With office workers spending so long sitting at their desks, there is a danger the chair can become an appendage rather than just another piece of furniture. According to government figures, the main cause for working days lost in 2013 was musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain, leading to 31 million days lost. As well as back problems, obesity and heart disease are all problems that can occur.
Sitting inflicts different pressure on the discs in the spine. When standing, the weight of the body is spread through the other joints and the spine adopts its more natural shape and balance. Our bodies evolved for hunting by walking, running or creeping through the undergrowth, not exactly the same as most offices!
Changing position to standing during the day will help with circulation and muscle tone, standing also uses more calories. Increased circulation will also help with blood flow to the brain and so help concentration and therefore work output.
Height adjustable or sit stand desks come in all shapes and sizes and in the overall picture add very little to the cost of a new office fit out. The two main adjustment methods are electric or hand cranked. Both give the same benefits though electric is easier so therefore likely to be used more frequently, the cost difference is minor.
Also available are “desk toppers” which sit on top of the desk and raise a small area of the desk so lifting the screen and keyboard. Though cheaper, these make the overall cost higher than specifying an adjustable desk in the first place.
A height adjustable desk may also be necessary for wheelchair users, they tend to sit higher than a normal chair in a wheelchair.