We spend on average 6.3 hours in front of our screens – that’s why it’s important to have an ergonomic work set up. For heavy computer users, this should include a computer standing desk customised for their screen needs.
A good work set up will not only make your work more comfortable, it’ll also improve your health and productivity.
Too much screen time is harmful
Too much screen time harms our health. It causes muscle aches, weakens our metabolism and robs us of time we can spend being active.
But as computers play an important role in our work, it’s just not feasible to avoid it.
This is why we need to make our work environment support our health.
Why are standing desks recommended as part of a good work set up?
Ask any physiotherapist what’s the best posture, and chances are they’ll reply “the next one”.
What this simply means is that regular movement is essential for good health.
Height adjustable standing desks allow you to change the height of your desk and alternate between sitting or standing.
This makes it perfect for heavy screen users who need to use their computers for hours on end.
Standing and moving around frequently during the day has been shown to have health benefits.
It reduces the risk of metabolic illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancers. Frequent movement also appears to reduce back pain.
Not all standing desks are created equal
Chances are that you’ve already looked at, and maybe even contemplated a standing desk.
But you’ve probably realised that not all standing desks are equal.
And that’s the sad truth – not all standing desks are thoughtfully designed to be good for your health. Many require additional components to make them ergonomic.
That’s why we’ve written this article – to help you know what you should look out for to pick the best computer standing desk for your needs.
Ergonomic requirements for the best computer standing desk
At a minimum, the desk should enable you to:
Place your screen a distance away.
Stretch your arm out and ball your fist. Your screen should be at least that distance away from your eyes. Any closer and you could suffer from eye strain and fatigue.
Adjust the height of your screen independently from your work top.
Specifically, your eye level should be at the upper 1/2 of the screen. This prevents your back from hunching. You should also be able to tilt your head slightly forward to look down at your screen, to avoid straining your neck.
Tilt and pan your computer screen up, down, left and right.
This helps avoid glare on your screen – screen glare is a common cause of tired eyes and headaches. These kind of micro-adjustments also helps get your neck and shoulder in the most comfortable position.
Place your keyboard in a location that is comfortable for your body.
Your back and arms should be at a 90 degree angle and the keyboard should be at a comfortable distance from the screen. This keeps your body straight and prevents you from having to lean forward. The desk should also provide you with sufficient space to place the rest of your frequently used work tools.
Have a stable screen as you are typing.
Some standing desks, particularly standing desk converters, wobble when being typed on. Imagine your desk and screen vibrating with each key stroke – it’s a recipe for headaches and eye strain. Pick a quality standing desk that’s well made and sturdy.
Types of standing desks we recommend for heavy computer users:
A. A quality full-sized electric standing desk
By this, we mean a standing desk that starts from the ground up, is motorised and comes with an up, down button and one or two preset heights.
This desk is suitable for home offices where you can replace your existing desk, or offices where the office manager is looking to move or renovate the entire office.
- Due to the proliferation of such desks from Chinese factories, the make quality really varies. It’s a real hassle when this desk breaks down. It’s a large piece of furniture and you will already have installed your computers and cables on it. So we advice you to source yours from a reputable seller who will provide a local warranty and reliable after sales service.
- In order to adjust your screen independently and tilt and pan for better comfort and visibility, we recommend that you get a monitor arm together with this standing desk.
- Safety, particularly if you have young children at home, is a concern. As all parents know, curious children will play with the buttons. If your standing desk does not have a safety locking or rebound mechanism, accidents could happen.
B. A quality electric standing desk converter
An electric standing desk converter fits on any ordinary table, transforming it into a standing desk.
A good one should give you the flexibility of a converter with the ease of use of an electric standing desk.
It’s suitable for home offices where you have an existing desk, or offices where the office manager is looking to outfit only a proportion of desks with height adjustment capability (the converter can be easily moved around) or where there are existing office desks and a move is not planned soon.
- While some converters, such as the Altizen, comes with an integrated monitor arm that allows you to independently adjust your screen, most do not. For those converters that do not, we recommend that you add a monitor arm so that you do not have to strain your neck or eyes.
- The quality of such converters really varies. You can purchase one from a fly-by-the-night seller for a few hundred dollars, but there is a real risk that it will break down, leaving you without any recourse. Meanwhile, a reputable seller with local warranty and service will give you a better quality product and peace of mind.
C. A quality manual standing desk converter
A manual standing desk converter operates via gas lift and can convert your desk into a standing desk.
While it takes more effort to use than an electric standing desk converter, it could suit those users on a tight budget.
- If you are planning on standing and sitting frequently throughout the day, a manual converter is not the best idea. It takes upper body strength to operate the gas lift mechanism. Petite individuals or women could be discouraged from moving the desk at all.
- The size, mechanism and quality really varies. And safety issues have been reported with Chinese OEM products in the USA. So we recommend that you try out the different varieties of manual converters before buying.
- Most of these converters do not have an integrated monitor arm. We recommend that you add a monitor arm in so you do not have to strain your neck.
Types of standing desks to avoid
Here are the standing desks that heavy computer users should avoid.
A. Fixed height standing desks
These are standing desks which cannot be adjusted. They could come in the form of a desk or even a simple shelf on the wall.
While these fixed height standing desks are cheap and suitable for short periods of use, you should not use it if it’s your only work desk.
The ability to adjust your desk to both sit and stand is very important. Standing for too long can lead to sore calves and varicose veins in your legs.
B. Manual crank standing desk
These desks need to be hand cranked in order to raise or lower their height.
Let’s be realistic. These desks move at the rate of two to six turns per inch. It’ll take you almost half a minute to adjust your desk.
Unless you have the determination of an Olympic athlete training for gold, you’ll probably stop using it in a matter of weeks.
Move and move again!
Having the best computer standing desk in the world is not going to help if you don’t use it.
Use your standing desk to keep moving throughout your work day. You’ll soon find your health improving.
What does movement do for you? It helps you improve circulation, reduce tiredness, relaxes your muscles, lubricates joints and prevents stiffness and builds your stamina.
Tip: Over your workday, spend at least 2 hours standing. Increase this to 4 hours when possible. To create a habit, you can start with 1 hour seated, 20 minutes standing and 2 minutes walking. Rinse and repeat throughout your day.
Why choose Altizen electric standing desk converter?
We say (quite unreservedly!) that Altizen is the best computer standing desk converter on the market. This is for the following reasons:
- Using the Altizen is effortless. It has two preset memory heights that quietly moves you to your desired standing height at the touch of a button.
- It is fully adjustable. You can adjust your screen height independently. You can also tilt and pan your screen up, down, left and right.
- It has the largest work surface area for converters on the market. This allows you to place your keyboard and screen at a comfortable distance, and spread out your frequently used work tools.
- It is one of the most stable standing desk converters. Type on it however hard you might – the screen hardly wobbles.
- Market beating warranty and service. We’re proud of our 3 year local warranty and 30 days back money guarantee.
And best of all, the Altizen can be customised for whatever screen requirements you might have – single, dual screens and even laptop. Take a look here.
That’s why companies like eBay, DHL and Heidrick and Struggles regularly use our products.
If you have any questions about how to make your work space more ergonomic, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
We look forward to hearing from you!