Review: What’s it Like to Have a Sit-Stand Desk? | Yo-Yo Desk
Denmark. The happiest country in the world, where your employer is obliged to provide you with a sit-stand desk and most people do not work Friday afternoons.
It’s also a bit of a secret that 95% of all office desks in Denmark are sit-stand desks — a workstation that can be adjusted, as the name suggests, from sitting to standing height.
While most British office workers spend the majority of their working days shackled to their chairs, gazing at computer screens and (if the obesity stats are anything to go by) grazing on snacks, over 80% of Scandinavian office workers have the freedom to sit and stand throughout the day with the help of height adjustable desks.In Denmark, it's just that little bit higher
It makes sense. Over the last 10 years, an increasing body of scientific research suggests that spending long periods of time on our behinds isn’t just contributing to the national obesity epidemic - it’s also making us more prone to diabetes, heart problems, some cancers and premature death. Scientists are even saying an hour in the gym after work won’t counteract the dangers of sitting all day.
Somewhat unsettling. Especially if you, like me, depend on a computer to make a living. I’ve always found it difficult physically and mentally to sit still for long periods. At the age of 21, I slipped a disc in the gym and ended up with sciatica for at least 10 months of my life. Sciatica causes persistent agonising pain up and down the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the toes and makes it difficult to carry out everyday activities. Suffice it to say, sitting for eight and a half hours a day in an office was not conducive to recovery! I wasn’t the only one. Chronic (long-term) pain affects one in 10 people in Britain, and a massive one in four Brits will experience some form of back pain in their lives.
Our sedentary working culture is only making this problem worse. We’re not built to sit. And yet many of us do so for over 14 hours a day – in the car, at work, at home in front of the telly. When we sit, the body slows down. Heart rate is slower, oxygen flow is stilted, and digestion is sluggish. Lazy posture causes hunching and head hanging, which puts strain on the spine that can in time cause injuries — like slipped discs and resulting sciatica.
always had a feeling that more activity was the answer. Being immobilised makes you want to move. I spent countless hours in the gym doing any non-weight-bearing exercises I could, I took up Pilates and cycled to and from work. Eventually, the pain faded and life for me is back to normal (aside from a new enthusiasm for strenuous exercise). But many other people of all ages continue to suffer in offices all across the country.
Today I spend some of my working day sitting, and some standing at my Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 - the ‘top of the range’ height adjustable, electric sit-stand desk designed by Yo-Yo OFFICE. Standing boosts blood flow, activates more muscles and remarkably increases my heart rate by about 10bpm compared to sitting (I measure this with my Apple watch). In fact, one professor (Dr Mike Loosemore, Lead Consultant in Exercise Medicine at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health), says that standing for just three extra hours a day is the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year in terms of calories burnt.
There’s no doubt in my mind that height-adjustable sit-to-stand desks should be a real consideration for employers who want healthy, productive employees. But is the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 the best option? Let’s take a closer look…
Looks are important. Your office is essentially your front cover: it needs to impress. On first impressions, the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 looks like a standard, modern computer desk. Unlike the sit-to-stand surfaces designed to be placed on top of existing desks, the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 doesn’t require any additional accessories. In its seated position, you wouldn’t immediately know it was a sit-stand desk.
My model has a smart timber finish with a silver frame but there are a range of other shades available, including beech, oak, cherry, walnut, silver, black and white. The cable management system at the back ensures there’s no unnecessary bulk and everything can be kept neat and tidy.
I use the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 stand-up desk, which is a simple rectangular shape – perfect for my current set-up with two large monitors. If you know you’ll be swapping between paperwork and computer work, you might prefer the right or left corner desks, or a right or left stance desk.
The Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 has an intelligent height-adjustable, up-and-down mechanism created by ‘linear actuators’ in the legs. They create a clean movement with accurate and smooth motion control that requires little or no maintenance and have a long lifetime with low operating costs.
Put simply: moving up and down is easy. You’re not going to make heads turn if you decide to stand up for a bit in the middle of the afternoon — and you’re not going to send your computer flying off the surface with any sudden juddering movements.
The controls are simple and easy to save your memory settings for both sitting and standing positions: an unobtrusive panel on the right-hand side consisting of an ‘up’ triangle and a ‘down’ triangle. No over-complicated switches or numbers, just simple buttons that you can control with your hand without even looking at them.
The Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2 electric standing desk can be bought with an optional programming switch so you can set adjustable heights for ease, track how many calories you burn, and set timers to remind you to sit or stand throughout the day.
Looks matter, as does engineering. But I think it’s just as important to consider how a product makes you feel. Initially, I noticed how sturdy the desk was — especially considering it stands on two legs. It can support considerable weight regardless of where it’s distributed. I know, because I’ve often found myself leaning on it with no catastrophic collapses. It’s also worth mentioning that I feel more alert and confident when standing at my Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2. Perhaps it’s something about standing body language or the increased flow of blood around my body. Either way, this sit-to-stand desk makes me feel good.
Value for money
Starting from £540 inc VAT, the Yo-Yo DESK PRO is one of the best value-for-money standing desks out there. It recently won the Daily Telegraph award for “Best Buy” - and they tested most of the best-selling models so it must be pretty good! This model is for those who want the absolute best; those who want the smoothest movement, the strongest structure, and the most robust mechanism.
Yo-Yo DESK offer a warranty of seven years, so broken down, the most basic Yo-Yo DESK PRO, (without accessories and add-ons) only costs around £6.50 a month for seven years. Although I have strong suspicions it will far outlive this deadline. If it helps users stay active, strong and fit; if it limits back pain and other health problems associated with sitting, then the return on investment could be huge. How many sick days will it save? How much lost productivity from being in pain?
As simple as it might be, the sit-stand desk changes everything. For me, it’s about freedom. It’s about your employer actually valuing your health and happiness.
The perfect ratio of sitting and standing is unknown. What we do know is that the key is in the transition — moving from sitting to standing and vice versa. For this reason, we suggest standing up for 20 minutes of every hour. Set a timer to remind yourself. It’s important!
I love my Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2. It’s spacious and sturdy and it keeps me moving. If you’re a little taller than me, I’d suggest going for the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 2+, which is designed for user heights up to 203cm (i.e. 6’8’’). If you’re looking for a more affordable option there are lower-cost options available, like the Yo-Yo DESK PRO 1, which is much the same but with more affordable components. Yo-Yo DESK also sells a range of Yo-Yo Standing Desk Converters models, such as the Yo-Yo DESK MINI, which are cheaper but sit on top of your existing desk, acting as a standing desk converter.
But if you want the Volvo or even VW Golf of sit-stand desks, then it’s Yo-Yo DESK PRO all the way!
If you would like to know more about sit-stand desks and how they can benefit staff health and wellbeing, check out our Benefits of Standing page.