Flexible working options continue to transform office environments. Today’s workers, including millennials now entrenched in the workforce, prefer to choose where they work and how, causing organizations to rethink traditional, sedentary office spaces. Ergotron introduced the first sit-stand desk converter in 2010 with the WorkFit®-S. Now, organizations can choose between numerous sit-stand products on the market, yet many bring serious ergonomic and safety concerns into the office. In this brief, we share our top 10 design features to help you choose quality, professional-grade sit-stand desk converters.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
The most ergonomic sit-stand workstations follow the BIFMA G1-2013 standard, which uses the civilian database (CAESAR) for a basis for recommendations. This standard uses anthropometric measurements to accommodate the sitting 5th percent female up to the standing 95th percent male. Key dimensions include:
• Keyboard tray height
• Eye level from the top of the display
• Distance between the keyboard tray and eye level
As a best practice, Ergotron follows two dynamic height adjustment ranges to meet the needs of our customers both sitting and standing:
• 16 inches (40.6 cm): Basic workstation for individual users
• 18–20 inches (45.7–50.8 cm): Ergonomic option for individuals or shared workstations to fit the average female to average male ranges
The 20-inch (50.8 cm) range for all users isn’t the best-case scenario. Other options are available to create comfortable, ergonomic spaces for tall and short users. Short users can increase the chair height and use a foot support. Tall users may have a keyboard tray that is too low, but they could adjust the monitor height and the keyboard angle. In both cases, monitors with an additional 5-inch (12.7 cm) height adjustment range for added comfort are ideal.
SELECTING A SAFE & RELIABLE WORKSATION
Safety and Product Certification
Even if there are no standards that apply specifically to sit-stand workstations, we can still infer requirements based on the standards for similar products, including these important U.S. standards:
• ANSI/BIFMA X5.5: This standard applies to many types of free-standing furniture. Functional loading is a critical requirement that says depending on the class and size of the surface, a product should survive up to 400 pounds (182 kg) of load without breaking or potentially causing injury.
• UL 1678 section 16.6: The standard refers to the appurtenance stability test in 16.6.1, saying: A cart, stand or entertainment center intended for use with audio and/or video equipment or a television, shall not tip over when a door, drawer, shelf or other appurtenance located within 30 inches (76.2 cm) of the floor is manipulated and loaded by applying a 50-pound (22.7 kg) weight to the top edge of the door at a point 3 inches (7.6 cm) in from the top edge.
• Other UL 1678 tests: Numerous other UL 1678 tests could apply to sit-stand workstations, including pinch safety, sharp edges, handle strength, monitor stability and wobble, and other mechanical tests that ensure a product is comfortable to use and cannot injure users.
Durability is also a major factor for consideration when purchasing sit-stand desk converters. Components like gas springs, joints, rivets or bolts, glides, and more can fail. Special tests like cycle testing, twist stability, brake cycling, intentional dynamic abuse, tip testing and packaging drop testing work to ensure quality construction. We recommend avoiding mechanical elements like gas spring lifts, which eventually lose their gas and sag, or thin, poor quality worksurfaces that chip or warp. Workers should adjust between sitting or standing multiple times a day, creating hundreds of cycles for their sit-stand desk converters each month. Quality testing should then account for 10,000–20,000 cycles under fully loaded conditions to avoid costly and disruptive replacements.
Product warranties indicate the confidence a company has in the ability of its product to perform over a long period of time. While a long warranty is a good indicator of a reputable company, we recommend that commercial buyers request a reliability performance test report from prospective vendors. Product research before making a purchase is also important. In addition to a generous warranty, 24/7 access to customer care and technical support from the actual manufacturer also helps ensure accountability.
YOUR GUIDE TO A QUALITY SIT-STAND DESIGN
While ergonomics is key, we recognize that buyers (and users!) are also concerned with aesthetics, size, ease of installation, and color or material finish. Buyers should strive to meet most of these standards and select options that fit the most workflows and body types. Look to manufacturers with a broad portfolio of sit-stand options to offer solutions that match the diversity of your workforce.
10 FEATURES OF QUALITY SIT-STAND DESK CONVERTERS
- Workstation height adjustment: ≥ 16"
- Monitor height adjustment: ≥ 5"
- Keyboard tilt: flat to -10°
- Low adjustment user forces
- Easy to adjust height, tilt and depth when loaded with technology with actual user product evaluation recommended
- Weight adjustable counterbalance with wide weight range
- To cover a wide range of displays and allow for future computer equipment changes and addition of accessories
- Instant sit-stand height repositioning
- No tools required to change position
- Ergonomic handles
- Positioned at the right location to prevent most users from bending while lifting or awkward postures
- Clean cable management
- Safe cable routing offers clean lines, easy readjustment and help prevent trip hazards
- Easy, tool-free assembly or minimum installation steps
- Safe & tested
- Manufacturer offers clearly defined testing criteria
- Durability & reliability
- Constructed of quality materials that will not break down or crack
- ≥ 5 year
For more Ergonomic tips, check out our video Find Your Fit with Ergotron: Five Ergonomic Tips
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