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adjustable height standing desk

A Brief Guide to Adjustable Standing Desks

Height-adjustable desks or sit-stand desks allow users to alternate between sitting and standing, which is believed to be healthier than sitting for extended periods. Adjustable standing desks can prevent back issues and improve employee performance, concentration, and motivation while reducing downtime. They are essential in modern office layouts due to their numerous benefits.

Height-adjustable desks have been found to significantly reduce upper back, shoulder, and neck discomfort in 47% of users. Furthermore, 65% reported that these workstations positively impacted their overall health outside the office.

These findings suggest that height-adjustable desks are an excellent investment in employee well-being, as they can reduce pain and discomfort while promoting better health overall. With these benefits in mind, it may be worthwhile for employers to consider providing these desks to their workforce.

How Adjustable Standing Desks Work?

A standing desk can be adjusted to different heights and is designed to be used while standing up. There are three major types of standing desks, fixed height, adjustable height, and conversion. 

Types of Adjustable Standing Desks

  1. Manual Standing desks: Manual adjustable desks are cost-effective for those seeking a standing desk. Unlike their electronic counterparts, they lack motors and require manual manipulation to adjust the desk's height. Different models use different adjustment mechanisms, resulting in varying degrees of ease and speed in modifying the desk.
  2. Electric standing desks: The electric standing desk is desirable for many due to its simplicity and adaptability. With various models and price ranges, it provides an effortless transition between sitting and standing due to its motor that adjusts the desk’s height. By pressing a button, change positions effortlessly, making it a popular choice for those who value quick and easy switching between sitting and standing postures.
  3. Pneumatic Standing Desk: A pneumatic standing desk uses gas cylinders at the base to adjust the desk's height. The desk can be easily adjusted to accommodate different users with just a few pumps. Engaging the cylinder is required to move the desk up or down. This type of counterbalance desk offers a convenient way to switch between sitting and standing while working, promoting better posture and improved health.
  4. Spring Counterbalance Desk: Spring counterbalance desks are similar to pneumatic desks in their adjustable height mechanisms but use springs instead of gas cylinders or fluid. The desk uses springs to push it up when engaged, and the tension can be adjusted for the desired difficulty.
  5. Hand-Crank Standing Desk: Hand-crank standing desks are the most widespread type of manual adjustable desk. They are operated using a hand crank to change the height of the desk surface. Adjusting the desk surface height is easy; the user only needs to turn the crank to raise or lower the table.

What features to look for when choosing an adjustable standing desk?

Adjustable standing desk features

To ensure the usability of adjustable height desks, it's crucial to assess all available options and consider how they will be used. A thorough assessment will guarantee that the desks satisfy your team's requirements and enhance their productivity, wellbeing, and all-around well-being. You can ensure adjustable height desks are used and provide the desired benefits by choosing the right ones.

  1.   Height range

According to BIFMA, the optimal height range for a sit-stand desk is between 22.6 inches and 48.7 inches. If the desk is shared, choosing one with a more comprehensive range of adjustability is recommended.

  1.   Weight capacity

It is essential to check the weight restrictions of each desk to ensure that it can support your equipment. Some desks may need help to handle heavier equipment, which can damage the desk or your equipment. To avoid this, check the desk's weight limit before placing your equipment on it. This small precaution can save you from unnecessary costs and inconvenience caused by equipment damage.

  1. Ease of use

There are several ways to adjust a desk, but the best options are electric and pneumatic lifts because of their efficiency, user-friendliness, and quietness. Another choice is hand cranks, however, these are less practical than pneumatic or electric lifts. For people who work at a desk for extended periods, raising or lowering the workstation can have many advantages, including enhanced ergonomics and increased comfort.

Benefits of Using an Adjustable Standing Desk

Adjustable standing desk benefits infographic

Introducing height-adjustable desks in an office can benefit employees by reducing the negative impact of prolonged sitting. Adjusting desk height increases mobility and improves circulation, improving overall health. 

  1.  Health benefits: Regular movement and changing positions during the workday are crucial for maintaining a healthy spine. Studies have shown that using height-adjustable desks can significantly reduce upper back, shoulder, and neck discomfort, with 47% of users reporting improvement. Additionally, 65% of people found that using a height-adjustable desk improved their work experience. It's essential to prioritize spinal health by incorporating movement and ergonomic equipment into daily routines.
  2.  Productivity benefits: According to a study, students' focus, executive function, and memory were improved by utilising height-adjustable desks, and their brain activity increased as a result of improved blood flow. These findings suggest that adding height-adjustable desks to office spaces could provide similar benefits for workers. Standing desks enhance cognitive performance and improve overall productivity.
  3.  Environmental benefits: Research has established a connection between increased periods of sitting and premature death. The link is widely expected since sedentary lifestyles tend to cause type 2 diabetes and heart disease. One study discovered that prolonged sitting increased the risk of early death by 49%. 

Tips for Using an Adjustable Standing Desk

adjustable standing desk using tips

To maintain good posture while using a computer, stand with your head back and an 'S' curve in your spine while keeping your hips upright. Ensure that your chair supports your pelvic area and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your monitor should be raised to eye level, 20-28 inches away from your eyes.

Following ergonomic principles can help prevent discomfort and injury associated with prolonged computer use.

  1.  Adjust the table according to your elbow’s height: To ensure proper posture and reduce strain on your wrists while using a standing desk, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and keep your neck straight and your wrists straight front of you. Then, adjust the desk height so that your forearms are parallel to the surface. Your hands must float over the keyboard with relaxed wrists. Allow your fingers to hang down naturally to maintain a comfortable and ergonomic position.
  2.  Look out for your posture: Maintaining a tall neck and relaxed shoulders when standing. Avoid hyperextension and joint locking in your knees by keeping them slightly bent.
  3.  Wrists should be straight and parallel on the desk: Ensure your wrists remain neutral when typing to avoid discomfort. Your fingers should hang down to meet the keyboard, but your wrist should not be tilted upwards or downwards. 
  4.  Exercise or stretch while standing for a long time: Sitting for extended periods at a desk job can be exhausting, as our bodies are designed for movement. Standing desks can help alleviate this by encouraging stretching and movement, improving posture, and decreasing the discomfort associated with prolonged sitting. 


Height-adjustable desks have demonstrated the potential to enhance a student's cognitive ability, specifically in focus, executive function, and memory retention, according to a recent study. The research also suggests that standing desks help improve blood flow, thus enhancing brain activity. The standing desk offers a comfortable and healthy working position for individuals of all heights and lengths. This helps prevent long-term health problems like Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), ensuring proper posture for office employees. An ergonomic desk also promotes workplace safety, adding to the benefits of using a standing desk.

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