Standing at Work
I am now a few weeks into my extended experiment with my standing desk at work. So far I really like it, but I have made a few observations, both good and bad.
The original idea came from blog post that was popular a few years back. It outlines how you can build your own standing desk for around $22 with various items from Ikea. So, I decided to try it out since it was a fairly low cost of entry. It is also something that simply sits on top of your existing desk, so if I didn't like it I could always go back to sitting. There was no downside.
Here is what I've found after using this desk for a few weeks.
I Get a Lot of Comments
My office-mate's friend (the same one that likes to come in every other day or so and cuss back and forth with him), walks in and starts harping on a few other guys for a poor design. The conversation quickly turns to a furious tirade of swearing, but eventually they come out of it and mockingly accuse me of being at fault for the design (in jest, it never felt accusatory).
"It was that Abe guy over there," my office-mate says.
"Yeah, they hate him so much they make him stand at work," says the other guy, then he turns and looks at me. "Dude, you know we have some tall chairs over at the other building."
I refused because, of course, that would defeat the actual purpose of having a standing desk.
At another point the building secretary/manager/I don't know her actual title walked into my office and looked at me. "Do you seriously stand all day?"
"I try not to," I said with a smile. "I take sitting breaks."
She laughed and shook her head, "I wouldn't be able to be on my feet all day."
Those are the types of comments I get, from literally everyone in the office. They have all walked in at some point and asked me about the desk, or offered some sort of advice or anecdotal tale of their friend or loved one who also used a standing desk. Then there was the tale of the last guy at our office to use a standing desk because he had a bad back, but that story ends with him throwing his back out by using poor lifting technique, so I don't know if they tell me that to dissuade me or just because they have nothing else to say about the situation.
I Feel Healthier
Whether or not I am more healthy is a different matter. I think that I am, and I certainly feel that way, so it must be true, right? At any rate, it gets me up off my rear and I do find myself moving around as I stand. That has to be more healthy than sitting down all day, so I'm going to roll with it.
I also started getting more serious about exercising, so that helps as well. I find that I can last almost all day standing at the desk, and I usually take one or two breaks along with a longer lunch break where I sit. I also sit on my commute to and from work, and then a lot of the time when I'm at home, so it has definitely increased the number of hours per day that I spend on my feet.
I am More Conscious of My Posture
I can't tell you how many times during the day I find myself standing there, hunched over slightly, or letting my hips slant down to one side or the other. I then readjust myself to standing upright, and continue working. At first it was just when I was standing at my desk, but know I have become aware of when my posture is slipping anywhere. Even now I'm slowing hunching over this keyboard and need to straighten my back out.
If you sit at work all day, and don't really have the opportunity or a good reason to get up and walk around periodically, I would recommend the standing desk. This option is inexpensive, but you might also be able to get your company to pay for an actual standing desk for you to use. Tell them that it's for ergonomics. I haven't tried personally, and have mixed feelings about how successful I would be, but it's worth a shot. At least take a mental note of how many hours per day you spend sitting versus standing, and know that 30 minutes of exercise can't undo 8-10 hours of sitting per day (plus even more on the weekends).