Why a dynamic monitor arm is an unmissable part of the sit-stand solution
The double whammy effect of a sit-stand desk
Obviously using a sit-stand desk means you will be regularly moving between sitting and standing positions, which helps you avoid the dangers of static muscle tension. But equally crucially, when standing the position of all your body parts also changes. Your arms, for example, hang a bit more when you’re standing at a desk than when you’re sitting at one, which in turn subtly changes the position of your shoulders, neck, etc. Equally when you sit, you adopt positions, such as leaning back slightly in your chair, that you don’t when standing at a sit-stand desk (in this case, because you’d fall over if you did!). This means you need a dynamic monitor arm in order to be able to move your monitor each time to its new ideal position relative to your eyes, keyboard, mouse, etc.
And more good news. When you stand at a sit-stand desk, your body is constantly making very small movements. Your weight is now borne not by a chair but by your legs and feet, and you therefore without thinking regularly adjust your position very slightly to give different muscles a break. As a result, the small muscles in your feet, for example, are constantly being brought into action, then relaxed again. And these and other subtle adjustments to your body position, for example shifting your weight from one leg to the other, will again require regular slight adjustments to your monitor’s position. And that’s only possible with a dynamic monitor arm.
Why not having a dynamic monitor arm means you won’t use your sit-stand desk
On a more intuitive level, a sit-stand desk lets you listen to your body better, as you have the freedom to move when your body tells you it’s necessary. So you stand while you drink a coffee and scoot through your inbox. Or when you take a phone call, which in turn makes you more likely to wander a little from your desk as you talk — another little victory in the battle against sitting disease and related foes. Or when your neck or back feels tight, you can stand up, raise your sit-stand desk to the standing position, quickly adjust the position of your keyboard, mouse and monitor arm, and then carry on where you left off.
But we all know how it is: if you can’t adjust everything instantly, in practice you’re very quickly going to stop using the stand position. Now quickly moving your mouse and keyboard is obviously not a problem. But without a dynamic monitor arm, adjusting your monitor’s position is a task each time. A small task, sure, but very quickly it’s going to be a very big barrier to using your sit-stand desk in the dynamic way you’re meant to.
So in other words, a monitor arm is an intrinsic part of the sit-stand desk solution. With a dynamic monitor arm, you will use your sit-stand desk as intended and enjoy all the associated benefits. But without one, there’s a real danger you’ve spent money on a sit-stand desk that quickly ends up being a sit-sit desk. And for all the reasons we’ve seen in this article, that would be more than just a pity.
What should I look for in a monitor arm for my sit-stand desk?
Adjustability is the key
As we’ve seen, the main reason a sit-stand desk in combination with a dynamic monitor arm is the surest way to achieve the optimal ergonomic work day is because it enables you to constantly readjust not just your position between sitting and standing, but also how you stand at the table.
So the key criterion for a monitor arm is optimal adjustability. And to be able to change your position relative to your monitor screen as much as possible, you need a monitor arm that lets you adjust the height, angle and/or depth of your monitor arm.
Versatility is a bonus
But as our page Everything you need to know about monitor arms explains, a good monitor arm lets you do more than just adjust the monitor’s height, angle and depth. So when selecting your monitor arm, consider one that lets you switch from landscape to portrait to create a different perspective, or swivel your screen so you can show it to colleagues or move it out of direct sunlight.
4 more must-haves
In addition, you will want a monitor arm that is: