How to Adjust the Work Area for Standing Desks
By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Standing while working has become increasingly popular. For employers who provide height adjustable surfaces, it is important to know the correct way for employees to use them. Although standing while working can be healthy, using height adjustable surfaces incorrectly causes ergonomics risk factors which can lead to pain and injury.
Upon delivery, set the sitting and standing heights of the surface and monitor at the right heights for the employee. If a keyboard tray is being used, it is important for it to be the correct height as well. If the surface has automatic settings, set them for the employee when the surface is delivered. If the surface does not have automatic settings, the employee can be provided with a measuring tape and notes of the measurements. Alternatively, the wall can be marked with a pin or some type of marking to indicate what heights the surface should be while standing and sitting.
When doing ergonomic assessments, Solutions Northwest educates employees on the following procedures when a sit-stand surface is used:
Tips for Working While Standing
Your Feet and Legs:
- Whenever possible, move while you stand. Standing is not moving.
- Point your toes forward.
- Keep your weight evenly on both legs.
- Keep your knees slightly bent, not locked.
- Elevate one foot on a footrest or ream of paper to avoid swaying your back.
- Wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning.
- Use an anti-fatigue mat. A 2’ x 3’ mat is a good size. Move it out of the way when you are using your chair. The mat should have a beveled edge which is not a tripping hazard.
- Use the anti-fatigue mat as your movement spring board.
Your Hands and Arms
- Keep your elbows by your sides, not resting on the surface.
- Recognize the symptoms of fatigue. If you are leaning on the surface, you are tired. Sit down before you are fatigued. Stand before your muscles tighten up from sitting.
Back and Shoulders
- Avoid hunching forward. Keep your head over your shoulders.
- Develop a good schedule for switching between standing and sitting.
- Do not let pain be the reminder to change your position from sitting to standing or vice versa. Change your position before pain sets in. Make note of when your body starts hurting while standing. Switch to sitting 10 minutes before the time your body started hurting while standing.
- Walk for at least five minutes every hour.
Having the newest equipment does not ensure that employees will be healthy in the workplace. Although having ergonomically correct equipment cuts back on pain and injuries, it is not the only solution. Both equipment and behaviors need to improve to reduce health risks. For more Ergonomics Tips, visit Solutions Northwest or contact one of our experts today.