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Setting up a workstation for a healthier you

Paul Mah | May 27, 2016
There are plenty of gadgets you can buy to make spending every day at your desk or in a cube. But how exactly are you supposed to set all that stuff up to ensure those excellent ergonomics? Read on…

Adjustable-height desks

While one of the core tenets of office ergonomics is to sit at 90-degree angle, there is ample evidence that sitting still for long hours a day is not healthy, so you might want to explore the possibility of moving to an adjustable-height desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing during the workday.

There are two main categories of such desks: motorized models, such as those from Uplift Desk, which must be plugged into wall sockets, and models that are adjusted manually. Basic motorized desks typically come with simple “up” and “down” buttons, while more sophisticated models may have programmable buttons for specific positions or even digital displays that show the height of the desk.

The majority of manual adjustable desks are equipped with cranks that raise or lower the desktop to the desired height. However, there are some that don’t have cranks and instead feature a mechanism that allows the user to simple pull the desktop to the desired height, at which point it is secured with an integrated brake. Ergotron offers a line of non-crank adjustable desks.

One way to get the advantages of an adjustable-height workstation without buying a new desk is to get an adjustable monitor-and-keyboard holder that can be mounted on your existing desk. Again, Ergotron offers several products for retrofitting existing desks, including desks with narrow depths, though a quick search on Amazon reveals a bunch of similar offerings.

The Ergotron WorkFit-S series has a relatively narrow footprint and converts a normal desk into an adjustable-height workstation.

Ultimately, hardware is only part of the solution. There’s no substitute from taking regular breaks to stretch and walk around. You can also periodically alternate tasks — instead of, say, typing a document, you could switch to reading a report or dictating an email message with speech-recognition software. Most of all, remember that nothing quite beats adopting a healthy, non-sedentary lifestyle outside the office.


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