Humanscale Brings Its Sustainable Sit/Stand Desks to the Home

They are built to Living Product Standards and are ergonomically designed.

Humanscale Float table on deck


Humanscale, a major manufacturer of ergonomic and green office furniture including sit/stand desks, is doing a big push into the residential market, because these days, that's where a lot of the office workers are.

The company has always taken sustainability seriously and has many of its products audited by the International Living Future Institute. These are the people behind the Living Building Challenge that also run a Living Products Challenge—"a framework for manufacturers to create products that are healthy, inspirational and give back to the environment." Twenty-six of their products are certified climate, energy, and water positive.

We have often taken the position that working from home is climate-positive because it eliminates commuting, which could dramatically reduce the number of cars on the road and the parking spaces needed, as well as reduce the duplication of space that sits empty two-thirds of the day. We have also extolled the virtues of standing desks, so Humanscale is pushing all of our buttons here. People working from home need decent working conditions, and as Humanscale writes:

"With businesses worldwide embracing hybrid working, professionals will increasingly value a seamless transition between the office and home office to maximize productivity and optimize comfort. Humanscale’s designs promote healthier postures and adjust to the body, rather than the other way around, and have a significant impact on the workday and long-term wellbeing."
Minmalist setup


They are not only promoting healthier postures but also a healthier indoor environment, which is important when you are working from home. Humanscale works here with the Declare labels developed by the International Living Future Institute. They reiterate a point we have been making for years:

"Since 1990, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required all
food manufacturers to include clear, comprehensive Nutrition Facts on packaging. Research has since shown that food labels help consumers make more informed buying decisions and ultimately, healthier choices. Why should the products we use every day be any different?"
Declare label


Declare labels give a complete list of everything in a product, and have even recently added embodied carbon: "Like nutritional labels on food, we use standard formats to publish the ingredients." This should be on every product, but in fact, Humanscale has published fully one-third of the declarations in the entire furniture industry.

Doing the work to figure out what goes on the label leads to a better product: "Once the ingredients are identified, we evaluate each one for its impact on people and the environment. We systematically replace chemicals of high concern with safer alternatives."

desk under picture in living room


Humanscale has always been a leader in ergonomics; it is in their name, a human scale. As the company notes: "Think about the angle of your computer monitor, or the height of your desk. Think about whether your eyes are strained by the end of the day or if your wrists hurt from typing. A sound understanding of ergonomics can prevent most workplace injuries by adjusting tools to the user, putting an emphasis on proper posture to reduce the impact of repetitive movements."

sit stand desk with notebook


So it is surprising to see so many of the home office products showing laptop computers on raised sit/stand desks, where they are difficult to use. You really do want a separate monitor.

Laptop holder


They do have this neat laptop stand that raises the screen of the notebook and requires a separate keyboard and mouse.

double desk

Human scale

This setup looks like the best one for a really good home office setup with a decent dual monitor setup; it looks more office-office.

setup with desk down


For many years I resisted the idea of the adjustable sit/stand desk, writing in a now-archived post: "They are more expensive and complicated, but most importantly, users tend to drift down to sitting position. Over time, one study found that users with adjustable desks eventually were only standing 20% of the time." I thought that it was better to pick up the notebook computer and move from standing desk to table to sofa.

But much has changed since I wrote that almost a decade ago. The desks care cheaper and simpler and have become almost standard in offices, often paired with big monitors that you just plug your laptop into. It makes a lot of sense.

Humanscale has done great work on sustainability and ergonomic issues. Now they are really getting the residential interior design stuff right, and that is where the future is.