Office Workers Sit Too Much, Go Crazy

Maybe not the most astounding news you’ll ever hear today (especially if you’re an office worker yourself), but the British Psychological Society has come to the conclusion that office workers sit too much, and suffer negative psychological effects because of it.

Surveyors selected 1000 office workers and found that they spend an average of about six hours a day at their desk, working. Besides the well known negative physical effects of sitting too long,  they found that mental well-being decreased as sitting increased (which of course could also be tied to the fact that they aren’t exercising).

Read more about these astounding revelations here.


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Sit or Stand: Which is best?

Researchers at Cornell University’s Ergonomics Department have, upon much research, come to the conclusion that neither sitting, nor standing, is good for one’s body.

Huh?

Well, if you read the results they published it comes down to one thing: moderation. Too much time spent in any one particular place is bad for your body. The report goes on further to suggest that treadmill desks aren’t optimal either, as they decrease overall productivity and concentration. They conclude with the advice that you should sit while doing computer work, and take frequent breaks (every half hour or so), where you not only stand up but also walk around or do some sort of activity to “get the blood moving” (such as jumping jacks).

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Building Your Own Treadmill Desk

Eric Wilhelm, the founder of Instructables (a site that teaches you how to build just about anything you could dream up), has detailed his journey of building a standing treadmill desk for his home office. He actually details how to build three separate desks, running as little as $150 for everything (keyboard platform and desk attached to treadmill, keyboard platform attached to treadmill and desk attached to wall, and both keyboard platform and desk attached to wall).

The instructions are quite detailed and easy to follow (nine steps in all), so if you have the will, some tools,  and a bit of free time you should be able to grab a few parts and create your own standing treadputer desk.

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TrekDesk CNN Video

TrekDesk, reviewed in the previous post, was featured on CNN’s Edge of Discovery program.

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The Treadmill Desk (Treadputer)

I saw my first standing desk + treadmill combo a few years ago in a friend’s office. He and his brother had both switched over to such a setup after reading about it online, and were now averaging six miles or so a day of slow-paced walking while on their computers. I thought it was pretty neat, although a bit impractical as far as space needed and costs incurred (they had developed their own solution instead of buying a pre-built model online).

Nowadays the cost has come down, and more and more people are giving treadputer setups (as they are commonly called) a chance. There are some things you should know before switching over though, especially if you are coming straight from a sitting desk setup:

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Design Your Own Ergonomic Standing Desk

Want an adjustable desk but can’t find one that has all of the different features that you’re looking for? Well, search no farther than ErgoSource, maker of custom-built ergonomic standing desks. This Minnesota-based company has been specializing in built-to-order desks since 1988, and the combination of options available ensures that everybody will be able to design their own perfect standing desk solution.

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Cheap Standing Desk Alternatives

You don’t have to sink upwards of $1,000 just to get the experience of using a standing desk–there have been many creative alternatives to standing desks, both custom made and company produced.

Whether you stack Kleenex boxes on top of your existing desk, or pile phone books below it, sometimes going the cheap route can be the best (definitely the cheapest) way of trying before you buy (as long as you aren’t too worried about aesthetics, at least temporarily).  I’ve already reviewed one great laptop stand, but there are plenty of alternatives out there in case that doesn’t work for you for whatever reason. There’s the Anderlyn desk, a small desk that sits on top of your current desk, and allows more desk real estate for the usage of desktop computers as well as laptops.

You could also opt for the adjustable wire bookshelves or drafting table featured in this Treehugger article, if that’s more your style. Both are sub-$100 purchases and can easily be re-purposed in the event that using s standing desk isn’t for you, or if you decide you like it and want to upgrade to some proper equipment.

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A Standing Desk Changed My Life

Michael Richard authored a  recent post over at Treehugger detailing the ways in which a standing desk had changed his life during the first month of (heavy) use. He briefly chronicles how standing up to ten hours every day alleviated his repetitive stress injury-prone arms and shoulders, and some of the difficulties he ran into along the way.

Note the amazing use of tissue boxes in the standing desk at the top of the page. 🙂

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MooreCo Adjustable Height Workstations

MooreCo (formerly known as Best-Rite and Balt) is a Texas based company that has specialized in making educational workplace furniture and equipment since 1985. All of their products are manufactured in their Temple, Texas facility, and most are GREENGUARD certified as being free of indoor chemical pollutants.

MooreCo makes a variety of adjustable height workstations, desks, and movable carts. These include the Alekto Workstation (27 1/2″ to 52 1/2″ adjustable height movable desk, $515), the Beta Sit-Stand Workstation (a lean, customizable, dual-monitor, movable workstation, $TBA), the Ergo E.Eazy Workstation (a stationary 29″ to 39″ adjustable height desk with customizable keyboard and tower trays, $683 [pictured] ), and the Hi-Hi-Lo Workstation (a lean 31 1/4″ to 39 1/4″ adjustable height, movable workstation, $485).

There is however a form on the site to request quotes on individual products, and Google searches brought up other purchase routes that were available. Modern Furniture Warehouse seems to sell most of the models online at competitive prices–probably your best bet.

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Conset Electric Sit Stand Workstation

ConSet, a company in Denmark, makes a variety of electric motor-powered sit/stand desks for home and office use. They have the advantage of being the manufacturer of both parts of the desk–the frame and the tabletop–thus ensuring a great fit and build quality for both.

These desks can be compared to the much-publicized GeekDesk, but at a slightly lower price point. There are however some differences which may make this model a better fit for some. The ConSet version of the desk has a higher range of adjustable height (56cm-122cm vs GeekDesk’s 66cm-118cm). The surface area of the standard table is the same on each, but the ConSet version can be constructed with custom finished wood, or a custom-sized/shaped table top. The price is also about $60 lower on the ConSet version.

Online retailer Jaymil offers the entire set of these electric sit-to-stand desks, as well as other lines and styles, on their web site at http://www.jaymil.com (the model above can be seen here–other options can be seen here).

ConSet also manufactures a variety of well-made frame-only standing desks, so that you can choose the type and size of tabletop you would prefer. You can view a full list of offerings and retailers on their site.

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