With nine hour work days, it’s very important to have standing desks in offices. Today, “the average individual (ages six and above) in the United States spends 7.7 h/day engaged in sedentary behaviors” (Benzo et. al., 2016). One may worry that standing while in the office could change productivity or quality of work; however, a study on processing speeds showed that participants had “better performance in processing speed when standing” (Henry, 2016). This same study posed an insightful argument, stating:
Because sitting for prolonged periods is harmful to physical health and incorporates large health costs, employers should consider standing desks as an alternative to sitting desks that could improve workplace health, and thereby reduce the associated costs without effecting an important aspect of cognition. (Henry, 2016)
This past summer I worked in an office with desks that could either be used while sitting or standing. I liked having the option to sit or stand while working. However, it was slightly difficult to learn how to move the desks up and down, to the design was flawed. There were two buttons that moved the desk —one was a small, black, 1.5 by 1.5 centimeter lock button. The other was a black, 1.5 centimeter by 3 centimeter rectangular button that was angled. It looked like the image below, however there were no arrows indicating that this button was for the desk to go up and down. Users had no way of knowing that you had to press both the lock button and the up/down button at the same time in order to move the desk.
Suggested Design Changes:
The square lock button should be removed. I’m assuming that the designers were worried about people accidentally hitting the up/down button, but in practice I didn’t see anyone accidentally press this. Also, the up/down button should be labeled so that desk-users know what this button does. Finally, businesses that have already purchased these desks should include an overview of how the desks work in their new employee introductions.
Benzo, Roberto, et al. “Learning to Stand: The Acceptability and Feasibility of Introducing Standing Desks into College Classrooms.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 13, no. 8, 2016, pp. 1–11.
Henry, Aaron N., et al. “Thinking Whilst Standing: an Examination of the Effects of Standing Desks on Cognitive Processing Speed.” Unitec Institute of Technology, 2016.