Back to Basics: All You Need to Know About Standing Desks

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If you are new to the world of ergonomic furniture and standing desks and are looking for more information before you consider getting one for your workspace, then this post is for you! We’re going back to the basics of standing desks and share everything you need to know about them.

In Canada, standing desks have started to gain popularity in recent years because of the growing cases of back pain among Canadians. In fact, research finds that about 80% of working individuals in the country experience back pain in their lifetime. And, this leads to as high as $12B in medical costs every year! Because of this, many people have started to recognize the importance of creating a healthier, more ergonomic workspace that will allow them to move more and combat prolonged sitting.

This is where standing desks come in.

women on standing desks

What are standing desks?

Standing desks are so much like your regular desks, except you can adjust their height from low to high. Because of this, you can sit or stand while working using just one desk! It is this capability of the standing desk that's given it so many other names:

  • Stand-up desk, because it allows you to stand while working
  • Height adjustable desk, because you can adjust the height from low to high and vice versa
  • Sit stand desk, because you can use it either sitting or standing
standing desk set up

The two types of standing desks

Most standing desks work the same way—they move up or down to adjust to the user’s height and position, whether sitting or standing. You can achieve this in two ways.

Manual/Crank-operated standing desks

These are among the earliest models of standing desks. They come with a rotary crank that you can manually adjust up or down until you reach the correct desk height, and then a locking system will keep the table on the said height.

This is the cheaper type, but rotating the crank takes some effort and can discourage a user from regularly shifting from sitting to standing, and back, as needed. This is the reason the second type of standing desk has been developed.

Electric standing desks

This is an upgrade to the older, manual type of standing desks. Electric desks are equipped with either a single or dual motors that handle the height adjustment of the desk. Paired with a memory keypad, the motor enables the desk to move up or down with just a press of a button. And, some desks can do this very fast and with minimal noise, so it’s easy to incorporate standing into your daily working lifestyle until it becomes a habit.

Electric standing desks are generally more expensive than the crank type standing desks, but the investment is worth it.

In Canada, sit-stand desks are available in both the manual and the automatic type, and all you have to do is to choose the one that will work best with your current work lifestyle.

woman working on a standing desk

The different parts of an electric standing desk

An automatic standing desk will have most or all of the parts you will find in any regular fixed-height desk, with a few additions.

Standing Desk Frame

The frame provides the complete support you need from your desk, and it is usually made from high-grade stainless steel. It largely determines the desk’s lifting capacity, as well as its stability and steadiness as it moves up or down. The higher the quality of the standing desk frame, the more support you can expect from it.

Standing Desk Table Top

This is the actual surface that carries all the equipment you use at work, from your laptop or desktop and monitor to your files, the mug you use when working, even the plant you have on display. The size of the table top determines the size of the standing desk (small, medium, large, or extra-large), and its shape determines the style of the desk (regular, L-shaped, etc.).

The table top is also customizable, so it’s the one part of your standing desk that you can play with in order to create the look you want in your space. Most table tops come in a neutral color (white, black, gray, brown), but there are tops that come in bolder shades. In fact, some are so specifically customized that they become works of art, such as this standing desk table top.

standing desk motor

Standing Desk Motor

This is the source of power of any electric standing desk, and it largely determines just how well the desk will handle its load, especially as it moves up or down. How fast will the desk move? And how noisy will it be? A good motor will ensure a smooth desk movement under any load within the weight limit.

Because of the major role the motor plays in the operation of a standing desk, many are particular with the type of motor that operates their desk. One of the top motors you will find is from the German manufacturer, Bosch. It’s powerful, solid, and reliable. Standing desks with a Bosch motor are in high demand, and for good reason.

Standing Desk Memory Keypad

This is a simple keypad that’s very straightforward to use. Together with the motor, this allows the desk to be adjusted up or down and to be set at a specific height. If the desk will have different users, it’s helpful for each user to have a specific height preset in the desk so that all the user has to do is to press one button and the desk will adjust to that specific height right away.

Different memory keypads will allow for different preset heights. The MotionGrey Standing Desk we have in our catalog will allow you to set up to 4 different heights.

standing desk memory keypad

Standing Desk Accessories

Some desks are equipped with different extra add-ons that will help make your life easier. Some desks come with a USB port from which you can charge your gadgets. Others are equipped with grommets to help you keep your wires organized.

There are also standing desks built with provisions for attaching other accessories, such as a CPU mount for your computer, so it’s easy to customize and make your desk your very own complete workstation.

Why invest in standing desks?

So we’ve shared what a standing desk is, what the two types of desks are, and what its parts are. But what are its benefits? Check out these top 3 reasons to get a standing desk:

Back pain relief

This is perhaps the instant, most immediate result you will get from using a standing desk—reduction in back pain. A study showed up to 50% reduction in back pain is possible with the use of a standing desk. By alternating between sitting and standing throughout your working day, you increase your movement and the amount of time your body is active. This can significantly reduce tension on your back, thus giving you pain relief.

Reduced blood sugar

This benefit is especially evident after a meal when people’s sugar level usually spikes. It’s been found that the sugar level of people who stand after eating returns to normal faster compared to those who sit after a meal. With this alone, it’s easy to say that a standing desk can help you combat and prevent conditions such as diabetes and obesity, including heart problems.

Improved circulation

This translates to an increase in energy level and productivity. Standing and movement enable oxygen and blood to flow freely throughout the body. Enough blood flow will keep the muscles active, while oxygen in the brain will keep you alert and productive. If you need to focus on a task for long periods of time, or if you want to combat low energy in the afternoon, stand while working.

man on standing desk

Tips to properly use a sit-stand desk

If you’ve finally decided to invest in a standing desk, we’re sharing three tips to help you get the best out of your new adjustable desk.

Set to your correct height

A standing desk will work best when set to a height that is right for you, allowing you to work on your computer in your natural standing position—your back and shoulders straight without the need to hunch and your arms and wrists comfortably positioned on the desk’s surface. Check this guide for proper standing.

Find the right balance between sitting and standing

While prolonged sitting is detrimental to your health, prolonged standing is also harmful. The first thing to remember when starting to practice sitting and standing at work is to not rush into it. Do not expect to be standing for a long period of time in the beginning; allow yourself to gradually become more comfortable standing as days pass. For a guide on standing more, check out one of our old blog posts.

Invest in an anti-fatigue mat

An anti-fatigue mat is designed to absorb some of the pressure between your feet and legs and the concrete floor you are standing on. It will protect your legs from fatigue and allow you to stand longer, all while keeping your leg muscles active. Find one to go with your standing desk and make standing easier.

woman standing while working

Check out the MotionGrey standing desk!

Are you ready for your new standing desk? If you’re in Canada, the standing desk in our catalog is a top choice especially if you want to make the shift from all day sitting to a healthy alternate between sitting and standing as you work.

Here’s a quick glimpse of the features:

  • Powerful Bosch motors
  • 200-250 lbs lifting capacity
  • 5”/sec lifting speed
  • 45dB lifting noise

To read the complete features and review of the MotionGrey standing desk, check this blog post. Start shopping and start living healthier today!

About Us

MotionGrey is a Canadian standing desk company that specializes in ergonomic furniture. We supply and install only the best quality standing desks and ergonomic chairs in the country.

Our products are designed with wellness as the focal point. From our electric standing desks to our office and gaming chairs, we deliver best value by putting your health, safety, and comfort as top priority. Boost your creativity and level up work performance. We want you to create great outcomes so we’re providing you only the best tools to make them possible.
Click here to view our selection of products. Got questions?

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