The standing desk: is it really better for you?

How many hours per day do you spend seated at work? At least 5 days per week, 8 hours per day…it adds up quickly. This BBC article claims that we spend as many as 12 hours per day in idle positions, not including a 7-hour night’s sleep.

We’ve all seen countless articles about how sedentary work habits contribute to depression, obesity, and serious metabolic conditions. This study, published by the US National Library of Medicine, shows that people who sit for 6 or more hours per day are at a greater risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease. We’ve known standing is better for us for quite some time; in 1950, a Lancet study showed that bus conductors (who work standing) versus bus drivers (who work sitting) were half as likely to develop heart disease.
So, knowing that standing is better for us, what can we do about it? Sit-stand desks, otherwise known as standing desks, are the logical, ergonomic choice for anyone looking for a healthier work environment. (But keep in mind, and stand up/adjustable height desk might be the best choice because too much standing can actually be harmful – check out this personal account from the Washington Post).
SMARTdesks offers the Cirrus line of adjustable height desks and sit-stand desks that can help you work in a healthier way. A wide variety of finishes are available as well as floating balance, ratchet, spring pin, and motorized option for adjusting the height of the standing desks and tables.
motorized-adjustable-height-table
And because neither standing not sitting is ideal for extended periods of time, the motorized lift memory function makes it easy to save both your sitting and standing heights.
cirrus-control-panel
For more information and studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about standing at work, click here.
In your opinion…How do you like to work best? Seated, with intervals of movement, standing all the time, or standing and sitting depending on how much strain your feet can take?

Did you know? Standing at work puts you in good company. Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Benjamin Franklin all worked at specially-built standing desks.
Courtesy of the Washington Post.
Courtesy of the Washington Post.

Quick Tips: Organizing your Workspace

According to this Esselte study, in 2004, 48% of American executives admitted to having a messy desk but claimed to know where everything was. In contrast, 12% said that although their desk appears organized, they had no idea where anything was. Ten years later, the problem persists; with increasing distractions from Facebook, online shopping, and smartphones, it’s even harder to keep everything organized.
Today let’s take a look at some efficient ways to organize your desk. Undoubtedly you have to balance an unwieldy assortment of papers and folders alongside either laptops or desktop computer monitors. That’s not to mention sticky notes, tape dispensers, staplers, pens, business card holders, empty Starbucks cups, the list goes on and on…Here are three quidk tips on how to manage your workspace.
1. Eliminate clutter on a regular basis. Anything that you aren’t using, either file or recycle if you can. When you approach your desk, you want to keep your space and mind cleared of extraneous objects.
2. Invest in a simple desk organization system. Nothing is more frustrating than shuffling through crumpled letters and dead pens. Keep a simple pen cup for your writing implements, and perhaps a wire holder for letters and papers for immediate follow-up. File more long-term projects for later access.
3. Keep your technology separated from papers and other unrelated items. Make sure to separate your laptops, tablets, keyboards, and other technological paraphernalia from file folders and other “old school” items. You can use laptop stands and tablet stands to keep more mobile pieces of hardware off your desk surface. It’ll help keep you focused and on task when you’re having “tech time” and when you’re having “paper time.”
SMARTdesks can help you organize your laptop computer arrangement with our LaptopSafe station! And for when your on the go, there’s no better multi-use laptop case/laptop holder than the Higher Ground Gear cases
quark laptop safe
In your opinion…what are some of your favorite desk organization methods and laptop holders?

Offices through the ages: from parchment to computer stand

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the word “office” in the sense that we principally use it — “A room, set of rooms, or building used as a place of business for non-manual work; a room or department for clerical or administrative work” — first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales around the turn of the fifteenth century.
We’ll stick to the twentieth and twenty first centuries here, but first…
…The Middle Ages:
medieval office
Tapestries, parchment, and hand-carved furniture define this “chancery,” what offices were called in the Middle Ages. At chanceries, which were principally government offices, official documents were drawn up by “chancellors.”
…Zooming ahead into the 1960s and the cubicle:
Cubicles
In the 1960s, the cubicle came to define the twentieth century office. By 1974, cubicles accounted for 20% of expenditure in new office building. In 1980, half of new office furniture purchased was placed in cubicles. And according to Steelcase, now nearly 70% of office work takes place in the dreaded box. Data and statistics come from The New Atlantis, which has an excellent article called “The Moral Life of Cubicles,” found here.
…2014 offers just a few changes, including:
EXG-video-Teleconference640
In today’s virtual world, office interactions need not take place even in the same room, let alone a cubicle. Teleconferencing has made long-distance collaboration easy, and team members can speak with and see each other with the help of monitor and computer stands, as well as collaborative furniture. For more information on SMARTdesks’ Exchange, pictured above, click here.
…or this:
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This glass-enclosed office was designed by the Spanish architecture firm Selgas Cano, and certainly has an abundance of natural light.
…or even this:
modern-office-space-easy-mood
At Google, these strange energy pods (~$8,000) keep employees well-rested and alert.
For an interesting piece on the invention of the office, computer equipment, computer stands, laptop furniture, and other office furniture, check out this BBC piece.  For a look at the evolution of the collaborative office, check out this mindjet blog post. And for a brief history of the American office building (with pictures like the one below), click here.
Early American Office
In your opinion…How do you use computer stands and today’s technology infrastructure to help you get your work done?

Mobile Laptop Carts and Laptop Security in Schools

Learning in the classroom and office takes place in an increasingly mobile world. Tablets are by far the leading trend in technology for the modern classroom, but laptops are also popular in schools across the country, such as in the Miami-Dade district, according to the Miami Herald. The trend is international; in Kenya, the government will spend Sh24 billion on laptops for primary schools in the first quarter of 2014, according to AllAfrica.com.
More laptops in schools, though means a greater need for security in the form of mobile laptop carts that stow and lock away the computers when technology isn’t needed. Mobile laptop carts frequently offer the capacity to charge and store computers and minimize the risk of theft and vandalization. This study from the University of Michigan shows that in Winter 2010, over 50% of 1,415 student sample brought their laptops to class at least once per week. And for an interesting look at mobile phone and tablet usage in the classroom, click here for an Atelier.net article.
Personally, I wonder if in an increasingly “bring your own device” (BYOD) world that the the need for mobile laptop carts will soon be restricted to students too young too carry their own devices.

The Newpath from SMARTdesks is a new take on the mobile laptop cart. Laptops charge securely in the desk. The Newpath is a time-efficient option because teachers and students do not have to unplug and remove laptops before using them.
The Newpath from SMARTdesks is a new take on the mobile laptop cart. Laptops charge securely in the desk. The Newpath is a time-efficient option because teachers and students do not have to unplug and remove laptops before using them.

In your opinion…Do you prefer using a laptop or a desktop computer?

Designing The Modern Computer Desk

The SMARTdesks Quark, a computer conference table for Telepresence, Teleconferencing, Video Conferencing and Collaboration.
The SMARTdesks Quark, a computer conference table for Telepresence, Teleconferencing,
Video Conferencing and Collaboration.

2014 is here, and as we progress into the second decade of the 21st century, computer desk designs continue to changing quickly with technology innovation and office design trends. The modern computer desk must adapt to an increasingly collaborative environment and one that favors open-architecture spaces over cubicles. Desktop computer use is on the decline as mobile device usage increases steadily. Creative work environments improve productivity and foster innovation.
Within contemporary educational and office spaces, SMARTdesks strives to innovate and design creative and modern computer desks.
iGroup-Accessorized
iGroup is a reconfigurable collaboration table that offers a variety of possibilities for customization, including inset iDrawer or FlipIT options for iPad or computer.

Check out how some offices around the world have implemented their ideas of the modern computer desk here, including workstations from Google, Skype, and Twitter, among many others. Apple has even patented a ‘desk-free’ computer that operates on laser-powered projection, eliminating the need for a monitor on the desktop. And here’s a list in pictures of office trends that are on the way out in the next ten years according to HuffPost.
In your opinion…What do you think are the most important features of the modern computer desk?
 

Our New Year’s Tech Resolutions

Happy New Year from SMARTdesks! Here are our top 5 furniture and technology resolutions for the New Year.
1. Treat yourself to better ergonomics in 2014. You spend hours in front of the computer and your work shouldn’t be causing you pain. For a guide to optimizing ergonomics, click here.
2. Use the cloud to store your work and share information with collaborators, whether they be fellow educators or employees at your company. It’s safe, secure, and efficient. Here are some tips on using the cloud to the best of your advantage.
3. Find the best organizational apps for you at home and at work. Here is a list of the top 10 for entrepreneurs and startups according to venturebeat.com for entrepreneurs.
4. Keep your email inbox clear of clutter and junk. Seems like a difficult task? Check out unroll.me to get rid of email subscriptions you don’t want and consolidate the ones you do want into just one message.
5. Finally, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. In the classroom or office, a team-based approach to learning and solving problems is invaluable. Here are some collaboration tips from Tech Republic.
Here’s to a healthy, happy, and productive 2014!