I never cease to be amazed by the number of sit stand desks I come across on my travels across Britain that never are used in the raised position. They are bought in as the latest must have to improve employee well-being and productivity, or because an individual has a physical issue which requires a sit stand desk to enable them to work comfortably. The problem is that people get these wonderful new toys and there is no education on how to get the best from the product.

There are three types of new user. Both are on a path to not adopting standing working in the long-term.

  1. The fanatical adopter.
  2. The “I don’t want to stand out in the crowd”
  3. The “if you think I’m going to stand up at work you have another thing coming”

The fanatical adopter user is somebody who starts using their new sit stand desk constantly in the standing position loudly pronouncing that this is the best thing ever. Unfortunately, after a week of standing up which their bodies are ill adapted to their legs start to ache; probably their back too, and they need to sit down to recover. They never ever use the desk in the standing position as it was such a painful experience.

The I don’t want to stand out in the crowd user is somebody who would like to stand, but feels that they will metaphorically “standout” as well as literally from the rest of the office. They continue to sit at the desk never daring to be bold enough to stand for any point during the day.

The “if you think I’m going to stand up to work” employee is the person who has had the desk imposed on them, and they have decided that this new- fangled active working stuff is useless, and they studied hard at college to be able to sit down at work rather than stand on a factory shop floor.

All three are victims of a poor implementation of standing working and poor education. Standing to do office work requires a seismic cultural shift in thinking and work behaviour. Unfortunately, it is those people who our most sedentary people in our population that are the most resistant to adopt active working, and these are the people who are going to be the most vulnerable to lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It is the people who are already active who my experience are the early adopters and use the concept of standing working to the best effect.

Not surprisingly the science around sedentary working states that people do need to get up and move more, but does not state that standing still all day is any more beneficial. Hedges Law states that for every half an hour of work the ideal is 20 minutes sitting, eight minute standing and two minutes walking. This clearly is a guide and for any OCD readers is not to be taken literally. Consequently can be seen that standing all day is not the way to use sit stand desk just as much as sitting all day and ignoring it.

What is for sure is that any introduction of sit stand working or any active working strategies must be clearly thought through before it is implemented and strong education tools are applied to ensure that all uses are on message, carry the correct belief systems, and realise the potential for personal self improvement by being more active during the day.

If you’d like to learn more about the strategies please do not hesitate to contact us.