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In order to combat the negative effects of sitting down for long periods of time, the usage of standing desks has been gradually increasing in the workplace.

Many see a sit-stand desk as the perfect way to address the issue of spending too much of our lives sat down at work. But can they actually be the cause of further problems?

The answer: It totally depends on the proper use of them!

So What Are The Disadvantages Of Standing Desk Use?

Basically, there are no real cons of standing desk usage. Some people make up some claims that you can counter with common sense.

Most of the time the cons come from the wrong usage.

standing desk disadvantages featured image

Standing for multiple hours isn’t the idea behind that kind of desk. The idea is to give you the option to switch your positions from sitting and standing to maximize the benefits out of your options.

So let’s take a look at the (supposed) disadvantages of standing desks:

  • Writing or designing can be more difficult during standing

This is possibly a real disadvantage that may is true. I’m not a designer but I can imagine that drawing and designing can be challenging while standing.

  • Harder to concentrate on complex tasks

The only real disadvantage. I can see how complex tasks that require a lot of focus are more comfortable while sitting down. But again, a sit-stand desk is designed to switch up positions, not to stand for the whole time. So if you have complex tasks to fulfill just sit down.

  • Cause discomfort after a long period of time, legs and feet start to hurt

Yes of course it’s going to be uncomfortable and your feet start to hurt when you stand for multiple hours while working. It’s even more harmful than sitting! But standing for multiple hours without a break is not advised anyway and misusage of sit-stand desks.

  • Can lead to lower back problems

Totally made up. There are studies showing that back pain can be improved dramatically. Those lower back problems only occur if you stand for too long again, instead of switching between sitting and standing. Having a bad posture in the first place also reinforces the effect.

  • Shared workspaces may be different because of adjustments

Indeed, in a shared office space, this one can be true. But first of all, electric sit-stand desks are adjustable within seconds. And secondly, you can save presets for different heights. Again this issue only occurs if you have a fixed standing desk that forces people to stand for the whole day.

  • Maybe a little pricey

Maybe also not. There are tons of beautiful desks for multiple hundreds of dollars. Custom desks can be super expensive. But you can get an electric standing desk with preset options for under $300.

That’s one single investment in your health and productivity and it lasts for years to come.

Are The Cons Made Up?

From experience, I can say some of those supposed cons are absolutely not true, pointless, and can be easily tackled with some common sense.

The stories you hear about a standing desk creating back pain and similar problems root in the wrong use and standing for too long.

That’s basically the whole point of these “negative side effects”.

There can’t be any disadvantages if your working height can be adjusted to sitting and standing, you can only benefit from having another option for switching up your position.

You should not have a stationary fixed desk for permanent standing. Use an adjustable desk!

  • Some users claim that “it’s difficult to use a keyboard and mouse while standing”.

From experience, I can tell you: No it’s not…using a keyboard and mouse feels the same when the right height is adjusted.

If you have the proper adjustments for standing (which you also need while sitting) it’s the very same position of your arms and hands.

  • Also, some people claim that “your monitor won’t be at a comfortable height”.

But again there is no difference to sitting. That has nothing to do with a standing desk but with the proper ergonomic adjustments of your workspace.

  • Other users say “You are more visible to your colleagues at work”

That would only apply if you’re the only one in your office that has a fixed standing workplace, and you stand all day long, while the rest keeps sitting. But where would that happen?

It’s way more likely that everybody in the office has an adjustable standing desk and everybody switches up positions throughout the day.

And to be honest that would be rather a problem of the sense of self rather than a standing desk.

  • “Eating lunch in your break may be difficult”

No, it’s not. Only if your standing desk isn’t adjustable, which usually every basic version is.

  • “Your feet can hurt”

Only if you use a standing desk the wrong way and try to stand for multiple hours your feet will start hurting. Also, you can use an anti-fatigue or gel mat to prevent that. Those products can make a huge difference anyway. The right shoes are also important. If you’re not using those mats, at least wear comfortable shoes.

  • “It causes bad posture”

So sitting causes a bad posture, and standing as well? So how are we supposed to work or live? That doesn’t make a lot of sense right? Your posture depends on your physical capacity. Any position will cause a “bad posture” when you keep it for too long.

So as you can see the disadvantages of standing desks are totally made up from the false premise of using it the wrong way forcing yourself to stand up for overlong periods of time.

Why Using A Standing Desk?

You may have read the headline “sitting is the new smoking” anywhere in the news already, right?

American Heart Association reports that the vast majority of the workforce is sitting nowadays.

But a sedentary lifestyle brings multiple downsides to your health. Sitting for long periods of time is certainly unhealthy and causes problems such as:

  • chronic back pain
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • excessive lower-limb fatigue, pain in the feet and lower limbs
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • increased pressure in the veins
  • increase in oxidative stress

In contrary there are many advantages from using sit-stand desks. Studies show the highly positive things about standing desks on your body and health.

man in front of standing desk

Sure there is a lot to research that needs double confirmation yet, but some of the promising results show these benefits and advantages:

If you want to read more about the pros, check out our article about the 8 benefits of a standing desk.

What Is The Right Position For A Standing Desk?

The proper work ergonomics for your standing workstation are nearly the same as when you’re sitting.

When you stand in front of your desk your forearms should be able to relax on your table top, while you have a 90-degree angle in your elbows.

The keyboard should feel like a natural extension of your hands.

Keep your back straight and adjust the height of your monitor with the upper frame on your eye level, like you would do when you’re sitting.

If you have the proper ergonomic adjustments when you’re sitting at your computer, they will remain when you’re using a sit-stand desk.

TIP: Use an electric height adjustable desk with a memory function. Thus you can save the proper standing height and adjust it with the press of a button.

How To Use A Standing Desk The Right Way

Let me clarify this once and for all. Standing for many hours (more than 4) straight is even riskier for your body and health than sitting for the same amount of time.

This is NOT what a standing desk was intended for.

They are designed to help you to switch up between sitting and standing while you work and giving you the best from both options.

The idea is to increase your movement during office work, increase energy expenditure and activate more muscle to burn down some calories.

two women and standing desk

So you do not stand multiple hours for work, you constantly switch around every hour.

And also it takes some time to get used to it. When I started out using a standing table I couldn’t stand for 5 minutes, because it was quite exhaustive.

The people who report stiff legs, aching backs, sore necks and things like that after their first day of standing, are those, who force themselves to stand for the whole day.

Nevertheless, switching between sitting and standing during your workday will not replace actual activity. Don’t expect miracles. You will not lose a lot of weight and your back problems overnight.

It’s a process and a standing desk can help you to achieve that. But physical excercise still remains unbeaten for improving your health.

Which One To Take – Standing Desk vs Converter – Manual Or Electric?

When remaining undecided which one you should pick, a manual or electric standing desk, let me help you. Pick an electric one!

Many of the models with a manual crank are a little bit cheaper compared to the electric ones. If you have a business with a lot of employees you may want so save some money.

That could influence your decision making but consider the following:

  • It takes a little bit of time to get used to a standing table. You want to make the transition as smooth as possible and the introduction easy to form a habit.
  • If you’re using a manual crank it’ll take more effort to elevate the table. Also, you’ll need to test the right height after cranking it up and see if it fits your height.
  • But with a proper electric one, you only need to find the right height once, and you can save it as a custom height in its memory settings.
electirc standing desk remote

Thus you can adjust the height by just pressing the button and keep working. It’s easier, faster, and more comfortable for you than a manual crank or a manual standing desk converter. Also you and your employees will switch more often the easier it is to do it.

If you want to test the feel of working while standing you can start off with a converter/height adjustable desk topper.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no real disadvantage of standing workstations, except it may be difficult to focuses when doing complex tasks, but you can just sit down on your chair anytime you want.

So many of the so-called disadvantages can be solved with common sense and the proper use of a sit-stand desk.

Those desks are not intended to be used for the whole day, but to help you change positions multiple times during your day.

Even though a height-adjustable workstation can help to switch between sitting and standing the real problem is the lack of motion.

So also keep in mind to include more fitness in your daily life.

Get up and move. That also includes taking walks, active meetings, stretches, and more…

In order to combat the negative effects of sitting down for long periods of time, the usage of standing desks has been gradually increasing in the workplace.

Many see a sit-stand desk as the perfect way to address the issue of spending too much of our lives sat down at work. But can they actually be the cause of further problems?

The answer: It totally depends on the proper use of them!

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