The five features to look for in a sit-stand desk



Doctors, no fans of sedentary lifestyles, rarely encourage anyone,especially those with back pain,to spend all day sitting. A standing desk can help avert aching muscles if you use it correctly, get off your feet and move at regular intervals. 

Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh researcher April Chambers, said women could benefit greatly from a standing desk. But she added that in order to achieve positive outcomes with sit-stand desks, we need a better understanding of how to properly use them. “Like any other tool, you have to use it correctly to get the full benefits out of it.”

SUB: Finding an solution

For Integra Systems, creating the ideal sit-stand desk came from finding a solution for the chronic pain and illness suffered by one of the company’s directors. No product on the market met their required standards, so they decided to design and manufacture their own workstation options, which became the foundation of a range of WorkSMART solutions assigned to the proprietary division of the business, Integra TransForm.  

Such research into hybrid workstations and consultation with ergonomics experts saw the workforce at Integra develop a wealth of knowledge about sit-stand working. They share some tips with us to bear in mind when standing up for your health.  

1. Not just sitting, standing too

The word is: sitting is the new smoking. So the answer must be to stand up at your computer across the course of the day, right? Wrong. Just as you can harm yourself by drinking too much water, long hours of standing won’t do you much good either. 

Micro movements of standing up and sitting down at regular intervals during the day can improve your health and burn calories. That’s why finding a desk that transitions easily (and quietly – so not to annoy your co-workers) is one of the most important features you need to look for in a sit-stand desk.

Think: does the desk have one-touch operation? Does it adjust smoothly without me having to push and pull at its structure? Do I feel at ease changing this desk from a sitting to a standing position and then back again? Is the desk or conversion unit sturdy and safe? If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, it’s likely you won’t use your sit-stand desk properly and, therefore, you will not benefit from its sit-stand advantages.

2. Plenty of adjustability

What is good for one person is not good for another – in other words, we’re all cast from different moulds. Similarly, your body shape and height may change, as well as your standing/sitting habits, which means your sit-stand solution must be adjustable if you want longevity from your purchase.

Can your sit-stand workstation hold more than one computer monitor? Does it have a small footprint so it doesn’t clutter your workspace or obstruct your feet? Or does it overwhelm your desk?

In terms of adjustability and the office furniture already at your disposal, you might need an entire sit-stand desk or just an electronic converter that sits on existing furniture transforming it into a functional sit-stand workstation (the latter option might be more affordable and sensible).

3. Height memory and setting options

There are desks with hand-cranks for changing height but, by far, the more elegant and future-proof sit-stand workstations are powered electronically with an LED keypad for entering different heights, as well as different timeframes to alert you to change from a sitting to a standing position and so on.

You need to be confident your desk sit-stand memory is good – and the desk doesn’t slowly drop across the day! You also need to be confident that the electronic componentry incorporated into the workstation is both safe and reliable.

4. High-quality materials and good looks

Good furniture, whatever it may be, is defined by the quality of its materials and craftsmanship. By comparing different sit-stand solutions before making a purchase, you will be able to immediately discern whether a workstation is strong, sturdy and stable, or flimsy, inferior and a waste of money.

Don’t underestimate the importance of acquiring a sit-stand desk that is also attractive and fits effortlessly into your workspace. Given you will be using your workstation on a daily basis, a smart and elegant sit-stand solution is going to have a positive impact on both your mind and body – and the two are inextricably linked.

Just remember that skimping on quality is a false economy.

5. Supporting information and after-market care

So you’ve chosen an excellent sit-stand option, but what do you do with it? As discussed, it’s not sufficient to swap your sitting all day for standing all day so – if you don’t need to follow the advice of a doctor or you don’t have a physiotherapist to create your sit-stand schedule – the company that supplies your workstation should also have supporting materials and research to start you off in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask for these details.


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