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Workplace


you choose, it is vital to ensure that the sit-stand desk has been thoroughly and independently tested





Whatever solution





what questions should FMs be asking potential suppliers? The following is a brief overview of the main variants of sit-stand desks currently available in the UK, with some inside-track pointers to the technical information you need to look out for. However, it is vital to consider a serious word of caution regarding safety. Producing a safe sit-stand desk is a complex process, not least because the added instability created by extra height has to be factored in from the very beginning of the design process. It is not enough for a manufacturer to add a sit-stand adaptation to a primarily sit-sit, or static desk and then use the parent range’s compliance certifi cates. Whatever solution you choose, it is vital to ensure that the sit-stand desk has been thoroughly and independently tested, as a complete unit, in its own right. There are four main categories of sit-stand desks currently, and widely, available.


Counterbalanced


Counterbalanced (or cantilever) sit- stand desks are manually adjusted and have two fi nely-tuned springs with a gas-fi lled damping mechanism (rather than being hydraulic or pneumatic systems as often assumed). They have the advantage of not drawing power, so there are no transformers to be left on standby and there’s little noise, thanks to the absence of electric motors. They are also fairly quick and easy to adjust upwards, but setting them properly relies on accurate prediction of the weight they will be required to bear and that this stays constant. This means they are not ideal for those who might need to use heavy fi les or books at their desks, or for incapacitated staff who might struggle to apply enough pressure to push them downwards. Given the increasing popularity of energy- effi cient electric sit-stand desks, there is now little difference in price between them and counterbalanced options.


Author information


Ashley Hayward is UK Sales Director for Kinnarps, the Swedish-owned workplace furniture specialist. http://www.kinnarps.com/en/uk/


Crank handle Crank mechanism desks tend to be relatively cheap, but this is chiefl y because they are old technology and have been surpassed in popularity, and ease of use, by electric and counterbalanced options. They share counterbalanced desks’ benefi t of not drawing power, but they can be


56 FACILITIES


cumbersome to adjust and often only cover a small distance of adjustability, making them most suitable only for sit-sit use.


Hybrid


There are several products that allow retro-fi tting of a standing option to existing desks. They can certainly be budget options, particularly where cost-saving is the key consideration, but you can pay the price in compromised ergonomics. As most hybrids tend to be add-ons, they only raise enough workspace to accommodate a laptop, or keyboard and monitor, and don’t provide for all the other things we need to have easily to hand. For example, where are you supposed to put your printed materials, or the all-important mug of coffee, without the need to repeatedly bend down to a seated height surface?


Electric


Electrically adjustable sit-stand desks have become the most popular option thanks to their simple one-button ease of use, which means that the entry price has come down signifi cantly. It’s now possible to buy purpose-built, low-energy, electric options from as little as £400. The advantages are that many now draw only 0.3 watts of power on standby, or less in ultra-eco versions. One of the greatest advantages of electric controls is that they can be adjusted easily for any height of user and regardless of weight load. In Scandinavia, specifi cations are driven by the typical requirements of public sector tenders, and these in turn are based on recent European anthropometric data, which means they are required to adjust safely up to 1250 cm. Look out for options with three-part telescopic legs, which have a far greater range of adjustability than two-part legs. They can be adjusted to fulfi l the lower range as well as the tallest requirements, but most two-part legs make a sit-stand desk less suitable for shorter team members. Again, make absolutely sure that your electric desk has been fully tested and holds its own compliance certifi cates, because the top end of the adjustment range can cause issues with stability. And remember it is important to ask for products with fi nger-safe mechanisms (as for all sit- stand options), particularly where the desk is part of a benching system.


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