Working at a Standing Desk


I’ve been using a standing desk for about 3-1/2 years and really like it.

I used to sit all day long in a chair at a traditional-height desk; I worked that way for about 16 years (and of course, prior to that I was in school and sat for many hours then, too). Different chairs and desks brought varying degrees of comfort. Even when things were ergonomically correct my back or neck would sometimes hurt, as well as my butt. Finding an office chair that was comfortable was always a challenge (even the famed Herman Miller Aeron chairs weren’t particularly comfortable).

In 2010, after a string of days with an achy back and sore butt along with some recent reading about how bad sitting was, I decided to try standing to work. I wasn’t sold on the idea yet, but wanted to try it. I found some books and boxes to use to raise the height of my monitor and keyboard/mouse to give it a shot. The first few days I was a bit tired from standing, but acclimated quickly. Back and butt pain disappeared instantly, the “2:00 slump” disappeared, and I felt a bit more active. Standing encouraged me to walk around when thinking or on the phone and move around a little with the music playing, for example.

The biggest benefit, though, came after work: I found that sitting was enjoyable! I love sitting, reclining, putting my feet up! I did not get enjoyment out of sitting when I sat all day, but now, at the end of the day, I really appreciate it.

Fast forward to now, and I am still working at a standing desk full-time. I’m no longer using boxes and books to raise my monitor and keyboard, but cinder blocks to raise the whole desk. I don’t mind standing all day, and I still really like sitting at the end of the day. Some sort of rug or padded mat to stand on helps to keep my feet from feeling sore, though I have strong arches and typically don’t even mind standing on the hardwood floor. Standing burns a few more calories than sitting so I like to imagine that it helps me get less fat, too.

I periodically see more about how bad sitting all day is for me, and I typically just skip over it. I know from first-hand experience that my body ached more when sitting all day so that’s proof enough for me. Earlier this year a headline-grabbing infographic starting making rounds: Why Sitting is Killing You, based on the Reducing prolonged sitting in the workplace report from the health department of the government of Victoria, Australia. Basically, sitting all day is really bad. For those that sit all day I encourage you to look at the infographic and try incorporating standing into your day.

I’ve liked standing so much, that I’m ready to step up to a treadmill desk — yes, walking while I work.

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