While working in a newsroom I spent a couple of years sitting at my desk eight hours a day. When the whole standing desk craze hit, several people in the newsroom transitioned, I among them (though it took a while before I jumped on board).We all found different, Rube Goldberg-ian ways to accommodate our new desire to stand, but after some trial and error, we figured out what worked best. Like prairie dogs peeking out of the desert, we rose above the cubicle farm and out into the sunshine.
I worked like that for about 6 months before moving on to a new job in another newsroom. I don't have a standing desk right now and I find I miss it a lot. I will be trying to get a standing workstation in the future because what I saw was immense benefits and advantages over that time. OK enough of that, on to the list.
Things I Liked About Having A Standing Desk:
- More energy: Standing kept my blood flowing and my mind more alert. It's a lot harder to get sleepy at your desk if you're standing. You are constantly aware of your body.
- More engaged with co-workers: Sitting at a desk, even in the half-cubicles we had, you often miss opportunities to talk with colleagues or take notice of something important happening. Standing gave me more chances to talk with co-workers as they passed by, at eye level, even if only for a few extra minutes. This actually improved communication because, instead of sending someone an email, I could look across a few desks, look them in the eye, and actually talk for a moment.
- Posture and core strength: Standing all day and maintaining a good posture really added to the strength of my core. I also had a lot less soreness in my back and tailbone compared to when I would sit for 8-10 hours a day.
- Ready for action: When you're sitting and sedentary, it can take a few moments to get up and away from your desk in the case of an emergency or you just realized you're late for a meeting. Standing at your desk you are like a keen-eyed antelope, ready to spring away from any dangers that might present themselves or rush to a co-worker's aid. Zombie invasion, pffft, bring it!
Things I Didn't Like:
- Leg/feet soreness: The first few days/weeks are brutal if you don't prepare. It will take different people a different length of time to get acclimated to standing that long. It will be uncomfortable for a bit, but if you can power through it pays off in the end.
- Lunch: If your workplace is an "eat-at-your-desk" type of place (like newsrooms are), then this can make lunch annoying. It's hard to stand over your desk and eat. My advice: have a place to sit or go elsewhere to eat. If you must work and eat, be mindful of spills and the fact that everyone can see you eat.
- Long days: If you work long days (as I did quite a bit, 10+ hours), it can get a little rough toward the end. I realize the whole idea is that the standing is good for you, but after 10 hours even the hardiest of folks will start to get a little fatigued. If possible have a sitting option.
- Everyone can see you: So yeah, this part has its disadvantages too. Need to pick a boogie, people can see you. Bad hair day, people can see you. Did you spill some coffee on your crotch, yup, people can see you. Now this only applies if you are in a relatively open workspace (which is becoming more common). If you have your own office this won't matter as much. On the other hand, if you have a most bodacious posterior that looks great while standing, well then, everyone can see you (and it!)
Tips Before You Drink The Kool-Aid And Stand Up:
- Mats: Think about getting an anti-fatigue mat. This will cushion your feet and really make it easier on your body. Standing all day on office carpet or a wood floor is a one-way ticket to "this bloody sucks" town. Here are some options: http://www.xpressmats.com/Floor-...
- Shoes: If possible, bring a pair of comfortable shoes to leave at work. For longer periods of standing, switch them out like Mr. Rogers and stand in even more comfort. If you work in a more casual place and can just wear more cushioned shoes to work then just do that.
- Health issues: If you have back, leg, knee or other health issues that might not jibe with a standing desk, definitely consult your doctor before deciding to go down this road. You don't want to run the danger of doing something for yourself that might actually be worse.
- Ease into it: Standing for your entire 8-hour shift from day one might be a little intense. Try easing into it if possible. Stand for 2 hours, sit for 30 minutes or an hour, repeat. Or whatever is most comfortable for you -- the key is comfort and doing what is best for your body type, health condition and personal work scenario.
- Ergonomics: If your workplace has a dedicated ergonomics person, use them. They probably already have standing desk solutions or equipment to help get you started (if your workplace approves). This can ensure you are building a correct standing workplace and not doing anything to harm yourself or create long-term arm, shoulder or other joint problems (or carpal tunnel syndrome).
So there you have it, now stand up!
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