Standing or sitting at work – what’s the best option? (Part 2)

Sitting or standing to do your work is one of the latest hotly contested debates. There are advocates of both – and as discussed last week, there are some compelling arguments for and against the use of standing desks. But what about the more traditional sitting desks? Are they really out of date and bad for our health and wellbeing… or should we avoid the standing desks and stick with tradition?

sitting desk at workIn Part 2 of this 2-part blog, I’ll be looking at the merits of the sitting desk, how you can decide whether a standing or sitting desk is right for you – and whether it really is that simple a choice. If you missed the first part of this 2-part blog, you can check out last week’s Part 1, here.

Sitting to work

When it comes to the traditional work desk, sitting down to complete your work is the order of the day. However working from the seated position isn’t without its downsides, as illustrated below:

  • Back pain – from sitting too much
  • Higher risk of diabetes and heart disease when sitting for long periods
  • Sitting down for long periods plays havoc with your posterior and waistline
  • Sitting down for long periods leads to a higher risk of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis), blood clots and swollen ankles
  • When sitting in a short skirt, you need to be aware of how much leg (translated as – knickers) you’re flashing to the world)
  • Sitting down can crease your skirts, leaving a mass of horizontal lines highlighting the width of your thighs
  • Tights have a nasty habit of gradually rolling downwards, making a slow descent to the narrowest part of your torso
  • Sitting down can often highlight any excess weight you have around your midriff – leading to an increased desire to a) loosen your waistline, b) undo your garments and c) resort to baggy blouses and elasticated waistlines

When you read between the lines though, sitting down does have its advantages – especially if you have a suitable chair and have ensured your desk is the right height for you. It also ensures you’re comfortable – something the standing desk doesn’t always afford those who have tried and subsequently realised.

sitting and standing work deskLooking at the facts

However, as with the standing desk, some health benefits are still subjective and outside factors have to be considered. But regardless of whether the standing desk is just a fad or the next best thing, you need to pick something that suits you, so take the following tips into account:

  • How are you most focused and creative? For some people, standing feels too casual, leading to a lack in both focus and creativity, whilst sitting down can be too restrictive for them. This can often lead to the more creative types moving to an entirely different location, such as outside, the kitchen table and even sitting on the floor!
  • Any inactivity can lead to tired muscles, achy limbs and health problems. Regardless of which desk option you go for, the general rule of thumb is to take regular breaks. Both sitting and standing for long periods can cause posture, back, health and general happiness issues – so schedule in breaks and regularly exercise as a matter of course.
  • Wear the right clothing and footwear for the job. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable, so pyjamas and onesies aside, dress comfortably and suitably.

Slowly ease yourself in. If you’re looking to make the change from sitting to standing, go easy on yourself. Remember standing for long periods can actually be painful, as you’re not used to it. This means you’re more likely to stoop forward, lean, fidget and favour one leg – meaning bad posture, achy muscles and general miserableness! So don’t get rid of your old desk, until you have got used to standing and working in the standing position for long periods.

Finally, don’t get swayed by the perceived benefits – go with what feels right for you and, whatever option you ultimately decide on, make sure you’re also doing the best you can to look after your health and wellbeing – without just relying on your desk to do it all for you!

What are your thoughts on standing versus sitting? Maybe you’ve changed your desk and are now worried about how to redesign your office around it? Why not share your thoughts, experiences and questions in the comments box below.

Images (c) & sepy/Dollar Photo Club

2 Responses to “Standing or sitting at work – what’s the best option? (Part 2)”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Philip Johns says:

    Dear Julie,
    Fascinating article, at Healthy Home & Office we believe in providing options, so having the ability to change between sitting and standing will enable you to be able to change position as and when you body requires, so rather than focusing on sitting or standing we believe in “the best posture is the next posture” which provides a healthier solution, this also allows a further option of higher stools which allow us to perch – so you can sit, stand or perch. Would love the opportunity to talk to you further as we can provide a variety of solutions for both Offices and Home Offices, would like the chance to discuss further – regards Philip Johns

    • Julie Stevens says:

      Hi Philip – you are right – as they say variety is the spice of life! At the end of the day it is movement that counts. If you are standing you are more likely to be moving your core muscles than if you are siting. If you perch, again your core muscles are at work. Of course each person is different and must find their sweet spot with movement. By all means get in touch using the email form here on the site. Best Wishes Julie

Leave A Comment...