Why adjustable standing desks should be in every classroom in New Zealand.
Just like adults, children and adolescents spend a lot of time sitting down, but instead of sitting in the office they sit in the classroom. Sitting in the classroom has been normal since school began; whether it’s sitting on the ground or on a chair with a desk; it has stayed the same for decades if not centuries. We believe that having adjustable standing desks will not only help children and adolescents learn better but also allow a better active study space, which is better for their active and mental health, what’s not to like? If standing desks show positive signs and benefits in children's and adolescents learning (both mental and physical health), then they should definitely be implemented accordingly.
We all know children and teenagers grow differently at different ages. I’ve personally experienced this myself being one of the taller kids during primary and intermediate school here in New Zealand. And you know what? I found that I was always hunched over at my desk at school because I was simply on the taller end of the class that I was in. The desks weren’t adjustable and neither was the chair; I can definitely understand why you wouldn’t want to have adjustable chairs at schools as children may have lots of fun bouncing around on the chairs going up and down instead of doing any work. But adjustable desks on the other end are less fidgety, especially the manual adjustable standing desks.
The low desks that I experienced in primary school also became apparent in high school when certain classes would have low desks and non adjustable chairs; and in some cases there were even high chairs which I did not really understand. It basically forces taller senior students to hunch over to work and write. I found myself having this habit of hunching over and having bad posture throughout my schooling years, even now I find that I still have the habit of hunching over when I walk, sit or even go for a run. Now let’s be clear, that is not entirely the schools fault, as technological advances and habits play a bigger part. But it does make me wonder if schools had adjustable standing desks, what would the ergonomic outcome of students be in terms of better health and posture. To receive benefits, the desks wouldn’t need to be standing, but just need to be able to be adjusted so that different students who grow at different ages can adjust accordingly. If you go to any school in New Zealand, and compare the height of a year 9 student compared to a year 13, you will be able to see the difference in height quite clearly; and you know what doesn’t change for the students? The desk! A year 9 at 1.45m will be using the same height desk as a year 13 at 1.8m tall which is crazy if you think about it, and you pair that with technology, and no wonder people have poor postures!
Standing desks for overall health for children and adolescents.
Every classroom in the world needs adjustable standing desks, not just in NZ. We are learning more and more over time on the negative effects of sitting too long. There are plenty of studies such as this one which show how sitting too long can be harmful. It increases the risk of chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Sitting too long also strains certain parts of your body and this is even more important for growing individuals such as children and adolescents. Back then, we didn’t have BYOD (bring your own device for schools), but nowadays BYOD is almost prevalent at every school; this will further increase the importance of having a good adjustable standing desk as we are looking less at whiteboards up on the wall but actually down on laptop screens, forcing our neck to look downwards rather than looking straight. It basically is a work environment in an office. Some companies have made standing desks mandatory, which shows the importance between sitting and standing and active workplaces. With schools implementing more technology into classroom learning, why don’t schools have the same policies?
Adjustable desks and the quality of work and thinking.
I’m sure many of us have experienced the afternoon slump after a heavy lunch and busy morning at work. The afternoon slump is the same at schools if not worse, due to high activity at lunch times. What does this mean for school work? Decreased focus and concentration. Children’s classroom activity will change throughout the day and seasons depending on what’s on; and to combat this standing desks have been found to help with work and focus. We live in a world where sitting for hours has become the new normal, we almost sit for more hours than we sleep. If you add up all the hours on your desk, couch, car and transport it adds up to thousands of hours in the year. Having an adjustable desk will help to increase blood flow and you may just find that you have a better quality work life. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee delved into this and more information can be read here.
ADHD is becoming more prevalent in the world, how can standing desks help?
As time goes by, more and more studies are showing the increase in ADHD diagnoses around the world. There was the big fidget spinner craze that kids loved, but if anything, that would just distract kids from focusing on learning in the classroom. Having adjustable standing desks would allow movement which is what we’re all about here at Deskbird NZ. Movement is key, and for individuals who like to move around like myself the adjustable standing desk has been life changing. To be able to sit and stand when desired is such a great feeling, it allows individuals to focus and work the way they want to; this is no different for children in the classroom whether they are diagnosed with ADHD or not; being able to move and sit or stand while you work is a positive booster and something that should be implemented. Standing desks can help with individuals with ADHD who like to move while working, as they can adjust it to how they feel. If they feel that they can focus more on their work and learn while sitting and standing with 20 or 30 minute intervals, then they should be able to do that. When children learn more, it helps them make more informed decisions when they are older; they become more creative and develop greater overall knowledge.
Obesity in NZ and standing desks.
We all know that obesity is on the rise. With more access to processed foods full of sugar and fat, it’s becoming more and more difficult to deal with rising obesity rates. This is no different at schools. Children and adolescents love sweets, chips and fizzy drinks (I did too!) and what happens when you have more calories than you need? Weight is gained. And when kids are sitting all day in the classroom, they aren’t burning many calories, especially in the winter months when it is often cold and wet outside preventing them from doing outdoor activities. Having a standing desk will allow children to stand and sit throughout the day. For example when kids are doing group work and discussions, instead of sitting on the desk to discuss and brainstorm, why not stand and discuss instead? This not only helps to burn more calories but also promotes an active workspace and promotes blood circulation which is important for the human body. We live in a world with ever evolving technology, and with more children using laptops and technology in the classrooms, the importance of implementing good posture and ergonomics and becoming more and more important. Many kids don’t know what a good posture or good ergonomics is, but that’s because it’s not taught or practiced in the classroom. By slowly changing the way kids work at schools with adjustable standing desks may just set their ergonomic journey for life; a good posture is truly life changing. Better lifestyle and more calories burned, what is there to wait for?
While we do talk about all the benefits, we know that rolling out adjustable standing desks to all the schools won’t happen overnight here in NZ. It takes time, money and resources to plan out. Adjustable standing desks are the most affordable thing on the planet and there are many health and safety elements to consider too for the kids. This blog is something that we love to update here at Deskbird NZ, a place where we can share ideas and try to improve NZ ergonomically one step at a time. We hope to see some schools having adjustable standing desks soon, so that we can record and discuss the benefits and findings. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or comments you would like to make.
View our collection of adjustable standing desks here.
Why adjustable standing desks should be in every NZ school
Blog by Deskbird NZ - trademarked Deskbird NZ.
Tags: Standing desks, standing desk, NZ standing desks, Standing desk NZ, Adjustable standing desk, electrical standing desk.