Adjust your view, the sit-stand debate

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

It is hard to miss the buzz these days about height-adjustable desks and the health benefits associated with standing periodically throughout the day.

A recent article by the New York Times, “Stand Up While You Read This!” by Olivia Judson, received an amazing number of comments on this surprisingly touchy subject. It wasn’t quite a fifty-fifty split in terms of for or against, but it was and is a rich topic for discussion, revealing perhaps a population of computer users on the brink of a deeper exploration into computing wellness.

What’s interesting is that sit-stand workstations have been around for a long time. Ergotron point-of-care applications like the StyleView® HD Combo System have been in play in the healthcare market since the 1990s. It hasn’t been until recently that businesses have started to see the health and wellness benefits of introducing sit-stand into the office market.

This should be welcome news to the millions of people who have been sitting all of their careers, used to corporate policy regarding equipment that in many cases says, one size fits all. The truth is, users are becoming more savvy about what makes them feel good too, about what makes them productive. Innovative companies will capitalize on this, offering equipment like height-adjustable workstations almost as a benefit, like fitness rooms or gym discounts, to their workforce.

Sit-stand workstations, like Ergotron’s WorkFit C-Mod Workstation, finally gives the user the choice to sit or stand throughout the day. But how does WorkFit match up with the ergonomic experts? We asked Chris Adams, a human factors engineer and industrial designer and manager of About.com Guide to Ergonomics, to review the WorkFit. Chris says in his bio, “The utility of an item is the only true measure of the quality of its design.” We thought he might be a good judge. 

Here is what Chris had to say in his post, “Ergotron Workfit Computer Workstation Review design.” In summary, “The Ergotron WorkFit computer workstation is a good ergonomic solution to a number of computing issues. You might be surprised how much you’d like working standing up, even for just a few hours a day.” 

The workstation ultimately didn’t work for Chris; who wasn’t at that stage of wanting to do an office retrofit. No problem. Certainly companies will need to factor in this same concern when considering how to accommodate work forces that may a need sit-stand workstation for specific health issues. Figuring out the best way to swap in height-adjustable options within the current cube environment should be exciting for facilities, office designers, and IT managers hungry for a change. It will probably make the risk managers happy too. Bonus. Watch for Ergotron’s next height-adjustable option launching this summer. Hint: no retrofit needed.

Which side of the aisle do you sit on regarding the height-adjustable debate? Sit? or stand?

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