Congratulations on exploring a healthier way for your employees to work in 2018. However, before you buy there are important considerations to factor in to avoid making the same mistake thousands of users of sit-stand solutions have experienced.
If you’re reading this, then you have gotten the news that it’s truly beneficial for computer workers to be able to sit and stand for productivity and comfort. The Varidesk is heavily advertised as an easy and cost-effective alternative to replacing a desk.
However, the Varidesk has serious design flaws that make it unsuitable for most individuals. Instead of resolving workspace issues that can create pain and increase your worker’s comp claims, the Varidesk can create new problems.
The Varidesk is not built to fit all workers
Sadly, the Varidesk doesn’t even fit most people. This device has been built to only accommodate a small percentage of workers.
Most adults are either too tall or too short for the Varidesk. This holds true for any on-desk, sit-to-stand, Varidesk type device.
If the goal is for employees to work pain-free, whether sitting or standing, their workstations must be at the correct height.
How tall are your employees?
The Average height of a US male is 5’9.5”, and the average height of a US female is 5’4” tall and (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Jul 18, 2017).
Most contract furniture work surfaces are between 29” and 30” tall which is ideal for the 5’11″’ to 6’1” user. Most people do not fall within this range. Both those shorter, and those taller, will find that the Varidesk doesn’t have the adjustment range required for them to work in a safe posture. Those that are significantly shorter or taller than this range are at extreme risk.
Your workers less than 5’11 tall maybe too short ergonomically for the Varidesk
When the desks work surface is too high, workers stress their shoulder and arm muscles. Specifically, when these muscles are contracted throughout the day, the shoulder blades tend to ride up by your ears and stay there indefinitely. When an improper posture becomes a habit, it wreaks havoc on the neck, shoulders and upper back.
As pictured below (women in green shirt) you can clearly see the issue of using a desk riser that does not offer an adjustable keyboard tray system. Both women have done side-by-side reviews of the Varidesk and S2S Sit-Stand Workstation. The Varidesk adds another ¾” height to the desk which will increase “Shoulder Scrunch Syndrome.” This is an issue that many office workers are susceptible to when the surface is too tall. This also effects both the trapezius muscles and levator scapula muscle, which is located just below the bottom of the skull in back all the way to the inner tip of the scapula.
The image of the lady to the right (red/orange shirt) gives you a good visual of the shoulder scrunching when using the Varidesk (the green line indicates a more ergonomic typing position; the red indicates potential issues).
An additional problem we encounter (see woman in the red/orange shirt), is that being a height-challenged Varidesk user, is that the monitor on the secondary, static shelf may be positioned too high. This can also be seen in the image below (see image below-right).
This causes the typist to work with their neck in extension (head tilted back) in order to see their monitor. This may create tension or pain in the back, skull or neck. It may also lead to neck strains and pain. Conversely, with the keyboard tray work-surface being too high, the elbow will be in sustained flexion. Lastly this causes the user lean forward and lose contact with the back of the chair.
(Typing comfortably in L-shape on S2S Workstation vs. Typing in a scrunched position on the raised Varidesk Pro Plus 36).
Issues for taller users of either the Varidesk or Varidesk type Desk Riser
To further demonstrate the problems of a workstation too short, we have a 6’3” tall gentleman typing on The Varidesk Pro Plus 36, S2S Comfort Plus and S2S Sit Stand Workstation. All three stations are set at their tallest position on a 29” (standard contract furniture height) tall desk.
Varidesk Pro Plus 36 – Using a Standard 24″ Monitor
First, concerning the Varidesk, there are two major issues for a person over 6’1” or taller working on a Varidesk on a 29” high work-surface:
Varidesk keyboard tray surface:
- Varidesk keyboard is a flat surface. The best typing position is a slight negative tilt. This allows the upper arms to be relaxed and as close to the body as possible with wrists positioned in a comfortable and neutral position (like Beethoven playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano).
- The keyboard surface becomes too low which causes greater wrist extension.
Varidesk Monitor Shelf is too low:
- Neck flexion is the number one issue for a user when the monitor is too low. Every inch they lower their head to look down adds 10lbs of pressure to the neck and spine. If they are sticking the chin into their chest, they may be adding close to 40lbs of pressure to the neck. Regardless of the monitor size this solution is inappropriate for a person this tall.
S2S Comfort Plus
S2S Comfort Plus (shown to the left) is the economy version of the S2S Sit Stand Workstation. The document and keyboard tray is made out of MDF instead of steel. This is set up in its tallest position both keyboard and monitors can be adjusted down to perfectly meet anyone from 5’ 1” to 6’4” tall.
S2S Sit Stand Workstation
For demonstration purposes the S2S Sit Stand Workstation on the right is shown at its highest position and this too is a bit too tall for the for the 6’3” person. If remained at this height over time, could cause potential neck and wrist extension issues. The tallest position is ideal for someone 6’5 to 6’6” tall. The S2S Sit Stand Workstation’s monitor and keyboard tray can easily be adjusted down a couple inches to meet this gentleman’s ideal standing eye and elbow height. This is an easy arm height adjustment.
Why we like the S2S Sit Stand Workstation the Best:
When you are seeking a single solution that will work for virtually all your employees, you want a device designed to fit as wide a variety of body dimensions as possible. Thus, there is no better solution for shorter or tall office workers than the S2S Sit Stand workstation. This solution allows the keyboard tray to travel 7.31” below the work-surface, as well as allowing the keyboard tray to be positioned into a negative tilt.
The S2S Sit Stand Workstation meets HFES 100-2007 which will accommodate every office worker from 4’11” to 6’6” Tall.
The S2S is one of the most versatile desk risers with its three mounting options included in the box (clamp, grommet and through hole allows this unit to virtually be secured to any work-surface configurations including cubicle, L-shape, U-shape, shallow benching and standard rectangular desks .
- With over 22” of vertical reach via gas assisted-piston positioning, the S2S moves easily and effortlessly as users transition from seated to standing positions, which accommodates users ranging from the 5th percentile seated female to the 95th percentile standing male.
- The S2S cleverly mounts at the rear of the work surface and extends forward so the keyboard tray may rest below the desk surface supporting proper ergonomic positioning. Using this location for mounting allows the user to swing the unit out of the way leaving the desk surface fully accessible.
- The 9.5” of counter balanced height adjustment allows you to easily adjust your monitor to your ideal viewing height, also offers 45° of tilt, and 90° of portrait to landscape rotation, monitors may be ergonomically positioned for optimal viewing.
- The S2S accommodates installed technology ranging from 5 to 25lbs, specifically supporting LCD screens that weigh between 5-20 lbs.
- Ample keyboard tray & shelf space both are 28″ L x 9.2” D
- Keyboard Tray can be flipped and stowed at of your way when using your desks work surface.
- The grommet mount included with the S2S Workstation promotes endless possibilities for mounting locations, through the installation of a 5/8” mounting hole. The c-clamp mount that is also included allows the dual directional base to be installed on either 24” or 30” deep work surfaces.
- The integral dual tray system offers a spacious keyboard and mouse platform with an adjustable tilt mechanism for comfort settings, as well as a secondary surface for placing items which need to remain close at hand while working in either a seated or standing position.
- Information sharing is seamless as the monitor tower rotates independently from the work surface through 180° left and right range.
- Tested to 20,000 cycles (with the exception of the monitor tower which is supported up to 10,000 cycles) and comes with a 5 year warranty.
- Available in Black, Silver or White.
- LEED Credit Ratings – MR Credit 4.1 (Required Recycled Content, 10%) MR Credit 4.2 (Required Recycled Content, 20%)
- LEED Recyclability Calculations – Total Weight 36.04lbs (Recycled Content Total 19.6lbs, Post Industrial Total 11.6lbs, Post Consumer 7.97lbs).
Side-by-side Comparison of Sit Stand Workstations: http://blog.ergoprise.com/choosing-best-sit-stand-desk-riser-body-type-1-year-later-new-risers/
Large Selection of Desk Risers, including the S2S Comfort Plus and S2S Sit Stand Workstation: https://www.ergoprise.com/sit-stand-converters/
S2S Comfort Plus: https://www.ergoprise.com/s2s-comfort-plus-sit-stand-workstation/
S2S Sit Stand Workstation: https://www.ergoprise.com/s2s-sit-stand-workstation/