Since the dawn of the 9-to-5 workday, a debate has raged on near water coolers everywhere—which reigns supreme, the standing desk or the sitting desk?

Truth be told, there are merits on both sides of the aisle. For the pro-sitting desk faction, many tout a traditional desk’s comfort, while it’s been documented that standing desks can provide potential health and productivity benefits. 

But which side is correct? How tall should a desk be?

Today, we’ll discuss a standing desk vs. a sitting desk so that you can make your stand (or seat). 

Pros of a Sitting Desk 

Historically, if you were to think of an office desk, a sitting desk would be the image that came to mind. It’s the way business has always been conducted in the modern world and still how the majority of people work, be they elementary school students or office workers.  

With an ergonomic chair, the right office desk, and proper posture—that’s the truly important part— a sitting desk provides an ideal workplace. Reasons why many workers prefer a standing desk include:

  • Comfort – The vast majority of white-collar workers who spend 6 to 8 hours in front of their computer or on the phone will prefer to sit rather than stand because it’s more comfortable for them.  
  • Health (in some cases) – For some workers, sitting for a long period may be a more practical or even healthier solution, especially for those who have suffered injuries to their legs or back, or for those who have a circulatory illness like heart disease or abnormal blood pressure. 
  • Occupational advantages – For certain jobs and tasks, such as drawing or writing, prolonged sitting is often more advantageous.
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The Science of Sitting

That said, just because it’s the way that businesses have always operated doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential drawbacks. Multiple studies have readily demonstrated that prolonged periods of sedentary time have strong correlations with negative health effects, including: 

  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Reduced blood flow to the legs and brain
  • Reduced blood vessel health

If you’re concerned about these issues, the good news is that you can address many of them by taking regular “breaks” from sitting where you get up, walk around, and stretch your limbs. And, as mentioned, if you can avoid slumping over your screen by practicing proper posture, many of the negative impacts of sitting for a prolonged period can be avoided. 

What’s that look like? According to the Mayoclinic, you should:

  • Adjust your chair height so that your knees are level with your hips
  • Place your feet flat on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees
  • Hold your wrists straight, with your hands at or below your elbows
  • Keep the monitor an arm’s length away
  • Sit straight with your shoulder relaxed

Pros of a Standing Desk 

Over the last decade, standing desks have become a popular alternative to the traditional sitting desk in contemporary office design. Of course, it requires a bit more effort since standing is more strenuous than prolonged sitting. But those people that have switched to the standing option often report the following benefits: 

  • A moderate increase in calories burned – Because standing takes more effort and energy, you will burn more calories. But not that much more. According to Harvard Health, you burn an additional 8 calories/hour compared to sitting. 
  • Ergonomic benefits – If the desk is set up properly, the biggest advantage of a standing desk is that it forces you to have better posture, with your chin parallel to the floor, even shoulders and hips, and a neutral spine. 
  • Reduced body aches – When you sit slouched forward with rounded shoulders and a protruding neck it can compress the muscles in the neck and weaken your core, which can result in headaches, shoulder, and low back pain. 
  • Focus and energy boost – Although it’s difficult to quantify, several studies have demonstrated that participants who use standing desks report less stress and fatigue, with increased vigor and energy throughout the day. 

A Disclaimer on Desks Preferences 

Even if you were to go by the science of standing vs sitting, the verdict is still out on whether a standing or sitting desk is best. 

Put simply, the right decision for the best desk for your private office design depends on you, and it’s ultimately a matter of preference. 

Find the Perfect Fit at Juniper Office

In the debate over standing vs sitting desks, there’s a slight health advantage to standing, especially if you practice poor posture. But besides that, the answer comes down to preference. 

Fortunately, a height-adjustable desk that allows you to sit or stand when you like is the perfect compromise. That way, your work habits can shift with your temperament. When you feel like standing, simply adjust it. And when you feel like sitting, pull up an ergonomic chair and work comfortably.

At Juniper Office, we have desks for all preferences. Whether you want a fixed-height desk or a height-adjustable desk, our design services can help you create a modern workstation that adapts to your needs. 

Shop and browse our desks today. 


Sources: 

  1. Annals of Internal Medicine. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M14-1651
  2. Mayoclinic. Office Ergonomics. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
  3. Harvard Health. The Truth Behind Standing Desks. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-truth-behind-standing-desks-2016092310264
  4. PubMed. Reducing occupational sitting time and improving worker health: the Take-a-Stand Project, 2011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23057991/