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A Standing Desk For Kids, To Help Change Sitting Culture (There’s An Adult Size, Too)

Breaking the deadly habit of sitting all day before the habit starts.

As much as you might want to ditch your office chair for a standing desk, a lifetime of sitting is a hard habit to break. So when a group of designers decided to attack the culture of sitting, they realized that they should start at the beginning and make a kid-sized standing desk.

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“Sitting is the norm in our society,” says Mathias Ellegiers, one of the founders of Jaswig, the standing desk startup. “Have a look around you–your home, public spaces, transportation, and classrooms–everywhere you are invited to sit down. This norm has proven to be unhealthy. Our mission is to address this global issue at its origin.”

Goldilocks-style, Jaswig makes three sizes of its sit-stand desks: Big, medium, and small enough that it could be used in a kindergarten classroom.

“Because we are talking about an issue that is present in every corner of our society, school is the ideal place to address this sitting norm,” says Ellegiers.

The smallest Jaswig desks also fill a gap in the quickly growing world of standing desks, which mostly focus on adults–despite the fact that kids spend an average of 85% of waking hours sitting, even with something like gymnastics or soccer practice after school. “As advocates of standing desks in the office we realized that children weren’t given the same opportunity,” he says.

The designers watched how children naturally lift objects and built that motion into an adjustment system for the desk, so even first-graders can easily switch between sitting and standing heights as they work. They can also make adjustments as they grow taller.

The adjustability is designed to work equally well for adults. “Rule number one of using a standing desk is using it at your comfortable height,” Ellegiers says. “That comfortable range can even vary for one person depending on the time of day.”

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Footrests on each side let someone shift position throughout the day. “Neither sitting nor standing still for hours at a time are good for your body,” he says. “A standing desk allows better for you to move around and fidget. Having a footrest is key for allowing more movement and changing your weight distribution.”

The desks are also as sustainable as possible. Because the simple design can be cut out on a digital CNC machine, the startup plans to send virtual files to workshops around the world instead of shipping the desks themselves. For U.S. customers, the desks will be made in Cleveland.

The desks are also made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified birch–the most sustainably-grown wood the designers could find–and if someone later wants to get rid of their desk, they can give it back to the company to be made into something else, like their “not-wasted clock,” crafted from scraps of wood.

Jaswig is crowdfunding the desks on Kickstarter.

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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