The top 5 problems with standing desks in 2023

Standing desks have been all the rage in office furniture for almost a decade. In that time, there have been many new designs, added features, and cost reductions that make product selection better than ever. Some of the most important insights I’ve gained over the years are the drawbacks of using a standing desk. This article will highlight the biggest issues with using a standing desk and offer some suggestions to help you transition to a standing desk.

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The top 5 problems with standing desks in 2023

  1. health risks
  2. It can be awkward to start
  3. Many people stop using their standing desk
  4. not versatile
  5. Limited seating options
  6. final thoughts

Top 5 Standing Desk Problems Video

The number 1 issue with a standing desk is the health risk if the desk is not used properly. In our article titled “4 Reasons Standing Desks Are Bad for Your Health,” we review the negative health effects a standing desk can have and offer tips to help avoid these problems. We won’t repeat all the information here because it would be quite long and redundant, but be sure to check out the article for more information on the health risks associated with standing desks.


We recommend using a height-adjustable standing desk, so you can go from sitting to standing throughout the day. This will greatly reduce the health risks associated with prolonged sitting and standing.

Something that most clients don’t realize is how much damage standing for long periods of time can do to their back, legs, and feet. The initial change from sitting to standing can be painful if not done correctly. Even if done correctly, it’s common to experience pain and fatigue until your body gets used to the change.


Always take breaks from standing. It is unhealthy to stand for long periods of time, even after you have become fully accustomed to your standing desk. Incorporate movement into your routine while working at your standing desk. Things like walking during your break or marching at your workplace can do wonders to increase blood flow and prevent fatigue. Good supportive shoes can also make a big difference in the health of your feet. We also always suggest an anti-fatigue mat when possible to increase overall comfort and help reduce stress on your bones and joints. We recommend the Gel Pro Anti-Fatigue Mat:

Due to the commitment required, along with some potentially awkward aspects of switching to a standing desk, many standing desk users no longer stand. Studies by Alan Hedge at Cornell University show that use of sit-stand workstations declines rapidly after about a month, with most users returning to sitting.


Human beings are creatures of habit and making your standing desk a habit is the best way to naturally incorporate it into your lifestyle. We recommend developing a routine for using your standing desk and sticking to it. A good model to follow is 20 minutes of sitting, followed by 8 minutes of standing, followed by 2 minutes of casual movement.

A standing desk is not versatile due to the fixed nature of the height. The proper ergonomic standing height varies for each user depending on their height. A standing-only desk purchased for someone who is 6’0″ will not be suitable for someone who is anything other than 6’0″. A product like this is not a good choice for shared work areas. A standing-only desk can also create a somewhat uncomfortable work environment if some users are constantly standing next to others who are sitting.


For shared work areas, we recommend a power adjustable sit-stand desk. This will allow for quick and easy height adjustment at the push of a button for any user at the desk. If an electric adjustable desk isn’t in the budget, we recommend opting for a standing desk converter. A standing desk converter is a product that sits on top of an existing desk and allows for multiple height adjustments.

Most office chairs don’t come with the option to add a tall cylinder to make it reach the height of a standing desk, which means you’ll be limited to drafting stools or active seating options. Most chair manufacturers carry a wide range of standard-height chairs and a small selection of drafting stools or foot chairs, if available. Drafting stools will often lack the adjustability of their chair counterparts and active seating options are generally recommended for short periods of use at a time.


Finding quality seating options for a person-height desk can be a difficult task, but there are a couple of options. If you want something to sit on, for longer periods when taking a break from standing, we recommend a drafting stool. Make sure the stool is tall enough for your needs and check that it has the adjustments you need. If you just need something to help ease the stress of standing for a bit, then an active seating product might be the way to go. These products are not intended to be used for long periods of time, but they are great for giving your legs, feet, and back a rest without having a bulky drafting stool near your desk.

Standing desks have proven to be a very popular product in today’s world of office furniture, but there are many drawbacks to standing desk-only options. If used correctly, many of the negative aspects can be nullified or reduced; however, standing desks are very limited in functionality and usability compared to standing desks.

Additional Standing Desk Resources

*QC check 3/9/23

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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