There are tons of different anti-fatigue mats available in the market today, while some are designed for all-around use, many are specially designed for specific setting and work environment, such as industrial setting where assembly line workers stand for hours in their workstation; kitchen mats to let you stand comfortably as you cook and prepare your family’s dinner; garage mats for your garage projects; and standing mats for sit-stand desks and computer workstations. And though there is no hard and fast rule as to what you have to use for specific setting, it is highly advisable that you use mats for its intended purpose. This entry from Dual Monitors Guide will talk about the important things to look for in your computer workstation, which should be good as an all-around home and office standing mat.
Things to Look For
Provides Perfect Support
This is obviously the most important aspect to look for. A good standing mat should provide good support to take pressure off your feet, but not too spongy that your feet sink into it. Squishy mat is worse than hard mat. Too soft mats can increase fatigue, and most often than not, they wear out quickly. While too hard serves little purpose, as they feel like you’re still standing on the hard floor.
There should be a perfect balance of instability and stability. Odd as it may seem, some degree of instability is good for an anti-fatigue mat. Most good quality anti-fatigue standing mats out there come with gels or foam core with some sort of outer covering. This promotes small postural changes that encourage better blood flow, but not too much that it exposes your feet to safety hazards and increases risk of fatigue. On the other hand however, too much stability can cause discomfort and over-fatigue, especially to the calves and lower.
A good mat is responsive and will respond to your movement, while still quickly returns to its original shape as you shift your weight from one feet or another or move your feet.
There should be a perfect balance of thickness; too thick and you will feel like standing on a mattress, too thin and your feet will feel the floor, leaving you with little or no support. The best standing mats out there are measures between 0.5 inch and 7/8ths of an inch thick, the top of the line are about 3/4 inch thick.
You want your mat to be small enough to fit your workspace perfectly and not consume much of your chair space, but large enough to allow for foot re-positioning. When we stand in work, we usually shift our weight from one foot to the other throughout the day. You should avoid standing with one foot on the mat, and one foot off, as this may cause posture issues. Thus, it is important that you measure your workspace first to get the best size.
The mat of course, should be durable and long-lasting. Depending on where you place the mat, it will be subjected to rigorous use, heavy foot traffic and various elements. Last thing you want from your mat is to easily accumulate scratches and tears. It should be solid to life comfortably on your floor for a long time, without curling up at the edges or cause any tripping hazard, and should have beveled edges for the same reason.
Sometimes the material of the mat can cause it to move easily, this causes them to break down easily and make, accumulate dirt and dust underneath and cause it to become slippery. Also, mats that are too light can easily bunch up or curl up on the edges and becomes a trip hazard. Also, it is no secret that any mat that moves easily can be a safety hazard.
Easy to Clean
A good mat should be easy to clean and maintain. Because you would be on the mat for hours every day and may sometimes on barefoot, you want a mat with antimicrobial properties that is easy to clean. It should never require long and rigorous cleaning procedures, and should be cleaned using common household cleaning materials and solutions. Polyurethane material for example, is very easy to clean, doesn’t offgas harmful chemicals to the air or leach plasticisers, and with natural resistant to mildew and microbial growth. Some mats are even treated with additional microbial agents to ward off bacteria.
Getting to move around is one of the best parts of owning a standing desk. A good mat should be large enough to move around, so they won’t be limited to a small area in your workstation.
Also, a good quality mat doesn’t have to be a good looking mat, but it should not look out of place in your home or office either. Plain and straightforward designs are versatile to fit in almost all types of environment and work settings.
With Good Warranty
It’s been said that warranty is that manufacturer’s vote of confidence in its product. Longer warranties naturally say that the company has trust in the quality of its product, and this means you can use it longer. Good mats from reputable brands offer at least 5-year warranty, some offer 7, but if you can find 10-year warranty, it would be great.
Caveats for Sit/Stand Desk Users
If you want to switch between sitting and standing as you work, which you should be, it can be very tempting to get a mat that you can fit into your workstation and put your chair to make transition easier.
However, mats designed for desk chairs are usually thin and don’t really provide the ample support for long hours of standing. At this setup, you will end up with either spending extra five seconds to switch and remove the mat before putting your chair, or use a desk setup where you can simply move your computer from the standing site to sitting side. If you opt for a separate sitting spot and standing spot, you can definitely take advantage of a permanent standing desk such as Safco MUV Adjustable Stand-Up Workstation. If you don’t mind moving your chair out of the way and pull your standing mat to position, then any of Ergotron’s WorkFit series can work for you. The best part about WorkFit series is they’re complete stand-alone workstation that can hold everything you need and can be equipped with various Ergotron workstation add-ons for more comfortable and ergonomic workstation.
Your workstation is where you make your living, thus it is important that you feel comfortable at all times. We tend to spend a bit more money for a good desk or comfortable chair. If you opt to stand up, you might as well invest for a good standing mat. Your purpose of standing at work is to promote movement and become healthier, the purpose of anti-fatigue standing mat is to assist you as you stand and encourage longer hours of comfortable standing. You want a mat that gives you comfort but don’t sink your feet to the floor, something that will provide enough firmness to support your feet throughout the day.
However, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best quality mats. Some of the best mats out there are just under $100. That may be a little pricey than your ordinary mat, but they are no ordinary mats. For more about that best standing mats, check out this list of top 5 best standing mats from Dual Monitors Guide.
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