Why Not Work at a Standing Desk in Your Office?

standingtable100 00601 576x1024 Why Not Work at a Standing Desk in Your Office?I have a standing desk in my home office. 

I used to have a conventional sitting table as well.

I got rid of that since in practice I hardly ever used it.

Why Not Work at a Standing Desk in Your Office?

Back when I used to be an employee I also insisted on a standing desk.

My boss back then also had a standing desk, which was where I first got the idea from.

But we were the two exceptions. Standing when working in our office was considered exotic and perhaps a bit eccentric.

Even to get the standing desk in the first place I had to make out I had “back problems” because of the uncomprehending attitudes.

And when the company health and safety people came round to check everyone’s PC monitor, desk and chair height and make sure we all had mouse pads etc, they were stumped when they came to our standing desks.

Ironic when you consider that standing desks are actually better for many people than sitting all day long. And there are plenty of things that need to be taken into account when having a standing office desk. Yet the health and safety drones didn’t have a clue how to assess it or what to make of it.

You feel much more lively and awake when you are standing. Less tired at the end of the day too, which might come as a surprise to people who’ve been used to sitting 8 hours or more every day for years.

You also feel more alive and energized standing up when talking on the phone to people.  Standing whilst talking is actually a popular radio presenter insider tip.  Standing up in front of a microphone makes you feel more alive to the audience than if you are sitting down.

It’s also a fact that sales people often tend to get up out of their seats when they are coming near to closing an important deal on the phone.

You may find standing up all day for the first time you try it to be a bit tiring. I found it hard going for the first week – and I wondered if I could even stick it out til Friday.

This is however mainly because you aren’t used to it.

Standing up will actually tighten your abs, work your leg muscles and joints and also allow you to stretch. The body also burns more calories when standing up rather than sitting.

Once I got past that first week of standing while working, I enjoyed it and I much preferred it to sitting down. Since then I’ve come to hate being in office situations where I have no alternative than to sit.

A number of colleagues in my office also copied my example. There was a bit of a craze for a while for working whilst standing up. Only a few people however actually stayed the course. The majority gave up after a few days or a week or so and went back to sitting all day.

Standing all day isn’t always best though.

It’s important to have a foot rest and to regularly move your support from one leg to the other. Don’t get in the habit of leaning on your elbows or hands as you stand.

Decent quality, low-cost footrests are surprisingly hard to find.

A football serves as a simple, effective and very cheap footrest. You can also move the football around under the desk as you are standing – good for your feet and ankle joints. You can even practice your football juggling skills now and then as well. Just don’t kick the ball over the other side of the office!

Also you need to make sure your PC monitor or laptop is high enough. Many computer monitors are too low and don’t let themselves be raised sufficiently to eye level when you use them with a standing desk.

You may have to add a platform plinth of some sort – at the corporate office we used to improvise by building up layers of unopened A4 paper blocks. At home, I’ve simply stood mine on an upturned fruit and veg box on my desk.

Standing desks need not be expensive. You don’t have to buy into these mega-expensive trendy solutions. My standing table is a fixed wooden one from IKEA (see photo at the top). It only cost around 80 Euros and it’s solid and firm.

The ideal is to have an adjustable table, moveable up and down. This allows you the flexibility to vary standing and sitting throughout the day.

You can also get yourself a high stool – with or without a back support, for when you want to sit for a while.

Having a standing desk with a high stool, or an adjustable-height table allows you to easily alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day, as suits you best.

I’m surprised more people don’t opt for standing desks. But it’s all part of the nine to five office robot syndrome. People think sitting all day in an office is the normal way of things. Everyone sitting all day long as much as they can, whenever they can. Yet standing up is the natural body position, not sitting.

Sitting is fatiguing and bad for people’s health. Sitting is a highly unnatural body position which causes back pain world-wide.

People sit in the train or car to and from work, they sit for lunch, then they go back to their office PCs and sit again. They “grab a seat” everywhere whenever and wherever they can. No wonder many people feel zonked by the end of the day. Office-sitting is the great corporate world sickness.

Standing up while working rather than sitting also demonstrates that you don’t play along with the old corporate “my-office-chair-is-bigger-more luxurious-and-more-impressive-than-yours” status game.

Having a standing desk appeals to people like me who like to do things differently. Leave the fat, overpaid bosses to slob in their over-upholstered, heavy swivel chairs causing their muscles to go to flab and get out of your seat and stand!

Give standing up a try – you might find you like it!

Ps. the computer desktop by the way is Linux Ubuntu, in case you’re wondering!

Image: copyright Kevin Wells – my home office standing table
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6 Responses to “Why Not Work at a Standing Desk in Your Office?”

  1. Stacey Simpson 26. Apr, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Great post. I’m really interested about standing desks – though I’m not sure how my boss would take it if I asked for one… I like the tip about the football though.

  2. Kevin 26. Apr, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    thanks for your comments Stacey. 

    I see from your link that you’re in office design..  shouldn’t standing desks be something you recommend as an option for your clients!

    Only thing with the football: people associate it with leisure.. but it’s just a question of them getting used to the idea. 

  3. Stand up desk mat 17. Nov, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Glad to see you have upgraded! Having an adjustable stand up desk is the way to go. I commend you for lasting as long as you did with the fixed height and no stool. It would be tough for me to not burn out from standing so much right away.

  4. Natalie 08. Jan, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    Kevin, thanks for the post! Have you ever considered an adjustable height desk? I know the whole point is standing here– but with an adjustable height desk you at least have the option of sitting down when you want to (or need to! I recently had a stress fracture in my foot and used the sitting height a lot more.)
    The one I use is called a NextDesk and it seems different than a lot of the others I checked out on the market– for one it is eco-friendly, two it is adjustable electronically, and three, well, it just looks good.
    If you’re interested, here is their site: http://www.nextdesks.com.
    Let me know what you think!
    NG

  5. Kevin 09. Jan, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Natalie,
    thanks for your comment. Just had a look at the desk site. Nice desks and adjustable desks are definitely best, as long as they aren’t insanely priced.

  6. Jupiter Jim 31. Mar, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    Kevin,

    Love this article!!! I work from home. I live in Jupiter, Florida, USA. At one point my back was so painful from sitting all day, I thought I would have to quit working on the computer. I was terrified!!! Then I went to the Relax the Back store here in the U.S and bought a motorized desk that moves it up and down at the click of a button! I must admit, I do spend a lot of time sitting, BUT whenever I start to feel a little pain or a little uncomfortable, I press a button, and the desk moves up to standing position!!! Being able to stand while working on the computer saved my back and my business!!!! More people should know about this option of ergonomics!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

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