For freelancers and small business owners, long days and weary nights spent hunched over a laptop come as standard.
Re-filling the coffee pot is probably your main reason for standing up. It’s hardly a healthy existence, all that sitting and slouching, yet half the time you probably don’t realise you’re doing it.
But if you knew this sedentary lifestyle was killing you, would you do something about it?
That’s what public health groups are campaigning for. They’re working to raise awareness of the very real physical dangers of long hours sitting at a desk, and are aiming to shake-up stagnant office culture by bringing more movement into the workplace.
An official set of guidelines, released by Public Health England and Active Working CIC, was constructed based on advice and research by an international group of experts. In it, they recommend:
For those occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours).
To achieve this, seated-based work should be regularly broken up with standing-based work, the use of sit–stand desks, or the taking of short active standing breaks.
The report draws on “an accelerated amount of evidence” over the past five years that highlights worrying links between sedentary behavior and serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Spending more time on your feet in the office isn’t guaranteed to fix all ills. But this research – and plenty more like it – suggests it could play an important part in preventing the development of life-threatening health issues.
There’s just one problem.
What if you can’t afford a sit-stand desk?
Let’s be honest. Many home-based startups and freelancers don’t have a spare couple of thousand dollars to splurge on a shiny new motorized desk. More likely, that sort of money is going straight back into your growing business, or it’s already been swallowed up by the mortgage.
On the other hand, when you’re working from home, a desk is one of the few very basic yet highly essential pieces of equipment you need to operate your business. Don’t kid yourself, you can’t work from the kitchen table forever. You need a good desk.
So we’ve scoured the deep, dark depths of the office furniture market to bring you five affordable sit-stand desks that might just fit within budget.
(And if they don’t, check out this ingenious $20 build-it-yourself hack)
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1) StandDesk standdesk.co
StandDesk bill their product as “the world’s most affordable electronic sit-to-stand desk”, so it’s a good place to start. You can tailor your desk with tabletop and frame colour, and optional extras like a cable tray (there’s also something ominous called ‘Memory Control’). A quick price-up of a standard 2-button desk with a laminate top came in at $488.99.
2) VARIDESK varidesk.com
Unlike the ‘classic’ sit-stand desk, VARIDESK is a retrofit bit of kit that works with an existing fixed-height desk. It’s essentially a computer platform that fixes on top of your desk, and can be raised up by pulling the handles on either side. Models start at $275.
3) ErgoDesktop ergodesktop.com
Another variation on the desktop platform is Ergo’s Kangaroo range, which comes in multiple variations to suit different standing heights, styles and budgets. Models start at $279.
4) Stand Up Desk Store standupdeskstore.com
The Stand Up Desk Store has a good selection of sit-stand desks, both motorized and crank adjustable, which are featured on their website. Online products were posted with ‘starting from’ prices as low as $149 for smaller crank-adjustable desks, with electric controlled versions starting at $399.
5) IKEA, Bekant ikea.com
When it comes to efficient furniture, IKEA always has a solution. Its Bekant desk range features electronic height-adjustable versions, with prices starting from $489.
All prices correct as of 28th August 2015, as advertised on the merchants’ websites.
Still think you can’t afford a good desk? Take a closer look at these sit-stand varieties and let us know what you think.