Why a Standing Desk Doesn’t Work

Alexis Labadie Profile image

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Updated August 30, 2022

If you’re experiencing trouble with your standing desk, you may wonder why a standing desk doesn’t work some of the time. Additionally, the best standing desk sometimes seems stuck or uneven, confusing you even more. To fix the issue, you probably have to troubleshoot your desk. As a result, you may be interested in knowing how to reset a standing desk height.


  • Your standing desk may not move if the desk surface outweighs the holding capacity.
  • Check whether your desk remains plugged in all the way or if you have lost power recently.
  • You should reset your desk if you have lost power, it became unplugged, or if the surface sits unevenly.

Why a Standing Desk Won’t Move

Electric standing desks enhance consumers’ lives every day by providing an alternative to sitting behind a desk all day. If you are interested, you can read our great article for more about how standing desk motors work. As a result of this option, you stand more throughout the day, burning calories and working muscles, though you may have pain in the legs or feet at first. Additionally, manual sit-stand desks prove to help with a small portion of your workout as long as you know how to work a standing desk crank.

Insider Tip

You should make sure your desk stays under the weight capacity by reducing the items on it.

However, when your standing desk isn’t working properly, you may lose some of the benefits. Thankfully, you should do some troubleshooting to figure out what causes this issue in an electric adjustable standing desk.

Too Much Weight

Adjustable height desks have weight limits on what they can hold without trouble. When you consider these features, you should pay attention to whether the weight of the tabletop is included in it. Additionally, you may want to keep your workspace a little bit lighter than the capacity, though having a monitor, keyboard, and mouse should not put you anywhere near the maximum. This is where knowing how to organize your standing desk comes in handy. You want to ensure that the motor can perform optimally.

If the desk moves slowly when you adjust the height, you might need to clear some of the items from your desktop. Your workspace may be too heavy if there is no movement or if movement stops as well. To test whether this occurrence is causing your issues, remove the heaviest things from the table, preferring monitors over your keyboard as a general rule. Your desk should start moving on its own once your platform is light enough.

Uneven Legs

In some cases, you might find the legs on your desk aren’t even. When determining how to fix an uneven electric standing desk, consider whether you recently put your desk together. If you did, you might have messed up when assembling it. Make sure you check that each piece fits together with its adjoining parts and sits snugly.

If you have had your desk for a while and this is the first time you notice it is uneven, you may have multiple motors in your desk that have become unsynced. For example, if each leg has a motor and one turns longer or faster than the other, your desk could become uneven. Most of the time, the desk will stop moving up or down if this is the case. You need to complete a reset for your electric desk to fix this issue.

Power Cable Malfunction

The desk may have come unplugged, or your office could have lost power. For example, you might have a plug unplugged just slightly if you move around a lot while working, like for treadmill desks or other exercises. This problem remains particularly pervasive for long wires that run loose around your desk. You may want to invest in a wire management system to prevent this, and many of these systems do not cost much.

If you had recent storms in your area, you might need to perform a reset to ensure the desk recognizes the correct height as the base. This process also helps with a loose power cable. Next, press and hold the down arrow or button until the desk bottoms out. Then, press and hold the down button for several seconds. The desk will rise and fall slightly on its own, indicating a reset has occurred. Finally, set your presets as you want them.


If your desk legs have separate motors, the desk may become uneven, requiring a reset.


How do pneumatic standing desks compare to electric or motorized adjustable desks?

Pneumatic standing desks offer a power-free option, but they use pressure to adjust the height, unlike a stationary regular desk. This pressure may decrease over long periods of time.

Why does my standing desk go down but not up?

You most likely have a desk in reset mode. These desks can go down but not up, so you have to lower the desk completely. Then, press and hold the down button until the surface moves up and back down signifying control. Now, you should be able to increase your height adjustable desk on a daily basis.

Are standing desks better for you?

Height adjustable standing desks generally benefit their users, including an increase in calorie burn rates, improved health benefits, access to exercises, and the prevention of a sedentary lifestyle. However, you may be at risk for pain in the feet and varicose veins. An anti-fatigue mat may help reduce your pain at a height-adjustable electric desk.

STAT: The duty cycle for both of them is 10%, 2 minutes on and 18 minutes off. (source)

Alexis Labadie Profile image