As I write this post on April 24, 2016, a search on Google for the “dangers of sitting” results in 36,200,000 hits. There is no lack of information on the dangers of sitting in today’s technologically connected world and consumers are more knowledgeable than ever. This increasing awareness is driving one of the hottest trends in the commercial office furniture industry…adjustable height workcenters.
The adjustable height workcenter is the gold standard in terms of the functionality offered to the end user. Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for a variety of reasons with cost sometimes acting as a barrier for purchase. Enter the “stack on desk” solution. They are simple and easy to install and to the unknowing consumer, they appear to offer a great alternative to the more expensive and labor intensive adjustable height workcenter.
The manufacturer above positions it’s product as a “sit to stand” solution. This same claim is being used by a number of manufacturers in the industry when in reality their statement is false or at least misleading to the uneducated consumer.
The guy on the right is using the product in a standing position with good posture. The girl on the left is using the product in a seated position with poor posture. Reference the chart below and the biggest discrepancy you see is that her elbows are extended away from her body. Granted she is holding a cup but even if she was keying, her arms would still be extended from her body putting her upper back, neck, and shoulder muscles all under stress and strain.
Let me be very clear. The product above offers a solid standing solution. There are however two main drawbacks. It takes up a huge amount of worksurface, and it doesn’t offer a proper seated solution for the vast majority of end users. The standard height desk in the industry is 29″. The unit above when adjusted to the “seated” position actually adds to this 29″ base. The only problem is that male or female, you have to be approximately 6’3″ to sit correctly at a 29″ worksurface with no ergonomic support.
Note in the chart above the Female in the 5%. She is approximately 5′ tall and her recommended keying height while seated is 22.4″. This is the measurement from her hands to the floor when seated properly. This is far below the 29″ standard sized desk that most people use.
Notice also the Female in the 95%. She is approximately 5’10” tall and her recommended keying height while seated is 27″ which is still below the 29″ standard. Finally notice the Male in the 95%. At 6’3″ he finally has a shot to sit correctly at a 29″ desk without ergo support…ie a keyboard tray or possibly a foot stool.
As the chart above supports, the vast majority of end users should be using a lower worksurface than the 29″ standard. This can be accomplished by using an adjustable height workcenter or simply by making use of a quality keyboard platform. The main idea is to adapt the workspace to fit the individual. To ignore this idea is to force the individual to adapt their body to the workspace which often leads to workplace injuries in the form of muscular skeletal disorders.
For the end user desiring a true sit to stand solution that offers proper seated support when an adjustable height workcenter is not an option, there are valid solutions on the market. The Solace below from Workrite Ergonomics offers a range of adjustability that places it in a very select group within the industry.
Solace offers the following basic features:
- Keyboard platform adjusts from 7″ below the worksurface to 18″ above. This range of motion will accommodate the majority of end users both seated and standing.
- Can be easily mounted to the back of the worksurface using the built-in
C-clamp or Grommet mount.
- A reversible base that enables it to be used with virtually any size desk.
- Available with Workrite’s Standard or Revo adjustable keyboard platforms.
- Optional dual monitor adaptor kit enables you to reconfigure quickly and seamlessly from one monitor to two.
- Solace is simple to install, features a wide adjustment range and can be easily adapted to provide a uniquely personalized workspace for any user.
One of biggest strengths of Solace is its ease of use. There are no buttons to push or handles to squeeze. For someone who is seeking a sit to stand solution because of existing pain issues, the challenge of adjusting some of the competitive products available in the market can be counter productive. With Solace, this will never be an issue as the overall unit can be adjusted with very little effort.
The secondary worksurface is also a big plus for keeping the focus of your work and tools right in front of you rather than having to twist, bend, and reach down to your primary worksurface. Finally, Solace takes up very little desk space and has the capacity to be placed in a stored position when not in use. The flexibility of going from sit to stand to stored with minimal effort makes Solace an extremely fluid and intuitive product solution.
Closing thoughts for my readers:
Our body is not designed to sit or stand for long periods of time. Our body craves movement and a sit to stand solution is one of the best ways to accomplish this in the workplace. Remember, not all products are created equal so be sure to do your homework before making an investment. In many cases in life you get what you pay for and the simple and inexpensive solution is not always the best.
If you have doubts or questions about the ergonomics of your workspace, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. As a Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist level II, I do assessments for my clients on a regular basis and always welcome new opportunities to serve.