Sit-stand desks have been around for more than 20 years without ever featuring in the plans of most UK workspace designers. Viewed as a niche ergonomic product, the odd desk would find its way into the office following a DSE assessment on an employee and would be specified as a reactive measure for someone with a back complaint or physical disorder.
In Scandinavia, sit-stand have enjoyed a more charmed existence. Ashley Hayward at Workspace Insight notes that “across Sweden, Norway and Finland, over 80% of office workers use sit-stand desks and offering employees a height adjustable workstation is now mandatory in Denmark.”
As a greater focus is placed on health and wellbeing in the workplace, coupled with a need for a more flexible and agile approach to working, sit-stand desks are starting to gain in popularity.
Unsurprisingly, the benefits of sit-stand desks are borne out of the perceived health risks from prolonged sitting.
In June 2015, a statement published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) concluded that “for those working in offices, 65 – 75% of their working hours are spent sitting, of which more than 50% of this is accumulated in prolonged periods of sustained sitting”.
In 2013, more working days were lost due to muskoskeletal problems (such as back and neck pain) than any other cause. Prolonged sitting has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
With UK workers believed to be spending up to 8.5 hours a day sat at their desks, a sit-stand desk is an ideal way to break this habit and get workers active. Leading furniture manufacturers such as Senator, Steelcase and Kinnarps are placing greater emphasis on marketing their sit-stand desk ranges and this is driving prices down. Electric and ‘speedy crank’ variations also make the latest generation of desks much easier to operate.
As the proliferation of sit-stand desks in the UK workplace continues, it is not unthinkable that a time may come when they eventually replace standard desks as a commodity item, as they have in Scandinavia.
Sit-stand desks fit perfectly into the new agile working landscape, giving workers complete flexibility of movement throughout the workplace and tying in with company wellbeing and culture initiatives. Business owners are becoming more receptive to investing in furniture and equipment which genuinely improves performance and productivity. As a consequence, the sit-stand desk will be a key feature in many future workplaces.
If you would like to learn more about how sit-stand desks can benefit your office, contact Opus4.