Height-Adjustable v. Traditional Desks: The Cost of Being Stationary

When considering the purchase of a height-adjustable desk versus a traditional stationary desk the first question is typically regarding the difference in cost. The simple answer is that height-adjustable desks are more expensive than stationary desks. Two to three times more expensive to be exact. Add in desk mount accessories such as a monitor arm and CPU holder to ensure the safety of valuable equipment, it seems an easy choice where budget is the only consideration.

However, the cost of the desk itself should not be the only factor. In the last few decades job tasks like getting up to fetch a file, checking equipment, monitoring a conveyor system, or even going to a meeting have been streamlined with modern software, cameras, and communication systems. Productivity is a definite benefit, but this has caused the workforce to become stationary. The need to get up and move several times per day is reduced to once or twice and as a result, statistics show a dramatic increase in health issues and workplace injuries associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time.

While standing can relieve pressure on the back and legs, stretch muscles, and improve circulation, the work surface can also adjust to correctly align with the desk chair in the sitting position. This is not always possible with a stationary desk especially for those not in the 95th percentile (you know what I’m talking about). Proper alignment can be challenging for feet to rest on the floor and align shoulders, elbows, and forearms for correct typing height. If changing position and setting your desk at the proper height prevents a repetitive injury, think of the money saved rather than having to make a trip to the doctor’s office and any subsequent surgery or physical therapy.

Something else to ponder, as companies are asking employees to return to the office, managers are considering the success of employees’ ability to work remotely. Some companies are offering flexible schedules and shared workspace cutting their square footage requirements and lowering rent. In some cases, the stationary desk can be set to an appropriate height for one person but may not fit the next person to use that space, so this would be the perfect scenario for a height-adjustable option. It may cost more upfront, but the savings would be realized in lower rent.

When given a choice, employees are more likely to choose a height-adjustable desk and employers are happy to oblige. With a reported correlation with increased productivity and job satisfaction, company heads are taking into account the cost to attract and retain top talent versus recruiting and replacing them. The initial investment may be more, but the savings could potentially make up for it in the end.

Did you know that IDO specializes in workplace planning and wellbeing? Does your organization need assistance with updating your workplace furniture and offering more flexible desks or seating options for your most valued assets? Click here to connect with us about your goals and needs.

Written by Julie Burroughs