Ergonomic Chairs vs. Standing Desks


There are few things in life that can squander productivity more than discomfort.  With the average person spending about 90,000 hours—or a third of one’s life—in his or her work environment, it is absolutely imperative to create the most optimal conditions possible in order to maximize well-being and efficiency.

With over 83% of workers reporting work-day stress, employers everywhere should be asking themselves what it is they can do better to make sure their employees feel their best, thus yielding the greatest desired outcomes for the company as a whole. Additionally, those who work from home should seriously consider their surroundings in order to set themselves up for success.

Physical comfort and well-being are perhaps the most controllable variables in a work environment. Studies show prolonged sitting in a standard desk chair can lead to a number of health problems such as obesity, bad posture, muscle pain, depression, and more.

Thankfully, there are two perfectly attainable solutions to this very intimidating problem: standing desks and ergonomic chairs. Which one is better? 

Standing Desks

Standing desks have been all the rage for a few years now. It is difficult to find an office which doesn’t boast at least one of these modern office marvels. In fact, the interest in standing desks increased by over 20% in the year 2021 compared to the year before meaning their popularity continues to increase over the years.

It is easy to see why they have been so well-received. Because of the many studies revealing the risks of a sedentary lifestyle, people have sought standing desks as a way to preemptively avoid health risks of continual sitting. 

Standing desks allow for better posture than the average desk chair, helping to correct back and neck pain, and even prevent chronic pain. They also promote better circulation throughout your body, decreasing risks for blot clots and optimizing oxygen flow to organ systems. This results in better focus, energy, and overall better health. Additionally, standing proves to burn more calories than sitting, so standing desks naturally provide a better caloric impact throughout one’s day, helping to prevent obesity and partnering illnesses.

But are standing desks always practical? Another option is the ergonomic office chair.

Ergonomic Chairs

Perhaps not everyone would be fully comfortable—or fully capable—of standing at a desk for an entire day. When this isn’t a feasible option, there is an alternative method to allow for more comfort and better health benefits than a standard desk chair—the ergonomic chair. 

The application of ergonomics to office workplaces happened in the 1950s, when office workers started to complain of pain “caused from prolonged sitting”. The very first ergonomic chair was built a decade later by Wilfred Dauphin, who had the idea to create a chair which “allowed sitters to adjust the back and seat height”. This was a truly innovative design which has continued to evolve.

The obvious benefits of ergonomic chairs are their adjustable settings, but why is this so important for health? The ability for adjustment means the user can mold the chair to his body’s measurements. In turn, the user can choose the settings which are most comfortable and promote correct posture. The best position for your body while sitting is to have your feet on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle, parallel to the hips. Not only does this position give you the most comfortable experience, it takes the pressure off the hips, reduces back pain, and mitigates risk of neck problems. Unless a traditional desk chair happens to fit your body perfectly, you will be remiss to find the same advantages apart from an ergonomic chair. 

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Which to Choose?

The choice between a standing desk or an ergonomic chair really depends on the needs of the user. If the user is in overall good health, finds standing all day to be achievable, and has no health issues which makes its use impractical, a standing desk would be a good choice considering its many benefits.

However, many may opt for the practicality of an ergonomic chair which offers many of the same benefits without the fatigue of standing. Perhaps it is a better choice for those who suffer from a long-term injury, are pregnant, or might need more support throughout the day. 

Of course, there are also other options out there that you can consider like the ergonomic stool but ergonomic chairs and standing desks are some of the most popular options.

Knowing your body and figuring out what is best for your health is the number one goal.

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