk even more ergonomic. The following products can be helpful additions: – The Vision H Monitor Arm to adjust the height of your monitor. – A CPU support to ensure your CPU is safely incased every time you move the desk. – An Expandable Cable Spine to keep all the cables in check.

Are you currently working from home? Shop our homeworking products here.

Using a sit-stand desk at work: FAQs

How do you get a standing desk at work?

If you are an employee, you will need to put in a request with your boss for a sit-stand desk. Make a case for the benefits and suggest some possible options, like the one offered by CMD. If you are self-employed, then you need to look for options within your budget.

Are standing desks good for back pain?

Using a standing desk throughout the day can help prevent back pain, as sitting in an office chair for long periods can to lead to various aches and pains.

Should you use a standing desk all day?

No, because this can lead to similar issues of repetitive strain as you can get from sitting all day. Alternate between sitting and standing with a sit-stand desk, switching to the stand position for 15 minutes out of every hour.

Does a standing desk actually reduce sitting time?

Yes, it does, but only if you actively make the switch. It is very easy to do, so you just need to remember to make the switch regularly. You could set a reminder on your phone or computer to change position for 15 minutes out of every hour, or simply stick a note on your desk.

Are standing desks bad for your knees?

Standing desks may cause knee pain if you use them constantly throughout the day. To prevent this, it is recommended to frequently switch between sitting and standing.

Read our full guide to ensuring your desk is ergonomic here.