For the past five months I’ve been in the luxurious position(s) of having the option to do my work while standing when I feel like it. This is all thanks to the pleasant people at my work that arranged a special standing desk for me. I think it’s a good time for a review of my standing desk experiences. In this post I will describe the benefits I’ve personally experienced as well as the disadvantages and some tips and tricks.
As a PhD student in Computer Science, my daily activities typically include:
- Sitting at a desk behind my pc all day
- Chilling around on the couch with a laptop all evening
I’m not even joking unfortunately. This is my life! After seeing this infographic on how ‘Sitting is Killing You!’ my interest was piqued (yes, it’s that easy). Even though the Pomodoro technique and drinking a lot of water and tea get me out of my chair regularly, I felt I could do more. I decided it was time to stand up for myself (ohhhhhh!) and requested a standing desk. I got an adjustable standing desk on trial for a month and now I have one permanently.
Let’s start with the advantages. When I was still sitting all day, I often experienced times (especially just after lunch) when I felt very sleepy. Now with the standing desk, that doesn’t even happen anymore. When I stand I feel extremely active, productive and just ready to kick some ass. I feel more energetic, my metabolism has increased and I even suspect my legs have gotten a bit more toned. My posture has also improved: there’s just no need or desire to hunch over a keyboard and try to crawl into your screen while standing. When I have the office to myself I love to listen to some great music and actually dance while working. Time flies that way and it’s less tiring than regular standing because you’re shifting your weight around more.
Of course it isn’t all sunshine and happiness for all. There are some disadvantages. Standing can be really exhausting if you’re not feeling that well to begin with (girls typically do once a month at least ;)). Of course if you have an adjustable desk, you can just sit on those days. Since my standing desk can be adjusted to standing and sitting position, there is some noise associated with switching positions. This is probably me being overly concerned, but I really hate to break my co-workers concentration with that sound, so I try and keep switches to a minimum. Then there’s kind of an awkwardness associated with standing while the rest of your office is sitting. It really makes you stand out ;). When I stand, one of my co-workers has a pretty direct view on my pelvis instead of my face, which is probably something he could live without ^^
Here’s some helpful standing desk tips and tricks I discovered:
- Standing all day isn’t healthy either… Varicose veins anyone? Not speaking from personal experience there, trust me! So switch it up: for instance stand for 50 minutes every hour and sit for 10 minutes. Whatever ratio works best for you.
- Dancing is less tiring for your legs than standing, but can look either a bit deranged or distract your co-workers depending on your dancing skills. My advice is to dance like nobody’s watching only when nobody is actually watching.
- Sometimes my feet get a little tired. When this happens I grab my office chair, shove it under the table and put one knee on it. When the other foot gets tired I switch. I’d like to think of it as ‘the flamingo pose’, but as I just found out, their knees bend the other way! Who knew?
After this comparison it stands to reason (oh no, she didn’t!) that I’m quite attached to my standing desk and can really recommend it to anyone with a desk job looking to switch things up a little. Sitting all day again? I can’t stand it anymore! Truth be told, if I had the money for it, I would get one of these desks at home as well. It would be great to do my PC gaming while standing! I’ve been eyeballing the adjustable IKEA Galant sitting/standing desk, but at € 550,- it’s not a viable option for me right now. Want to just give it a try? There are some DIY cheap options to see how you like working while standing, especially if you just want to see how it feels for a while: spend 22 dollars at IKEA, use some cinder blocks and/or books, or class it up with some cardboard boxes!