What do we do best at a desk? That’s right, sitting. With a rounded back, narrowed eyes, legs crossed or arms propped up on the desk top – our posture varies depending on the shape of the day and the furniture we’re using. Since people and their body shapes and proportions are very individual, it is important and necessary that the working environment can adapt. And that a body-friendly posture is possible – this applies to sitting as well as standing. An ergonomic swivel chair and a height-adjustable desk play an important role and enhance every office.
Movement is the key
Even if sitting seems to be the “normal” posture at the desk – people are made for movement. Any static posture is unnatural. This applies in both the office as well as in the home office. That’s why posture change and movement are the all important feature for a productive working day.
To illustrate the effects of sitting and static standing on the body, here is an interesting digression. The following considers the internal pressure of the lumbar discs in different postures. This is because these change depending on how much strain is placed on the back.
Lying down: 1.2 bar*
Sitting reclined: 2.7 bar. Sitting upright: 3.2 bar
Standing: 5.0 bar*
*Institute for Trauma Surgery Research and Biomechanics | Ulm University Hospital; measurements by Prof. Hans-Joachim-Wilke, 1999
Standing up – for more energy and productivity
Even though standing is clearly more strenuous for the body, it has a positive effect on general well-being and brings added value if it is combined with movement. After all, too little strain and activity makes the body sluggish. A height-adjustable desk can help here – and there are many options to choose from. Which desk to choose depends on the user and the working environment: should it be a mechanical or an electric height adjustment? How much space is available and how large should the work surface be? And what additional equipment makes sense?
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No matter which height-adjustable desk is chosen, it is important to remember to use the height adjustment to actively shape the working day. Because the advantages are obvious:
Working standing up means more flexibility, quick reactions and it promotes mental performance.
Both the head and the body are challenged – it has to maintain balance and activate the muscles for standing.
More freedom of movement – for example, to tiptoe or shoulder circle. This keeps the circulation going and the muscles supple.
Fatigue caused by inactivity is easily prevented. When standing actively, the body does not easily fall into rest mode.
It’s easier to work at a high desk – for a quick exchange with colleagues or for motivated telephone calls.
Making the most of it: ergonomic sitting at work
Even though movement is healthier, our everyday lives are often characterised by a lot of sitting: We sit in the car, on the bus, while eating, in front of the TV. If the opportunity arises to work standing up, we should definitely try to! When work has to be done sitting down, attention should be paid to the ergonomics of the swivel chair and the body. The right posture while sitting, and dynamic sitting, can play a decisive role in preventing the body from suffering major damage.
In addition to the various adjustment options offered by a high-quality office swivel chair, thought should also be given to the height of the desk and the monitor. We have compiled the most important points on this in the blog post “Adjusting your office chair correctly – 10 steps to optimising your workplace“.