The health and productivity benefits of standing desks

March 1, 2023
6 minute read
Cristian Halati

Standing desks are a relatively new occurrence in homes and the workplace, their popularity having been bolstered in the past few years by the increasingly prevalent remove work culture.

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many are wondering about what benefits standing desks have, if any.

Read on to learn more, as we provide an in-depth exploration of the benefits of standing desks and discuss what the latest research has to say about the impact on using a standing desk on health and productivity. Let’s get started!

Sedentarism and why it’s bad for you

To understand whether investing in a standing desk is a smart idea, we’ll first need to take a look at how sedentary behaviour impacts health.

You’ve probably already heard that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you. That’s because sitting is essentially a form of sedentary behaviour. This is defined as any behaviour (excluding sleep) that involves low levels of energy expenditure. Besides sitting, other forms of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, reading, driving and general leisure time.

Sedentary behaviour is widely acknowledged as a factor that leads to negative health consequences. It’s a known risk factor for all-cause mortality, it contributes to development and death due to cardiovascular disease, cancer and even Type 2 Diabetes. The risks are further elevated in individuals that engage in little to no regular physical activity.

Are standing desks good for your health?

We’ve seen that sitting for long periods of time can have grave implications on your health. This is where standing desks come in.  

To cut to the chase, yes – standing desks do have significant health benefits.  

But there’s a catch. To reap the benefits, you must actively use a standing desk to reduce the time you spend sitting down. Essentially, using a standing desk to reduce your sedentary behaviour allows you to avoid all the negative health risks posed by engaging in sustained sedentary behaviour.  

Several studies carried out in this area have associated long-term standing desk usage with significant improvements in health markers such as the level of triglycerides in the blood, and reductions in insulin resistance.  

That being said, the benefits of standing desks are quite a new area of research, and as such, more evidence is required to support this claim, though it does appear that the scientific community is getting closer and closer to a consensus in this area.  

Do standing desks increase productivity?

Studies have also examined whether standing desks impact productivity. The consensus so far is that standing while working appears to have no discernible impact on productivity-related metrics such as overall performance, typing proficiency, reading comprehension, creativity, attention to detail, speaking quality, short-term memory and information processing.  

Furthermore, the research carried out in this field so far has reported that standing while working does not impact subjective factors such as how difficult people perceive tasks to be, and how much effort is perceived as being required to complete certain tasks.  

However, some studies have reported small improvements in:

Overall, using a standing desk does not negatively influence work productivity. In fact, as seen above, standing while working may provide some small productivity benefits.

Are standing desks worth it?

In short, yes. Incorporating a standing desk into your daily routine will allow you to reduce your sedentary behaviour and avoid the negative impacts of sitting down for long periods of time at your desk.  

What’s more, though using a standing desk won’t do wonders for your productivity, it could still provide a worthwhile boost in alertness levels, making it easier for you to be engaged in the task at hand. Overall, if you find yourself sitting for hours upon hours every day, considering a standing desk is not a bad idea!  

Handy resources

Check out the official NHS advice on reducing sitting time and getting adequate levels of exercise.

Do you have any additional questions about using a standing desk? Get in touch with our friendly, professional pharmacy team who can offer you guidance and advice.

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