Sitting at your desk each day could well be the worst thing you’re doing for your health. It might sound like an exaggerated claim, but studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time slows your metabolism, impacting your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and even break down body fat.
It can also be a matter of life and death. Research in the 1950s showed that double-decker bus drivers were twice as likely to have a heart attack as their conductor colleagues, because the latter climbed 600 stairs daily, while the former spent 90 per cent of the time seated.
The average adult now spends as much as nine hours per day sitting down, with a large proportion of this time working from a desk. But, as WFH continues to be part and parcel of many employees’ daily lives, there’s something you can do to reverse these potential health concerns. Research conducted in 2018 on NHS staff found that using sit-stand desks had favourable outcomes for job performance and increased mental health. Investing in a standing desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day can therefore get you on your feet and improve your health.
What should you look for in a standing desk?
They tend to come in two types: motorised or crank handle freestanding desks that go up and down, and those that can be placed on top of your existing desk to extend its height. Both are available in a range of heights, so if you’re under 5” or over 6”, it’s worth checking the dimensions to confirm it’ll be comfortable for use. Like any desk, the size of the desktop is another key concern, particularly if you work with multiple monitor screens or need room for a mood-boosting plant or two.
While standing desks do tend to be more expensive than your typical piece of office furniture, it’s an investment that will offer big dividends for your health and productivity.
Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk
Consider the planet as well as your health by investing in the Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk from Fully. Designed to be earth-conscious, it’s made from sustainable bamboo, which has been grown without the use of any pesticides or fertilisers and which are hand harvested to stop soil damage or erosion.
Finished off with a UV-cured top coat, this standing desk is built to stand the test of time - as well as sticky fingers, spillages and all the other side effects of home working. In testing, we were impressed by how well-made and sturdy it was, a fact that comes down to its heavy steel feet and lifting column that’s wider at the bottom than the top. It remained sturdy even at its full extension of 122.7 cm, which is tall enough for someone who’s 6”5. If you’re shorter than average, the low-frame option allows you to drop the seated desk height to 57.6 cm, with a full extension of 109.2 cm.
When it comes to designing your perfect desk, the sky’s the limit here. Choose from a rectangular or curved top, or even a corner design if you want it to fit snugly into one side of your home office, while sizes range from a spacious 120 cm x 80, all the way up to an enormous 180 cm x 80 cm. The latter is big enough for those with an extensive amount of technology, notes, potted plants or anything else you might need to hand.
Like other manufacturers, you can use your existing worktop onto one of their Jarvis Frames - a perfect compromise if you want the functionality of a standing desk but have an existing desk you love.
A five-year desktop warranty and a wildly impressive 15-year warranty on the desk frame, motor and mechanical parts explains where this is our top choice, perfect if you want to be able to design your ideal desk and are conscious about limiting your environmental impact.
Buy now £599.00, Fully
FlexiSpot Active Standing Desk EQ5
Available in fourteen slick veneer finishes and built with sturdy steel legs, this motorised standing desk is extremely easy to assemble, making it a seamless job to get it up and ready for use.
Going from seated height to standing is quick enough and it won’t cut your concentration levels. The four height presents and LED control panel allow for a very quick adjustment, whether it’s for work or for one of your kids to use for crafting. There’s also a nifty sit-stand reminder if you opt for the higher-spec model. A useful anti-collision sensor when the desk is being lowered was also something we loved in testing, which is designed to avoid catching you, your dog or any other member of your family as it goes down.
A maximum raised height of 127 cm should make this comfortable for most, even if you’re over 6” tall. The desktop is well-sized, too and can be purchased in either 120 cm x 60 cm or 140 cm x 70 cm; both are more than enough for a laptop, extra monitor and plenty of other bits and, particularly as the weight capacity is a laudable 100 kg.
Packed with useful features and fully customisable, this desk will not only look great in your home but make you feel more productive and healthier, too.
Also available at Amazon
Buy now £399.98, Flexispot
Yo-Yo Desk Pro 3
If an L-shaped desk is better suited to your office set-up, this desk from British-based Yo-Yo Desk is the answer to your WFH dreams.
We like the customisation options available with this desk, which offers a range of standard wood and solid colour desktop styles, plus more stylish finishes for an additional £25. You can even change the frame colour to match your home décor.
If you’re guilty of keeping everything but the kitchen sink on your desk, then this one’s for you. It can cope with up to 150 kg of weight, and comes in desktop sizes from a fairly standard 140 cm x 160 cm x 80 cm x 60 cm all the way up to a mammoth 180 cm x 160 cm x 80cm x 60 cm. The desk height ranges between 70cm and 123cm, which is tall enough for people up to 6”1, although, if you’re taller, the Pro 3+ extends to 130 cm, which should be comfortable for people as tall as 6”8.
Anti-collision settings and a seven-year warranty are useful additions, although you have to pay an extra £30 for memory pre-sets.
Buy now £959.95, Yo-Yo Desk
Love Ikea and not spending a fortune on office furniture? You’re in for a treat with the Trotten standing desk. Characteristically chic and designed to get the job done, without any fuss, it combines a large desktop (120 cm x 70 cm) with a heigh adjustment range between 72 cm and 122 cm that’s suitable for people up to 6”1 tall.
In typical no-frills style, there’s zero customisation available. Although, you can find similar products within the Ikea catalogue in all white or grey, or with a slightly larger desktop if this version doesn’t quite fit the bill.
At this price point, you forego a motor for a good old-fashioned crank handle; just wind it up manually to achieve the desired height. This standing desk is for those on a budget or who prefer the idea of using a bit of elbow grease each time they want to convert their desk.
Buy now £185.00, Ikea
As one of the cheapest standing desks on the market, this pared-down choice is a great option if you want more gadgets included as standard than the economical Ikea Trotten.
With 14 different desktop colours available, plus three options for the frame, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to customising the design to match your home office. It doesn’t have any pre-sets, but you can spend an extra £100 to get this functionality.
At 70 kg, the weight capacity is significantly lower than other standing desks available, so this is best for those using just a laptop to avoid it become wobbly and unstable. This can be the case when extended to the tallest height, which at 121 cm should suit the majority of desk users.
If you want to go cheaper, opt for the frame and motor alone for £179.99. You can add your existing desktop onto the frame if you’ve got one that can easily be dismantled and reattached.
Buy now £329.99, Flexispot
Yo-Yo Desk 90
Convert any desk into a standing desk in mere minutes with this desk riser: just unpack it and place it onto any work surface. Built to incorporate a split level, this desk allows you to have your monitor on one shelf and your keyboard on another down below, making for a more ergonomic standing position that doesn’t involve hunching over your keyboard. A gas spring controlled by levers allows you to adjust the height easily and without any effort on your part.
Depending on your height, you might want to consider one of the brand’s other products, with the Yo-Yo Desk Go built for people 6”-6”5 in height, and the Yo-Yo Desk Slim designed for those below 5”.
An affordable alternative to replacing your existing workstation, this desk riser was great for standing up, but was a little uncomfortable to use when seated as it added extra height to the original desk. However, if you’re wanting to test the waters before fully investing in a more expensive standing desk, this is a great introduction to the concept.
Buy now £299.95, Amazon
Inbox Zero Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Both slick and stylish, this standing desk from Vari is functional and a pleasant place to pass your time. One of the best features of this desk is the easy assembly, which took less than an hour in testing.
With the height adjustment, it can be raised to a maximum height of 116 cm or lowered to 72 cm. It’s a little shorter than competitor brands, so if you’re over 6” you’ll want to give this one a miss. However, the keypad allows you to quickly move from seated to standing, with in-built pre-sets making this a seamless process.
While it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of more expensive models, this standing desk offers the basic functionality you need for comfortable hours in the home office.
Buy now £346.99, Wayfair
For all the bells and whistles, plus a healthy dose of sustainability, invest in the completely-customisable Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk from Fully. Alternatively, the FlexiSpot Active Standing Desk EQ5 offers more than its fair share of settings and customisable options at an accessible price point and won’t look out of place in even the smartest of home office settings.