Standing desks and open plan: office designs that aren’t all they seem

by Emily on September 26, 2012

in Articles

Historically standing desks, namely desks that users stood up to use them or used a high stool, were only found in the residences and [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]offices[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]offices[/tp] of the rich. A standing desk, to be most effective, needed to be matched with the height of the user which is what made them impractical in some environments and too costly in others as bespoke office furniture was largely unheard of back in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Nowadays standing desks are used more frequently as the cost has become less prohibitive and some trades, such as those who work with architectural drawings and the like, find them extremely useful. There have been a small number of studies in recent years that hail the standing desk as a wonder in the world of sedentary workers as they reduce the pressure that sitting for long periods of time can cause and supporters claim them to be altogether healthier alternatives to the usual office seating.

Similarly, open plan offices were once hailed as the modern and most efficient way for offices to be arranged. Supporters claimed that an open plan office increased the communication opportunities between employees and gave those who were perhaps new to the environment or trade to “rub shoulders” so to speak with those more experienced, which provided additional opportunities for learning.

Standing desks and open plan offices were certainly considered to be the most modern and effective way to run an office and to increase motivation and productivity within the work force. Times have moved on however and it has become apparent that in 2012 employees have different needs, as do visitors to the office.

While standing [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]desks[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]desks[/tp] might have had a place in the 18th century and can still be used in certain trades, ergonometric seating which is especially designed to meet the needs of workers who spend any significant time at a desk counteracts the reported need to work standing up. This, alongside health and safety regulations which advocate the need to take regular breaks makes the standing desk a less attractive and potentially a less healthy alternative.

The once optimum way of arranging an office, namely open plan offices are now seen as a negative way to work rather than a positive one. On-going research into those who work in open plan spaces have uncovered a great number of factors which suggest that open plan working is not the most motivating or indeed the most productive forum for effective work. Increased levels of noise, conflict and distractions can reduce the motivation of the worker and in turn cause health issues such as stress, depression and even high blood pressure. It is also worth considering the effect that working in an open plan office can have on the issue of confidentiality.

Clearly office design ideas that were once considered the absolute best when it came to increasing productivity are now considered designs that hinder the process. An up to date design with specially designed furniture that makes the best use of space, which provides an efficient working base and which considers the overall welfare of the employees is the one which will help the business achieve more. The moral of this story is to perhaps not rely on previously used office designs but to speak to those who can help you find something that will work best for your business.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Harley Quinn September 27, 2012 at 10:24

HI,

Thanks for the informative post, this plan is really helpful for me because in our office theirs is need to work standing only so we must try this desks.

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Spinx Inc. September 28, 2012 at 13:04

Different people have different opinion however the most vital thing is that the organization’s furniture be it a standing desk or other essentials, should be designed in such a way which provides comfort to employees while they are working.

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Frank September 28, 2012 at 21:18

Hi,
I like creative office ideas. In my company everything is very cubicle-like.
After sitting the whole day at my desk i am usually very stiff.
Having the posibility to work standing for a while would be great, but I wouldn’t want to stand eight hours behind my desk…
Having a healthy office design is a good sign from the employer to his employees.

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