Today I would like to help you answer the question, “what is a sit-stand workstation?” and give you some tips on how to choose one that will fit your needs. You may have heard this term tossed around in recent years, as these workstations are becoming increasingly popular whether you work in an office or work from home. I hope you will continue reading and we can help you find just the right one for your workspace.
If you have not seen or heard of a sit-stand desk, you probably have, and you just do not know it. You may have seen people in your office standing up at work and wondered why or how they are doing that. Well, most likely they are using one of these adjustable desks.
The basic premise behind the sit-stand desk, workstation, or desk converter (as they are sometimes called), is that you can stand up and work at your computer, just like when you are sitting. Your monitor and keyboard will easily move with you as you stand up.
These units give you the ability to sit or stand at your desk and align your keyboard, mouse, and monitors to the appropriate height.
A sit-stand solution will use your existing desk and either sit on top of it or clamp onto it. Most commonly, the entire desk does not move up and down with you, although there are models that do this.
Sit-Stand vs. Stand-Up
The sit-stand variety is different from a straight stand up desk. The difference is that with a sit-stand, you have the option, wait for it, you guessed it, to sit or stand.
Sometimes when people talk about a stand-up desk, they are talking specifically about a desk that is built for your standing height and does not move, it’s literally just a stand-up desk. So there are some subtle differences in the terminology.
The units I am addressing here sit on or attach to, your desk, and you move the monitor, keyboard, and mouse with you when you stand up.
After I had a pretty bad back injury in 2015, my chiropractor recommended a sit-stand workstation for me as I move forward with my recovery. He suggested a sit-stand variety vs. a stand-up desk this way I can vary my posture throughout the day.
It’s tough to stand all day, so moving about every thirty minutes from sitting to standing is a great thing to do.
I notice that my hips and hamstrings get tight if I sit too much, which leads to an achy back, so I like to change it up often, throughout the day. Many people use them to combat back problems, and some people just love to stand up now and then.
I used to flip two metal garbage cans over, put my monitors on top and use a wooden platform I built and called that my sit-stand desk. Today, I use my Ergotron WorkFit TL all the time. It does make it a little challenging to put my feet up though.
There are some noted health benefits of standing vs. sitting; you can check out this article here for more on that.
Here are some things to consider when you are looking for a solution for your workspace.
Manual or electric
One thing to decide on is whether you want to raise and lower the desk manually, or with an electric lift.
With a manual lift, you have to remember that you are not only raising the workstation, but also all of the equipment that is on it.
Some of the units come with gas loaded springs which makes the job easier for sure, but if you have a severe back problem, or have trouble lifting, you may not want a manual lift. There are paddles on the side of the unit, and you lift the handles, and the desk starts to move, it’s pretty cool.
I would say that for most people this is not a problem, but it is something to think about.
An electric lift is helpful whether you have a bad back or not. All you do is push a button, and voila, the desk is lifted for you. These usually come with a built-in USB port as well, so you can charge your devices quickly. The downside of the electric is that often, not always, they are more expensive. The prices on these units have come down, but in some cases, electric units cost more than the manual counterparts.
How much workspace do you need?
Things to consider here are:
- Do you take a lot of notes on paper? Or do you have a lot of other items on your desk? If so, you may want a larger work surface, especially if you place dual monitors on top of the deck. The desks will come in a variety of widths, like 30 inches, 36 inches, some even 48 inches. It’s up to you how much workspace you want or need.
- Some of the models will be compatible with monitor mounts. Monitor mounts will allow you to mount the monitors up and off the work surface itself. This will allow you more space for notes, a calculator, or whatever else you may want on your work surface. Just remember that you will have a limited amount of space, especially with dual monitors sitting on top. By the time you put dual monitors on top of the station, there isn’t a whole lot of room for a lot of other stuff, so you can either purchase a workstation that provides more space or look for one that will allow for a monitor mount.
- Do you need space for dual monitors, or one monitor and a laptop? Some people set these up with using a laptop as one screen and also use a second or even third monitor with it. Just something to keep in mind when choosing your size.
How much space do you have?
If you are cramped for space, you will be limited to which size of workstation will fit in your work area. There are smaller units to consider, but this is just something to keep in mind. Also, the smaller your sit-stand desk is, the less room for notes, and other accessories you might use throughout the day.
Do you really need one?
After using my sit-stand desk for about two years, I cannot imagine going without one. I switch from sitting to standing about every 30 minutes. Standing for extended periods took some time to build up to because having a desk job, I was not used to being on my feet that much. Believe it or not, standing a lot during the day takes a lot out of you.
To answer this question, I highly recommend a sit-stand workstation, desk, whatever you want to call it. When I get tired, mentally, I will stand up, and that helps to get the blood flowing, and I feel more awake.
Conclusion: What Is A Sit Stand Workstation
I hope you have a better understanding of what a sit-stand workstation is, and things to consider when choosing a model for your home or office. These have really come down in price over the years, and you can purchase one now for a few hundred bucks and really help your back.