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The Ultimate Guide for Outfitting Your Office with Sit-to-Stand Desks

Posted by Julia Grimm on

The top 8 things you need to consider to make your office transition easy & stress-free

We Want Standing Desks - Now What?

If you’ve come to this guide, you’ve likely already made the decision to outfit your office with sit-to-stand desks - or at the very least, you know you’re interested - and you’ve been tasked with figuring out how to make it happen.

Perhaps employees have been prodding HR to provide a more productive workstation. Maybe the CEO of your company has a friend who just outfitted their office with standing desks and has been bragging about how much they have boosted employee morale.

Or, possibly, you yourself read up on the health benefits and decided these were a great long-term investment for your company.

We replaced every boring traditional desk in the new office with StandDesks. Happy employees = happy customers. The StandDesk solution has positively affected the entire chain.

- John Matheus, DieselCore

So you know you want adjustable height desks for your office, but now what? If you haven’t managed any big office furniture purchases in the past (or even if you have), it can be a daunting task. There can be a lot of moving pieces, and it’s very likely that you’ll be figuring this out while keeping up with your normal workload. Not to worry - we’re here to help!

 

In this guide, we'll walk you through: 

Which Desks Are Best - everything you need to consider when choosing a brand (it’s not always all about price)

The Layout Comes First - determining the general layout of your space and where the desks will go

Get the Juices Flowing - how you are going to power the desks is a huge consideration

Building Out The Workstation - other products you may need to create a well-rounded workstation for your employees

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure - what to do about your current desks, if you don’t have further use for them

Getting the Desks Delivered Safely - everything you need to know about delivery

Assembly Time - getting your new desks assembled and ready to go

Covering Your Bases - being prepared for any issues with the desks down the line

Which Desks Are Best

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

When making a big purchase, it’s easy to be seduced by the cheapest option available, but the reality is that you get what you pay for - especially when it comes to a product with a motor. Think about it: if you were presented with the opportunity to purchase a brand new car for $5,000, you’d probably wonder what was wrong with it.

While going with a lower end, more cost-efficient model might not be such a big deal for a single desk, if you’re planning to outfit your entire office, you want to make sure you’re getting the product with the best value. This doesn’t mean the most expensive option is always the way to go, but you want to consider where you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck.

A great way to determine overall value is to look to user reviews and testimonials from a few brands you’re considering. Knowing what others experienced in terms of effort and support from the company, in addition to cost, is usually a reliable indicator of whether the experience you’ll have with the seller will be a positive one.

 

 

StandDesk Pro Tip! Whatever company you decide to go with, be sure to save your receipts and report your purchase at tax time - it’s a great writeoff!

Mitigate the Risk

Read the warranty, including any and all fine print. It may seem obvious, but when placing a large order, you want to ensure you’re not going to get stuck with broken product a year down the line.

For electric sit-to-stand desks, many come with one warranty for moving or electrical parts, and a longer warranty for all other parts, like the desktop and wooden or metal parts of the frame. If anything is unclear, have a representative from the company address any questions regarding the warranty in writing, so you have that to fall back on if there’s ever any confusion later on.

It’s also a good idea to do a little research on the company’s history. How long have they been in business? Where did they come from? Do they specialize in standing desks, or is that just one of hundreds of products that they sell? The answers to these questions could save you a lot of future headaches.

Know Your Timeline

Every situation is different, but your timeline should be one of the first things you discuss with the company you decide to go with. If you are moving into a brand new space and need 100 desks delivered, assembled, and ready to go with two days notice, some companies may or may not be able to accommodate you. Inventory availability varies for most companies, and delivery and installation processes can take time to coordinate.

If you have a more flexible timeline, it’s still a good idea to find out the estimated timeline for purchase to delivery, so you can be prepared. You may also want to find out if your order can be put on hold once purchased, just incase you have some internal delays and need to push back the delivery.


The Layout Comes First

Count For the Future

You have 38 employees, so you need 38 desks. Simple, right? Maybe, but you may want to have a buffer in case your office changes or grows. If you know you’re currently searching for new hires, it will be easier to purchase a few extra desks in preparation so that you aren’t scrambling to have new desks delivered before someone comes on board. If you’re a startup about to close a funding round, you might know your office is planning to expand to a bigger space in the coming months, which will facilitate the need for a few more desks.

You should also consider if you want to utilize height adjustable desks in other parts of your office. For instance, some companies decide to swap out traditional tables in meeting rooms or common areas with standing desks, as studies have found that stand-up meetings are up to 34% shorter and more efficient than their sitting-meeting counterparts.

 

StandDesk Pro Tip! If you want to introduce adjustable height desks into your office but aren’t ready to do a full replacement, try some out in common areas. This will help get employees used to these new workstations and is a great way to gauge interest.

For many businesses, having sit-to-stand desks is a selling point not only for potential employees, but they also look good to clients or customers coming in and out of the building - so you may want to have some available for visitors to experience as well.


What’s Your Design? 

 

 

The way offices are designed has evolved over time, taken two steps forward and one step back, and maybe spun around in circles - but the reality is that the layout of your office will largely dictate the overall atmosphere and mood of your workplace. Activity based workspaces are on the rise in some companies; in others, no one has a specific designated desk, but instead employees are encouraged to work where they feel most comfortable on any given day. When making the switch to height adjustable desks, you may decide to keep your current layout - or this may be a golden opportunity to switch it up and try something new.

Many companies take a side-by-side and front-to-back approach, having each workstation next to one another and/or facing one another. Other companies line the exterior of a room with workstations and leave middle areas for common workspaces. If you have cubicles in your office, you may want to rearrange their layout or purchase higher partitions, so standing employees aren’t peering down at their coworkers in the cubicles nextdoor. However you choose to layout the desks, just be sure to include room for walkways and chairs.

Sometimes Size Does Matter

Once you’ve determined how you want to position the desks, you need to make sure they are going to fit in the space! Many standing desk brands offer a variety of top sizes and materials, so you’ll want to be sure to measure your space meticulously and choose an appropriate top size.

You should also consider how much desktop space is required for your company. You may even need different sizes for each department - while a customer service agent may only need one computer monitor and a telephone, your designers might need a larger workspace to house multiple monitors and tablets. Download the toolkit below for a quick guide of our top options!

 

StandDesk Pro Tip! Some standing desk frames have the ability to expand horizontally, like in the case of our Simple and Pro model frames. This means you can adjust the width of the frame to fit a variety of top sizes, giving you the flexibility to use smaller or larger tops in the future. This isn’t the case for many sit-to-stand desk frames, though, so be sure to ask the seller before you get too excited!

Most importantly, you want to make sure you’re leaving enough space between each desk so they won’t overlap. Employees will be raising and lowering the desks on a regular basis, so you run a risk of breaking the desk’s motor or expensive equipment on top of the desk if they bump each other while on the rise.

Also, if your current desktops look and work great, why say goodbye? Instead, look into standing desk options for the frame only, and continue using your current tops. It saves money and maintains your office aesthetic.


 

Get the Juices Flowing

Outlets & Wiring

Once you know your office layout and how many desks you will need, it’s time to determine how you’re going to power the desks. In the US, most standard outlets can handle around 15 amps, depending on what year the building was built and how it was wired. In the case of StandDesks, each desk uses 5 amps, so each outlet can host at least 2 desks depending on the amount and type of computer electronics being used at each workstation.

“We got a power strip for each table and put it in the cable management tray. This kept less cords going to the floor outlets and also gives each employee some flexibility to plug in computers and phones.”

- Mark, Healthy Spot

You can also use multi-outlet, surge protected powerstrips to power multiple desks at once. Other options are power bars that go in between rows of desks and provide juice, or you can run extention cables to and from outlets. If you go this route, just be sure to run all cables underneath the carpet if possible, or securely taped to the floor so that there’s no risk of tripping.

We always recommend consulting an electrician or licensed professional to help determine the best way to power your desks, based on your building’s electrical wiring. If you rent your workspace, talk to the building’s management - they often have a preferred company, or there may be an on-site facilities manager who can advise and assist.

Consider the Usage

If outlets are scarce, consider how many desks will actually be in motion at any given time before you go tearing down walls and chasing storms with Ben Franklin. In our office, we collectively average about six sit/stand transitions per day, but everyone moves their desk at different times. This means in a group of 20 desks, the chances are pretty low that more than one desk will be physically transitioning at the same exact time. Most sit-to-stand desks only need to be powered when they’re being transitioned, so if you’re low on outlets, employees can share and just unplug when they’re not moving.

Plus, not everyone is going to want to stand - and some people will only want to stand. Once you’ve gotten height adjustable desks, it can be fun to see the different use cases. There will be people who couldn’t care less and will use the desk as if it had never been swapped out from their traditional sitting desk; others will stand all day, maybe pulling up a stool at times; and most will likely spend time in both positions.


 

Building the Workstation

Accessorize

Merriam Webster defines accessory as “an object or device that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else; a thing of secondary or less importance.”

As such, it’s easy to see why someone would consider the desk itself as the primary object of the most importance, and this may be so - but if you’re making the transition to sit-to-stand desks, it means you care about improving your employees’ work environment, so don’t forget about the additional items that are essential to rounding out the most efficient setup.

The types of add-ons you will need will vary depending on what your company does, and could also vary from employee to employee. Here are just a few things you should consider:

Chairs - whether you go with a top of the line computer chair or simple stools, people will still need a comfortable place to take breaks from standing.

Drawers or filing cabinets - when considering any type of drawers, take into account where they will be located. If you plan to put cabinets underneath the desks, be sure they’ll be low enough to not obstruct the desks when they’re in their lowest positions.

Monitors and monitor arms - more and more, employees use multiple monitors. It’s much more efficient and better for your neck, back, and eye strain. Consider purchasing monitor arms, which will encourage proper ergonomics and save a ton of space on the desk tops.

Keyboard Trays - if your employees are using external keyboards, a keyboard tray is a great investment. They’re easier on the wrists, and decrease the chances of developing carpal tunnel.

Anti-Fatigue Mats - when you add standing throughout the day into the mix, the transition can be hard on your knees, back, and heels. Anti-fatigue mats can drastically alleviate this problem and they improve your circulation.

Cable Management Trays - the last thing anyone wants is cords hanging off the edges of your desk. It’s unsightly, and you risk equipment getting pulled over when the desk is raised and lowered. Consider a cable management tray, which attaches underneath the desk to neatly store all of your wires.

Casters - many sit-to-stand desks can be used with a form of casters, or rolling wheels. If you want the flexibility to move the desks around with ease, this is the way to go.

Dividers - depending on the layout of your office, you may want partitions or dividers to add a bit of privacy between desks. Just be sure to know ahead of time how they will attach to the desks, so there isn’t an issue when you raise/lower them.

Download our toolkit below for a list of accessories we offer at StandDesk!

 

Ergonomics

Standing more throughout the day has been linked to reducing the risk of major diseases such as cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, just to name a few. But just because you’re standing more at your new desks doesn’t mean you’re using proper ergonomics (and bad ergonomics can lead to a myriad of issues). As mentioned above, there are a number of desk accessories that can encourage proper ergonomics, but you still have to know how to use them properly.

Standing more throughout the day has been linked to reducing the risk of major diseases such as cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, just to name a few. But just because you’re standing more at your new desks doesn’t mean you’re using proper ergonomics (and bad ergonomics can lead to a myriad of issues). As mentioned above, there are a number of desk accessories that can encourage proper ergonomics, but you still have to know how to use them properly.

Certified ergonomists are a great resource to bring into your office as a one-time consultant, to teach employees the proper positioning when they’re working and to make sure all of your equipment is setup correctly. If that’s not an option, providing your employees with a simple tutorial can be extremely beneficial as well. There are online ergonomics calculators that tell you the ideal height for your desk, chair, and keyboard, as well as online tutorials on how to set up monitor arms and other accessories at the proper height.


One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Recycle or Donate

Depending on how large your office is, you could be swapping out a lot of desks. So that begs the question, what do you do with your current desks? You may be able to recycle all or part of the desks depending on the type of materials they’re made from. In certain locations around the country, there are companies that will actually come to you, pick up your recyclable materials, and even pay you to take them away.

Charities are also always looking for donations. If your company has any charitable connections, reach out to them first. Otherwise, do a quick online search of charities in your area and contact them to see if they’re in need of any office furniture. You would be surprised how many nonprofits can use even the simplest of supplies. Alternatively, you may have a use for them in another office or location of your own company.

Trash ‘Em

If you’re in a time crunch or don’t have the resources to recycle or donate your current desks, you can always throw them out. Depending on how many desks you are disposing of and your building’s dumpster situation, you may be able to get rid of them in one swoop, or parcel them out over time.

In most cases, though, you’ll probably need to bring in a large dumpster to dispose of everything at once. Dumpsters can be ordered quickly and efficiently in most areas of the country, and are usually dropped off and picked up 24 hours or so later. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to upwards of one thousand, depending on how large of a dumpster you need and where your office is located. If you use an installation company, they may offer this as part of the service (more on this later).

Disassembly

If you’re assembling the desks internally, you’ll likely be disassembling your current desks as well if you need to dispose of them or move them from one location to another. Many sit-to-stand desk companies offer installation services for their products, but you’ll likely have to figure out disassembly of your current desks on your own. It’s likely that your company or building has an on-site or go-to handyman to help with this, and in most major cities companies like TaskRabbit are a great resource.


 

Getting the Desks Delivered Safely

 

Carriers, Timing, and Cost

Most desk companies will have their preferred delivery carriers, and many have specific rates with carriers to get you the best cost - but don’t shy away from asking about the carrier and delivery expectations. Standard carriers, such as FedEx Freight or UPS, might be the cheapest option, but they’re often less reliable in terms of delivery timing and usually have limitations when it comes to delivery. For instance, if you’re in a building where there is no freight elevator and the desks will need to be transported up a flight of stairs, standard carriers generally won’t accommodate this. If you’re not aware of this ahead of time, you could be left with a few pallets of desks stacked up in your building’s lobby - and you’ll be responsible for figuring out how to get them up the stairs.

There are many other less common white glove delivery companies that are much better at accommodating specific delivery requirements. When coordinating the shipment with the company you’re purchasing desks from, be sure to find out who the carrier is and know if there are any specific limitations.

 

Communication is Key

While the person managing the shipment of your desks should be equipped to get all relevant information from you, it’s always best not to leave anything up to chance. Here’s a list of things you should communicate with the shipping coordinator well in advance of delivery to ensure it goes off without a hitch:

 

  1. Does your building have a loading dock? If so, is it located directly at an entrance to the building, or somewhere else nearby?
  1. What floor are the desks being delivered to?
  1. If not the first floor, do you have a freight elevator? How large is the elevator? **This is important, because not all pallets can fit through standard elevator doors.
  1. How far do the desks have to be moved once inside the building? For example, just down a 5 foot hallway, or to the other side of the building 100 yards away?
  1. Do you need floor protection if the desks are being wheeled in on dollies?
  1. Does your building have any specific delivery restrictions? (i.e. after-hours-only deliveries, no unloading zones nearby, etc.)
  1. Does your building require a Certificate of Insurance for deliveries? **This is important to find out and communicate well in advance. Most carriers can accommodate COI’s, but it often takes a few days. Your building’s management should have a sample with the requirements that you can pass along to the carrier.
  1. Do you have a specific delivery timeline? **If you are scheduling an installation on a specific day, you’ll want to be sure the desks are scheduled to deliver approximately 48 hours before the installation, to add a buffer in case of weather or other delivery delays.

You’ll also want to be sure to set aside an area where the desks can be delivered. If they are being built immediately, make sure there is enough room for the boxes to live until the assembly.

Back to Top


 

Assembly Time

The Big Build

There are three primary ways to go about assembling your sit-to-stand desks: DIY, hire a team, or use an installation service provided through the seller.

If you use an outside team or one through the seller, check with your building to see if they require a Certificate of Insurance for the installation - if one was required for delivery, you’ll likely need one from this team as well.

You may have already figured out what you are going to do with your current desks (see above), but you now also need to consider the disassembly and reassembly of any computers, monitors, or other accessories. Often times, installation services provided through the seller will only handle installation of the new desks, for safety and insurance reasons. If your company has an IT department, they’ll likely be best equipped to handle the swap of all electronics.

 

 

Timing

If you’re moving into a new office space or opening a new floor, it will be most efficient to build all of the new desks at once. Contractors handling the construction of the new space may need to push back the move-in date, so be sure to communicate this with the desk installation team regularly, so everything coincides at the appropriate time.

 

StandDesk Pro Tip! If you’re swapping out a lot of desks, see if the installation team can do it over a couple of weekends to cause the least amount of disruption. Do one section of the office on weekend one, and another section of the office the following weekend, and so on until the installation is completed.

If you’re swapping out existing desks in your current office, you should plan a block of time to have the new desks built that will cause the least amount of disruption to your employees. Depending on how many desks you’re having built, it can take anywhere from hours to a couple of days for the installation to happen. If you’re using an install team provided by the seller, they’ll be able to give you an accurate expectation of how long it will take. If you’re managing the assembly yourselves, plan for a little bit of extra time incase you encounter any issues.

Testing

Whether you’re tackling the assembly yourself or having an outside team do it, be sure to test every desk with one full up/down cycle before signing off on the job. If you’re using an outside team, make sure a representative for your company is present during the testing of each and every desk, so there’s no miscommunication later on if they say everything was working when they finished but you find a problem the next day.


  

Covering Your Bases

 

Going Beyond the Warranty

While the warranty may cover you for up to 5 or 10 years, depending on the seller, you’ll still want to know the logistics of getting a desk repaired or swapped out should you encounter any problems.

 

StandDesk Pro Tip! In the past, we’ve had customers ordering a large quantity of desks actually purchase a few extra desks in case they experience any issues. This way, if they have a problem, they can put together a new desk quickly without causing someone to be desk-less (or worse, stuck in a permanent not-totally-sitting-but-not-totally-standing-either position) - and we’ll send them a replacement free of charge, but the timing isn’t an issue. If they don’t experience any problems that require a desk swap out, they have extra desks ready to go for any new employees!

If you used an installation company through the seller, will they send someone out to repair any malfunctioning desks? What’s the turnaround time for replacement parts or desks? Are you required to do anything special with the malfunctioning desk once you’ve determined there’s a problem? These are all good questions to have answered by the seller before you encounter any issues.

The switch from standard desks to height adjustable desks can be a daunting task, as there’s a lot to prepare and consider - but they’re well worth the time and energy, and your employees will thank you for it for years to come.

Best of luck, and happy standing!


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