The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Standing Desks

Standing rather than sitting for a more extended period of time can be beneficial. A study based on standing and treadmill desks in the workplace claimed that a standing desk allows you to stand up comfortably while working. The main intention behind developing the idea of standing chairs is to avoid a long time sitting positions. 

Nowadays, standing desks are gaining popularity due to all the benefits they possess. Although they also carry some drawbacks, the benefits of the standing desks surely outweigh the disadvantages. 

The advantages of the standing desks include improving your posture, ensuring health benefits, cheering up your mood, and boosting your energy level. Moreover, it is an inexpensive option while offering more ergonomic features. In contrast, getting used to these is overwhelming, and adjustments might seem tricky. 

Let’s talk about all of the advantages and disadvantages of using standing desks. We will together look into all of the facts and reasons why they may or may not be a good choice for you.

So, What Is A Standing Desk?

Standing Desks are used when you work while you stand up. Some of the standing desks have adjustable features that make you choose your preferred height, whereas others have a fixed height. 

Standing desks are also known as Sit-Stand Desks. Sometimes you can use the standing desks, also as sitting desks. You can also put them on top of an existing desk. Standing desks helps you adapt to natural posture. 

The Advantages Of Using Standing Desks:

My research has shown Standing desks carry more benefits than cons. Check out these 12 advantages of the standing desks;

1. Enlightens Mood & Energy Levels

Standing desks are most likely to contribute to a positive and vibrant environment at the workspace. Studies show that employees can reduce their stress level and fatigue by using standing desks compared to those who remain seated throughout the entire workday. 

Moreover, almost 87% of participants in the research reportedly boost vigor and energy all day long. When they were returned to the traditional desk, the results started to revert. 

Finally, the studies on sedentary behavior and risk of anxiety & sedentary behavior, risk of depression, and cognitive impairment, proved that sitting for a longer period is always linked with your mental health. That is, sitting for an extended period upsurge the risk of depression and anxiety. [Source]

2. Cost-Saving Option 

Standing desks are inexpensive compared to traditional desks. So if you are planning to establish a start-up or introduce a new office, standing desks are the cheaper and effective option. 

A good quality ergonomic desk can be pricy; sit-stand desks are a cheaper option. The most amazing part is that adjustable standing desks are more effective because you can use them in both ways (while sitting & standing). 

It is always better to buy adjustable standing desks instead of sitting desks. Check out this article if you are interested to know about the war between Sitting Desks Vs. Standing Desks

3. Beneficial To Reduce Back Pain

Working for 6 to 8 hours a day while sitting in a definite chair will definitely initiate back pain. Many studies were conducted to identify if standing desks are effective in reducing back pain. Let me briefly, what I found out. 

One study to examine the standing desks‘ effects on fatigue, musculoskeletal discomfort, and work productivity, reported that they noticed 32% progress in lower back pain after some weeks of using standing desks. 

Then again, the research, the impact of sit-stand desks on chronic low back pain, proved that there was a significant reduction in back pain over the time after using standing desks. [Source]

Finally, another study found that using a sit-stand desk reduces 54% of upper back and neck pain after four weeks. Furthermore, within 2-weeks of the removal of the standing desk, revert those progress. 

4. Helps To Get Rid Of Poor Posture

One significant benefit of standing desks is they help you to maintain a good posture while working. There is no doubt in using an ergonomic chair that will enhance your body posture. But sitting for a long time can still be harmful. 

Lousy and uncomfortable chairs will always leave an adverse effect on your body posture. Moreover, sitting in such poor posture for prolonged hours might initiate body pain.

On the other hand, standing desks give you a scope to stretch your body every now and then when helping to prevent body aches. 

As most of the standing desks come with adjustable features, you can change the posture every thirty minutes to avoid such complications. 

5. Lowers The Risk Of Weight Gain & Obesity

Weight gaining is a common problem we all face one in a lifetime, whereas many suffer throughout their lives. It occurs when you consume more calories than you actually burn. The opposite occurs when you start to lose weight. 

Yes, undoubtedly the most common way of losing weight is exercise. But let us be honest, most of us are too lazy to do that. 

One quick, simple way is to choose to stand while working instead of sitting the whole time. In research, when two groups were compared where one group spent the time sitting, and the other group spent equal time standing, it showed that the second group burned 170 additional calories.  

This can prove why sitting longer is strongly linked to obesity and dangerous metabolic diseases. You can almost burn 1000 extra calories each week by simply standing at your desk each afternoon. 

6. Boosts Productivity & Concentration

Continuous working can stress you out, and you might also lose your concentration, which in turn will reduce productivity. As a result, you might need some magic dose to hold your concentration.

Well, on that note, I want to mention that standing desks can be effective in such a situation. In a study of 60 young employees, just by using a standing desk for 4 hours each day is more likely to improve your mood rather than hinder it. 

If you are at the management level, and your employees are staying dull, you can replace the traditional desks with standing desks. 

7. Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease

Among all other health benefits, reducing the risks of heart disease is one of a kind. You might feel it is a baseless statement. 

Well, in that case, check out this study, which found out that bus conductors who usually stand all day had half the risk of heart disease-related death than the driver of the bus who drives the car by sitting in the driver’s seat. 

It is proven that spending more time on your feet is more beneficial for heart disease. And another study claimed prolonged sitting could intensify the threat of heart disease by 147%. 

This is one of the main reasons experts suggest changing the position frequently, taking a small break to work around the office, and using a standing desk. At the same time, working can also be a significant step to start with positive development. 

8. Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

To be honest, nowadays, it is hard to find people who don’t have diabetes. Yes, it can occur genetically, but you can minimize the chances with the proper precautionary step. 

The lazier you are, the more chances of increasing your blood sugar level. Then again, it is pretty common for diabetic patients to experience a surge in the sugar level after every meal. 

In a research of 10 officers, it was found that 180 minutes of standing after lunch reduced the chances of increased capillary blood glucose level by 43% compared to the one who sat for the same amount.  

Moreover, a study based on sedentary time linked with type 2 diabetes explained that sitting after meals could have harmful effects and increase patients’ risks. 

A study that involved 23 office workers found that just alternating between the standing and sitting position every 30-minutes throughout the day reduced the rise in blood glucose level by more than 11% percent[Source]

9. Might Increase Your Lifespan

Many studies have proved that sitting for a long time has a strong link with early death. Sitting for an extended period will invite many diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many more. 

In a study on adults’ long-time sitting and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and death, they reviewed 18 different studies and found out that the sedentary time sitting can carry a 49% greater risk of dying early than those who avoid sitting for an extended period of time. 

Reducing sitting time by 3-hours per day would raise the average American’s life expectancy, proved by another study

As a result, many experts suggest that you should keep standing desks at the office so that you can reduce sitting time by alternating with standing desks. 

10. Can Be Used As Both Standing And Sitting Desks

Standing desks, also known as sit-stand desks, can be used as both sitting and standing desks. Whereas a few standing desks don’t have adjustment features, most standing desks come with adjustment features. 

You can adjust it as per your need and use these adjustable standing desks while working in both standing and sitting positions.

The fun fact is that; you don’t need to buy an extra desk to alternate the position. Just raise the desk up when you want to work standing and push it down when you want to work by sitting on a chair. 

The Disadvantages Of Using Standing Desks

Every good thing comes up with some drawbacks; the same goes for standing desks. Starting from health problems to physical problems a lot more. Let us dig in. 

1. Leads Body Pain And Fatigue

Standing for an extended period of time initiates health problems. For instance, standing for a long time can lead to joint pain and back pain. 

Standing throughout the day can cause lower back problems as the discs start to get compressed. Whereas while sitting in an ergonomic chair holds your body posture, a standing desk, you don’t get such support; as a result, it initiates problems. 

That is why it is expected that you might face back pain, joint pain, swelling, and fatigue after you use the standing desk. 

2. Getting Habituated Can Be Troublesome

In the beginning, you might find it difficult to stand while working at a standing desk. It is entirely normal; getting used to standing desks can be troublesome. 

That’s why experts suggest shifting the position from standing to sitting position, at the start of using standing desks. Don’t push yourself hard and end up with health problems. 

3. Adjusting The Standing Desks Can Be Overwhelming

Although a few standing desks’ heights are fixed, you will find most of them come with adjustable features. However, adjusting the desk can be difficult; you might find it difficult to operate it.

I suggest you check the user manual to understand the system, and after a while, you will get used to it. 

4. Finding Appropriate One Can Be Problematic

Standing desks has been in trend for a long time now. Nevertheless, it can be problematic to find the appropriate standing desk for your office. 

I always suggest purchasing a standing desk with adjustable features, which can also be bothersome. But you have nothing to worry about. Check out the later part of the article to find out my favorite standing desk.  

5. Components And Accessories Can Be Hard To Find

Standing in front of a standing desk can be difficult, but many accessories are being introduced to make your experience smooth. 

You can use the anti-fatigue mat, cushion, and carpet to make the arrangement comfortable. But the sad part is, it is challenging to find these.

You might often end up having no mat or carpet that might trigger your legs and cause pain and numbness. 

In such a case, to minimize the pain and numbness, you can use a comfortable shoe. 

6. Problematic For Heart Patients

Standing for prolonged hours is problematic for people who already suffer from heart disease as studies show extended period standing increases the risks of heart disease and cardiovascular disorders. 

Moreover, studies also show the risk can be doubled if you constantly stay in a standing position. My suggestion for heart patients is to omit standing for a more extended period and use a sitting desk to eliminate the risks of cardiovascular disorders.

7. Cause Postural Problems

Although studies show standing desks are good for neutral posture, they can also be risky for causing postural disorder

Prolonged standing aggravates postural problems, and it can be extensively dangerous if you already suffer from any posture difficulties. 

8. Bad For Your Legs

Studies have found if you constantly use a standing desk, you might experience varicose veins, blood pooling in the legs, and swollen and painful feet. You can also have a musculoskeletal disorder. 

This is one of the main reasons it is recommended to take a short break from standing and change the posture for a few minutes. 

9. Can Cause Numbness

Long time standing causes numbness. Numbness is a loss of feeling or any kind of sensation in a body part or area. Numbness can occur at any part of your body. Sometimes numbness can be a warning for more significant health problems. 

As you stand for an extended time, you will feel unwanted pressure on your nerves and tissues. It can be a chain reaction and can spread from a particular body part to your whole body.

10. Working While Standing Can Be Difficult And Exposing

Working while standing can be challenging as you may find it challenging to use a keyboard and mouse as it requires time to get used to it.

You might feel uncomfortable getting habituated with the height of the monitor and experience eyestrain. 

As everyone in your office might not be using a standing desk, you will be more visible to everybody. It might also break your concentration. 

5 Effective Tips For Using Standing Desk 

1. Always Alternate Between Sitting And Standing Position

Yes, taking a short break from working is mandatory if you work on a sitting desk or a standing desk. Sitting for an extended period or even standing for prolonged hours both are harmful to your body. 

Studies have found that standing still for an extended period can negatively impact your legs, muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues. It may also initiate varicose veins. 

The best part is that all these problems can be solved simply by alternating the position from sitting to standing and vice-versa.

A recent study by Texas A&M University discovered employees who used sit-stand desks were more productive (46%) than those who used traditional desks. 

Every 1 to 2 hours, you should change the sitting position to standing, and after 1 hour of standing, try to sit again. Or you can simply alternate the position every 30 to 60 minutes

2. Adjust Your Desk, Screen, And Eye Height

Study shows that appropriate desk height and computer screen position can effectively enhance comfort and reduce the risk of injury at the office.  

First of all, you need to adjust the standing desk to about your elbow height. Make sure your elbows are set at a 90-degree angle with the floor

A thumb rule is that a person with 5.11 feet height should set the desk at 44 inches. Further, set the monitor in such a way that the screen height stays at 20 – 28 inches. The top of the screen should be set at eye level. 

Remember, the position should be set in such a way, you feel comfortable working, and tilting the neck is not necessary. However, you can tilt the monitor at a 20-degree angle for the most comfort.  

3. Change The Keyboard And Mouse Position Accordingly

It is common to experience strain on your wrists after using the keyboard and mouse at a standing desk. So, it becomes necessary to change the position of the keyboard and mouse more frequently. The ideal angle is to keep these in an upward tilted position. 

If you fail to change the position while sitting and standing, you will feel more wrist pain, and sometimes the pain can cause extreme discomfort. 

Experts suggest keeping your wrists protected while standing, always keeping your keyboard and mouse at the same level, and wrist straight when typing. These will prevent the pain from occurring. 

In case of seeking more comfort, I suggest you use an adjustable keyboard stand and gel mouse pad, which will provide optimal support. 

4. Use An Anti-Fatigue Mat

Working as a product line or at the counter, standing is ordinary for such jobs, which is why the anti-fatigue mat is pretty popular among them.

Two Studies (Study 1, Study 2) show that people who need to stand for more than 2 to 3 hours per day reportedly experience minor discomfort and tiredness if they use an Anti-Fatigue Mat.

It occurs because it improves blood flow and lessens overall discomfort. 

Check out my favorite anti-fatigue standing mat on Amazon by Gaiam by clicking here. It will help you to reduce your leg or lower back pain.

It is a dense, cushioned standing mat balance pad designed to relieve pressure on the knees, feet, and joints while providing comfortable support and positioning during long periods of standing.

5. Never Forget To Take Breaks

There is no doubt that standing is always better than sitting, but you need to take a break from a long-standing position. It helps to prevent fatigue, numbness, and body stain. 

During the breaks, try to move and stretch your body. For some people, the breaks come naturally, whereas some need to set reminders, for the breaks. If you fall under the second kind, I suggest you set a reminder on your phone or computer. 

A study proved that after two weeks of using a remainder, call center employees experienced an improvement in upper limb and back discomfort. 

Related Questions

How Long Can I Stand At A Standing Desk?

Well, it is wise to change the position every 30 minutes. But you can take a break every 60 minutes and go for short work or stretch your body. I also recommend you to sit for a while amid the breaks. 

Nonetheless, the suggestion will be different for any cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorder patients. It is recommended to avoid standing for a more extended period of time. 

Which One Is The Best Standing Desk?

According to the popular choice, I found the standing desk converter by TechOrbits to be an effective one. The Rise-X Pro desktop riser helps you to transfer from sitting to standing in seconds just by squeezing the handles and lifting to raise. 

This 32 inches wide desk is suitable for displaying two laptops at once. It is crafted using good quality MDF wood, which can hold up to 33 lbs

If you want to convert your sitting desk into a standing one, I highly recommend this one. Currently it costs 129.97 bucks. However, the price changes regularly. So, Check out the latest price of the TechOrbits standing desk converter on Amazon by clicking here. 

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.