What are the benefits of a standing desk mat?
They’re something of an icon in the 21st-century corporate world, but they’ve been popular from as far back as the 1400s. Leonardo Da Vinci loved to use them and now so does much of working Australia.
If you’re not sure, we’re talking standing desks.
They say that sitting is the new smoking, and standing while working is undoubtedly better than sitting all day. But prolonged standing can also take its toll on your body. So, what are the benefits of a standing desk mat?
First, let’s look at some of the problems with standing desks.
The problem with standing all day
While standing all day is better than sitting, you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Standing still in the same spot for hours on end is not healthy and comes with its own set of problems.
Crucially, the ideal opposite to sitting all day isn’t standing. It’s moving. Moving your body as much as possible throughout the day is the best way to stay healthy. Staying still while standing can be as dangerous as staying still while sitting.
Moving your entire body is the obvious solution here, but your individual muscles also need to flex and groove. Going for a run at lunchtime is a healthy choice, but it still isn’t enough to save those tiny muscle fibres.
Standing still on a solid surface means your muscles are loaded in one position, putting pressure on them in an unnaturally imbalanced way. The best way to allow your muscles room to flex is to stand on a flexible, soft surface.
As well as putting pressure on your muscles, standing all day restricts the flow of blood around your body and puts pressure on nerves and veins.
The benefits of an anti fatigue mat for a standing desk
Anti fatigue mats are designed to allow your feet to roll around as needed, making any hard surface more comfortable to stand on. They are usually made of a supportive foam or rubber but come in a range of materials with various benefits.
The ideal anti fatigue mat depends on your office and any additional features you want it to have. Feel free to reach out to one of our team if you want some advice on the best mat for you.
Whatever anti fatigue mats you go for, here are some of the benefits you can expect from installing them at your standing desk stations:
1. Reduced back pain
The holy grail of work-related pains. Back pain is an occupational hazard in many industries, and standing desks have been found to contribute to it profusely.
Placing an anti fatigue mat under your feet when standing for any job lets muscles move and feet flex. This takes the pressure off your joints, keeping the whole body micro-moving and out of pain.
2. Improved blood flow
Blood vessels and veins are also under a lot of pressure while standing. Allowing the feet to roll very slightly helps the entire cardiovascular system to circulate blood more easily.
By promoting healthy blood flow, you reduce your risk of developing serious health complications such as heart disease, varicose veins and blood clots.
3. More energy and less fatigue
Being uncomfortable uses up precious energy. Constantly rubbing your back or shifting your legs diverts our energy away from the rest of our body and can leave us feeling tired and miserable.
Anti fatigue mats let the body unconsciously flex. So subtle are these micro-movements that you probably won’t even notice yourself making them.
As well as reducing feelings of fatigue, fewer aches and pains throughout the body make it easier to get a good night sleep. Well-rested means energised, and no one wants to be tired at work.
4. Better posture
Most office workers know the ideal posture at an ergonomic sitting desk, but fewer people know the perfect posture for standing.
Shoulders back, spine neutral and core strong is the best position for humans to stand in. A standing desk mat will give you ample space to manoeuvre into your ideal position.
5. Increased productivity
Just like our energy is distracted by an uncomfortable standing position, our concentration is too. Constantly wondering why you’re in pain and searching for a solution is not a good use of your attention for 8 hours a day.
Happy workers are more productive, and comfortable workers are definitely more productive. Multiple field studies have found that workers standing on anti fatigue mats can concentrate more and are generally more productive.
6. Better overall health
Whether you go to the gym or not, experts agree that a healthy lifestyle is more beneficial than a concentrated period of exercise per day.
That means that walking and eating healthily most of the time leads to better overall health than being sedentary outside of a 20-minute daily workout and going on crash diets every so often.
Walking is best but standing on an anti fatigue mat is better than standing still and, most importantly, much better than sitting. Standing desks, when used with a mat, promote heart and other organ health, reduce stress and are related to lower body fat.
Do you need a mat for a standing desk?
Overall, it is important to make sure you move your body every day, and it is best to make exercise a habit rather than an additional chore in an unhealthy lifestyle. Remember that moving means two things: your whole body and its small components.
Standing on a mat at a standing desk lets your muscles move, your organs breathe and your joints rest. While it isn’t a legal requirement in Australia, you should do what you can to make sure your employees are safe and comfortable.
If you are covering the cost of standing desks for your employees, it might even save you money in the long run to invest in their health with anti fatigue mats. Happy and comfortable employees are more productive and loyal to a company.
For more information on maximising employee productivity, check our guide to making your workspace as productive as possible.