Well, So Much for Standing Desks Being a Cure-All

Coffee, wine, and chocolate are both essential for a good diet and probably shaving years off your life. That's the message reporting seems to send, anyway. It's true that what you read about health and science can be contradictory. Now that confusion is coming for office ergonomics.

A small Australian study seems to back up other evidence that standing desks may not be the boon forward-thinking office workers think they are. In fact, the health risks for prolonged periods of standing (described in the research as two hours or more) include physical discomfort all over the body, increased reaction times, and drops in the ability to problem-solve. In other words, there's a good reason you gave up on standing desks after 10 minutes of trying.

That doesn't alter the fact that prolonged sitting isn't good for you. It's not just the aptly named Dead Butt Syndrome; "occupational sitting" may increase so many health risks that some lawyers believe it should be counted as a work hazard. Researchers are trying every tactic they can think of to get around it, including numerous apps and messaging reminding workers to stretch and walk around at certain intervals.

So, should you cancel your order for that treadmill desk? Ultimately, the key to health in the workplace is listening to your body. Do find ways to get movement into your daily routine. Drink water, or at least beverages without a lot of added sugar. Get outside if the weather permits. Dance at your standing desk, if that works for you. Humans are not evolved for desk jobs, it's true — compensate however you can.