With more and more people working from behind computer screens, standing desks have become increasingly popular.
Touted for their restorative abilities and comfort, these desks can be great improvements for office spaces when implemented correctly. But, as any retail worker will tell you, spending all day on your feet is no easy task. It can make your feet, back, and legs ache.
So how do you improve a standing desk experience? Add a standing pad to the mix.
What is a Standing Desk?
Traditional desks are designed so that the user can comfortably sit in an office chair in front of or underneath the desk. Unfortunately, sitting has recently been shown to have somewhat unpleasant side effects on the health of the desk user – namely, hurting their back and mood.
A standing desk does exactly what it says in the name; it allows the user to stand comfortably in front of the desk to perform regular office tasks. It’s taller than a standard desk, and has slightly less room directly underneath the work surface, as there’s no need to make room for a chair.
Standing desks come in a variety of form factor and price ranges – and we’ll be reviewing many options in the future. There are conversion kits you can buy for standard desks to turn them into standing desks, which include apparatuses for adjusting the height of your keyboard and monitor. These are good options for those who don’t want to have to purchase an entirely new office setup to reap the benefits, given that they’re significantly cheaper and easier to install.
Why Use a Standing Pad for Standing Desks?
Also called a standing mat or an anti-fatigue mat, standing pads are essential if you’re going to be using a standing desk for normal working hours, meaning multiple hours at a time.
To begin with, standing pads offer support for your feet by providing you with a cushion between your feet and the floor. This helps protect your back from the aches of standing for an extended period of time and can stop your feet from aching nearly as bad as they would on hard surfaces.
You need to be careful to pick the correct kind of mat, however. Each person is different, so will have unique needs for these pads. Consider:
- The size of the pad. At a minimum, the standing pad should accommodate you standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Ideally, it should be large enough that you can take a few steps comfortably but small enough without taking up so much space it’s difficult to maneuver around or adjust.
- The firmness of the pad. A softer pad will be more comfortable for shorter periods of time, while a firmer pad offers more support for long days.
- The material of the cover. The cover should be soft to stand on and relatively easy to clean (antimicrobial properties are a plus).
- The angle of the edges. Good standing mats have non-grip edges that are beveled and inclined to sit flush with the floor even after significant use.
Types of Standing Pads
There are two general kinds of standing pads to consider, each with benefits to different desk types and work styles.
- Normal standing pads are very simple – they’re a flat cushion that lies in front of your desk, usually with a black or brown cover. These pads are readily available, usually about one inch thick, and do an adequate job of protecting your feet, legs, and back during working hours.
- For a more advanced level of support, there are 3D topographical standing pads. These pads come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with various ridges and incline to let users stand with more options for posture and mobility. They’re good for longer work periods because they allow users to massage their feet and get relief from tension and ache.
Where to Buy Standing Pads
You can buy normal standing pads at just about any office supply store, in person, or online. Bigger chain stores will tend to have more options available in terms of price and brand, but less in terms of customization. If you’re looking for a very specific thickness or material, you may consider a smaller retailer.
Topographical pads are slightly harder to find, and will usually be available at only larger retail stores or, sometimes exclusively, to order online. As mentioned earlier, there are more styles to choose from with these pads, so you’re more likely to have luck finding specific requirements at bigger retailers.
Normal standing pads tend to be quite inexpensive, starting at about $30. Topographical pads are more expensive, starting at around $60. Which is more worthwhile depends on your work style and length of use.
Standing desks may be the desks of the future, but their benefits are completely negated if you don’t have the right accessories to go with them. Alongside common sense things like comfortable shoes and ample room, you shouldn’t neglect to get a quality standing pad.