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Get Off Your Butt

By Monte Clark

I’ve been wanting to weigh-in on the sit-stand desk phenomenon for a while now.
Not that I’m the world’s leading expert on the subject – in fact, I don’t even use a sit-stand desk. At least not yet.

And I’m no occupational health expert, either. So I can’t tell you if prolonged sitting really is “the new smoking,” or if each hour of sitting will in fact shave 20 minutes off of your life.

But as a commercial furniture dealer I do have a unique perspective when it comes to sit-stand desks: I’ve read more product literature than most; I’ve spent time “talking shop” with our manufacturer reps; and I’ve had the opportunity to demo various products. Not only that, but I’ve been involved in several office renovation and redesign projects where we sourced and installed sit-stand desks.

More importantly, though, I know people who use sit-stand desks every day. People I respect and whose opinions and observations I trust. And what I’ve heard from them has convinced me that height-adjustable desks aren’t just a passing fad; they’re a long-overdue workplace innovation, every bit as important as a well-designed ergonomic task chair.

My friend Michelle is a proposal writer for a big accounting firm downtown. She spends her days in front of a computer, responding to RFPs, editing, and proofreading. About a year ago her workstation was outfitted with a sit-stand desk and she has been raving about it ever since.

“I love it,” she told me. “I used to walk around the office when I felt stiff or needed to stretch. Now I just raise my desktop and it’s like I’m getting a break but I’m still working. It just feels good to stand up, and it’s a great change of scenery. My cubicle walls kind of disappear and the entire office opens up.”

But what really struck me was what she said next: “It sounds crazy, but it makes my job more fun.”

And there you have it. The real reason companies should consider investing in height-adjustable desks is the exact same reason they should consider improvements in lighting or layout or any other office upgrade – because it’s an investment in the wellbeing, health, and happiness of their employees. And we can all agree that employees who feel better, work better. They’re more productive. More inspired. And they miss less work due to illness.

So while the jury may still be out on whether or not sit-stand desks can significantly counterbalance the effects of sitting, one thing is clear: they are a great way to keep your employees moving, motivated, and energized.

I should probably get off my butt and start using one myself.

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