Over the last few years, height-adjustable desks have gone from an office novelty to a more permanent and sought for feature. This is especially due to people becoming increasingly more aware of the harmful effects sitting for long periods of time has on their health. In fact, it has even been said, while a dramatic statement, many medical experts now believe this to be correct.

Height-adjustable desks have given those who work in offices a new ray of hope as they allow employees the choice to work both sitting and standing. However, despite the advantages of a height-adjustable desk, it’s not for everyone. So, it’s important to weigh out the pros and cons before making a decision. In this article we provide you with all the information you need to know before making a purchase.

The pro’s – what are the benefits of height adjustable desks?

An average office worker is said to sit for 15 hours a day – of course not just in the office. However, this is a shockingly large amount of time, so there is no wonder that employee health is a growing concern. This is especially due to the health impacts that sitting for long periods of time has. 

 Research has shown sitting for more than 8 hours a day can result in a heightened risk of early death and cardiovascular disease, the risk of type 2 diabetes is also said to increase the longer you sit each day.

So, the obvious pro of height-adjustable desks is of course the positive health benefits it has on workers. Height-adjustable desks encourage employees to stretch their legs more at regular intervals due to their flexibility, allowing workers to alternate between sitting and standing whilst working. But what are the other pros?

  • Improves productivity: Plenty of research has shown that productivity increases while someone is standing at their desk because they feel more motivated to complete their tasks for the day. A
  • Promotes up to 20% more mental activity: According to experts, human brain activity increases by up to 20% when working at a height-adjustable desk. This results in faster, higher quality decision-making processes.
  • Time saving: The increased efficiency found when employees work at a height-adjustable desk, saves time in the long term. These sit-stand desks increase efficiency by at least 10% meaning work is finished more efficiently and so allows for more time to move on to other projects. In addition, absentees with conditions caused by permanent sitting (such as back pains) are reduced. One study revealed 47% of people with height-adjustable desks reported a significant reduction in upper back, shoulder, or neck discomfort.
  • Saves money: That brings us to our next point, employees that are not constantly distracted by fatigue, neck tension or back pain will work more efficiently. According to a study by Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, German companies incur an annual loss of 35 million euros due to absentees and reduced productivity caused by back problems alone. Therefore, less absentees serves profitability for a company as well – saving money in the long term.
  • Improved meetings: A study by behavioural experts showed that people communicate significantly better when standing compared to sitting. At standing meetings, the voice is said to be fuller, more dynamic, and more convincing which helps to increase overall performance of meetings.

To find out more about the benefits, visit our blog all about the benefits of height adjustable desks. But now, we shall move onto the cons.

Height adjustable desk

The cons – What are the cons of height-adjustable desks?

While it’s proven that height-adjustable desks do have their health benefits and can most definitely result in improved productivity from workers, they do come with cons too.

One con is that there is a risk your workers don’t reap from the benefits a height-adjustable desk provides because they either are not given any direction on how to use them, or because they just don’t meet their needs.

Dr April Chambers at The University of Pittsburg warned that providing height-adjustable desks to employees without any guidance or instructions on how to use them will mean they may not see the benefits, so therefore the purchase will end up being a waste of time. She said if you are purchasing a height-adjustable desk for your business, employees should be taught how to set up their desk and shown the appropriate height it should be raised and how it can be used.

Counterarguments for height-adjustable desks also state that creative work such as writing or designing is significantly more difficult whilst standing, rendering them useless to those who work more creatively. Some workers have complained that the discomfort of standing for long periods of time makes them take breaks from their desk more often, even when they feel motivated to continue working. This could easily be solved though with a height-adjustable desk, where the employee has the option to sit or stand.

It’s important not to forget that standing, especially for prolonged periods, carries risks too. For example, it can contribute to poor posture, sore feet, and tightened joints. Therefore, when using a height-adjustable desk, it is better to alternate between standing and sitting to gain the most benefit from it, rather than doing too much of one or the other.

Another disadvantage is that a height-adjustable desk will be quite clearly more expensive than a standard desk. Nevertheless, considering the pros, it becomes clear that the investment in the long run will pay for itself.

three height adjustable desks with office chairs

Height-adjustable desks from Haiken

Height-adjustable desks can be a worthy investment due to their many health benefits, provided employees receive guidance on how to use them to fully reap the benefits.

At Haiken, we provide a variety of height-adjustable desks including Flexure which provides endless opportunities for flexibility with its telescopic frame, and of course, our robust Wolfe desk that offers maximum strength for minimum weight.

Are you hunting for height-adjustable desks for your workspace? Contact our friendly team at Haiken today and we will be more than happy to help you find the perfect fit.