HOW TO ASK YOUR BOSS FOR A STANDING DESK (AND HAVE THEM SAY YES)
A 7 STEP GUIDE FOR ACQUIRING THE ULTIMATE RAISE TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH, HAPPINESS, AND PRODUCTIVITY
If you’re like many people, your work office is provided for you. So how do you request astanding desk? What’s the best way to obtain a doctor’s note or an ADA letter stating that you need a standing desk for medical reasons? Learn more about how to request a standing desk at work.
THE BENEFITS OF A STANDING DESK
Perhaps you've read some of the studies demonstrating the negative effects of sitting all day. Does “sitting is the new smoking” sound familiar?
Maybe your lower back, neck, and posture is suffering, but you’re so used to the chronic stiffness and pain, it’s hard to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way.
A 2016 gallup survey found that one in four adults sought treatment for back pain in the last twelve months, and 65% of participants reported seeking treatment in their lifetime.
Or perhaps you’ve read that standing at work can actually increase your productivity and alertness, and get you through the post-lunch slump.
Whatever the reason, you’re ready to approach your boss and start the conversation about requesting a standing desk.
So… where to begin?
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IN THIS GUIDE, WE'LL WALK YOU THROUGH:
Understanding the Landscape - learn how your office makes these decisions and how to leverage the process
Do Your Homework - arm yourself with research to back up your case
Making the Request - the best tips for having a "may-I-have-this" conversation with your employer
What to Expect - common responses your employer might have, and how to respond
Getting a Doctor's Note - how to obtain and present a doctor's recommendation for a standing desk to seal the deal
Know Your Rights - know what the Federal laws are that protect you as an employee
Alternative Solutions - if all else fails, there's always another way and another solution
UNDERSTANDING THE LANDSCAPE
BUT WHO DO I ASK?
It may sound obvious, but for a lot of employees, the first hurdle in asking for a standing desk is not knowing WHO to ask. Depending on the size of your company and the breakdown of departments, the person you should initially bring this up with can vary greatly.
If you’re in a small startup, it might be protocol to go directly to the CEO or one of the partners. In larger companies, you might start with your supervisor, office manager, or facilities manager.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to go to your direct manager first - they should be able to point you in the right direction, if nothing else.
But know this: in a lot of companies, whoever you ask first is not necessarily the final decision maker. Be prepared to present your case in a way that can be easily passed up the chain of command.
KNOW YOUR COMPANY’S VALUES
Your company’s core values should shape the way the company is run, both publicly and inside the office. Knowing what matters to your business can help shape the way you frame your request.
For example, if your company values health and provides healthy snack options in the office through services like SnackNation, your boss will likely be intrigued by the health benefits associated with standing desks.
Comparatively, if your company puts an emphasis on learning and doing more with less, the powers that be may see the most value in the productivity increase linked to standing desks.
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THERE’S BEAUTY IN THE DESIGN
The evolution of office design has come a long way in the past century. With the minimalist vs gauche battle taking place in startups all over America, it’s easy to become accustomed to the pure white, handle-less file cabinets or the bean bag chairs strategically placed in common areas.
Even if your office layout is traditional cubicles, this truth remains the same: someone designed your office and chose the furniture, and they did it that way for a reason.
Taking a long look around your office layout and the pre-existing furniture can give you a good sense of how much aesthetics matter. If you’re company is filled with DIY hand-me-downs, they might not mind bringing in a desk that doesn’t match the color-scheme; but if a very specific look already exists, you should be prepared to present standing desk options that could fit into that aesthetic.
MAKE THE REQUEST
If your office has a formal requisition procedure, you can follow your office’s processes. Otherwise, it’s best to request a standing desk from your immediate supervisor. If you have a doctor’s note, you should present it when you make your initial request. Be prepared to explain why you need a standing desk.
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Your boss may ask more questions about standing desks, such as their health benefits or productivity improvements. You may also be sent to a different department. If your boss says no, but you feel like a standing desk is an important part of your physical or mental health, you may still be able to request a standing desk with a doctor’s note.
GET A DOCTOR'S NOTE
If you have a medical condition that requires you to use a standing desk, you may be able to request a doctor's note from your employer. A standing desk may be considered a reasonable accommodation if it is necessary for you to perform your job duties. If you think a standing desk would help you, talk to your doctor and ask if they would be willing to write a note explaining your need for the accommodation. Then, present the note to your employer and request that they allow you to use a standing desk.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you're interested in getting a standing desk, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. So if you have a medical condition that would benefit from a standing desk, your employer is required to provide one for you.
DON'T GIVE UP
Finally, be ready to compromise. Your boss may not be able to accommodate your request for a standing desk right away, but there may be other solutions that would work for both of you, such as taking regular breaks to walk around the office or using a standing desk for part of the day.
Asking for a standing desk is a great way to improve your health and well-being, so don’t be afraid to speak up and make the request!
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