Taking a Stand(ing Desk!)

Hey there folks!

I have been neglecting my 3 readers in the past two weeks. I’m sorry. I’ve been too busy SLEEPING. Honestly though, my focus on getting rest and turning off electronics in the hour before bedtime has really left me little time for writing. If I could scribe this blog on parchment with a quil, I’d be able to do it in the hour before bed next to my relaxing lavender calendar. Alas, WordPress has not come out with a parchment/quil converter. Shucks.

Guess what!? I accomplished one of my February goals! My standing desk has now been at my office for two and half weeks and I have successfully transitioned to a standing worker. Are you ready for this?

desk 2desk 1

Isn’t that AWESOME!? I have one colleague, an older gentleman, who walked by my desk every day for a week. And every single day he would stop, peer at my desk, and say “I don’t know, Susie. This is just too weird.”

The keyboard level of my standing desk attachment allows my hands to rest comfortably at a 90 degree angle from my torso. My monitor is exactly at eye level, and I don’t need to strain my neck up or droop down to see my screen. If you’re contemplating building a standing desk for yourself, definitely take these measurements carefully into consideration. I have a nice platform on which my keyboard, mouse, phone, water, coffee mug, cell phone, etc. can rest. I also have the rest of my desk free for documents, and I have a nice place to sit if I need to sit down and write with the oh-so-archaic pen and paper from time to time.

Here’s what I learned about standing:

1. It was easier than I anticipated. My first day, I stood for about 6 hours before I felt like I needed to sit down. I thought I’d need way more time to work up to a whole day’s worth of work, but it actually only took me a couple of days to work up to standing my whole work day (at least when I’m at my desk).

2. You don’t actually stand (or sit) for a straight 8 hours in a typical office. I sit down for meetings, so I actually still have a couple of hours each day where I’m sitting in a chair. Since I stand the rest of the time, I actually welcome these breaks. Maybe this isn’t the case if you’re a programmer or other very zoned-in profession. If that’s your deal, I’m sorry.

3. There’s a mental thing. For the first couple of days, I felt like I had a harder time concentrating while standing up. My natural instinct was to just “sit down so I can get some work done”. For some reason, I wanted to hunker down (literally, in my chair) to get more work done. I was honestly a little more distracted for the first couple of days standing. However, I did adjust and by day 3 and 4 my productivity while standing was exactly what it would be if I were sitting. If you move to a standing desk, just keep in mind that it’s not just your body that adjusts, your brain has to adjust to working while you stand too.

4. A little break is all it takes. Every once in a while, maybe once or twice a day, I’ll just want to sit down. So I do. For about five minutes. I’ve found that’s about all it takes and I’m ready to stand back up and get back at it. Since I’m only 2.5 weeks into standing, I wonder if the need for these little breaks will decrease. I am having an adjustable stool ordered that will double as my chair when I need to sit at my desk, but also a way to take a quick break off my feet without having to move my monitor off the standing desk.

5. Say goodbye to your heels. I wear high heels very infrequently as it is, because, let’s face it, they’re uncomfortable and I can barely get myself to wear a real bra, much less five inch heels. (I do wear bras, but they’re mostly of the sports variety, meaning they do nothing for my rack. I cannot say that I actually care, but I digress.) The point is when you’re standing all day, you really want to do so with ergonomic shoes. I either wear flats or pull out the pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes that I keep in my desk drawer. Yes, I actually keep them at work with me.

6. I’m less bitter and more satisfied at my job. Let’s be clear – I’m blessed with a wonderful job with awesome people. I genuinely enjoy my work, but I was getting seriously bitter about my job because I felt like sitting and staring at a computer screen was going to destroy my health. (The Godfather (Mark Sisson) pretty clearly articulates that sitting sucks.) Well now I’ve got the sitting thing taken care of. I’m still staring at a computer screen, but that’s much easier to take now that I know I’m not sedentary. I am happier going to work because I don’t see what I do here as detrimental to my health.

But the most exciting thing I’ve discovered?

Standing all day helps immensely with recovery and being less sore from a workout.

Whoa! Hello unintended and very welcome side effect! I started standing right around the time I decided to stop being a little Nancy at Crossfit. I’ve been hitting each workout as hard as I can, usually at 6am before work. This would typically result in some serious soreness. I know my body well. So I definitely realized very quickly that I wasn’t getting all that sore from Crossfit, like I used to. Hmmm…

Here’s my incredibly scientific, biologically sound reasoning: I remember reading in a few places that going for a long leisurely walk actually helps with recovery and reduces soreness from a workout. It makes sense. If you have a tough workout, then just go and sit in one place all day, the lactic acid will just pool in your muscles leading to more muscle soreness. But if you are moving around, or even just standing your muscles are engaged and will help prevent this pooling from happening. I am convinced that my lack of soreness is attributable to standing.

As for my energy, I don’t think it’s any more or any less now that I’m standing. Maybe I’m a wee bit more tired at the end of the work day, but nothing too bad. I have pretty high and steady energy anyway, which I attribute to my nutrition, so standing hasn’t really changed that at all.

Overall, standing has been incredibly rewarding. I am so grateful to have a workplace that honors health and allows me to have this somewhat odd looking attachment on my desk, and to have a supportive and handy partner who took the time to build it for me.

Does anyone else stand? Want to? I vote you go for it!

About these ads

8 thoughts on “Taking a Stand(ing Desk!)

  1. I totally want to get a standing desk and this post has totally inspired me to ask my work about it finally. Hopefully it will help my back

  2. Congrats on your new desk! I’ve been standing for over 2 years now and could never imagine going back to sitting full time. I recently started a new job and had to sit for 3 weeks, before my company got me a stand up desk, and those 3 weeks were very difficult! After 2 years, I barely ever need a break anymore. I can definitely relate to the “This is just too weird.” comment. Now days I think it is more strange for people to want to sit down for so long! I am always telling my girlfriend, “Just wait…in 5 years it will be the new normal!” I don’t mind being the “weird” one in the office, that’s for sure!

  3. I would so loooove to have a standing desk but a couple of problems that I’m not sure I can solve…

    1) work for Govt dept and they never have any money for anything ‘different’ or ‘non-standard’ :( even if it means we’d all be healthier and therefore not taking sick leave etc – so great that your partner was able to do this for you!

    2) the way our office is structured it would be kind of weird….we work in pods of 6, I’m sitting at the end facing the rest of my team (but at the moment I’m sitting down behind a panel that’s about standing shoulder height, so I can’t see anyone. If I were to stand then I’d be looking down at the rest of my team which would probably seem a bit strange for me and them (like I’m checking up on them or something!) There’s nowhere else to move to as the whole office is set out like this.

    sigh….have even been thinking that maybe I need a career change to do something else – your comment about resenting being at work is really resonating with me, my challenge now is to find something that pays the same (or more :) that doesn’t lock me into a chair for 8 hours a day!

    • Hmmmmm this is a toughie. Yes, it is awesome to have a workplace that, while the wouldn’t provide me with a standing desk, was very supportive of me bringing something in. And I am lucky to have a fairly large desk all to myself, but I know exactly what you’re talking about with the pods. Might be time to get really creative. The good thing is that when you’re standing your monitor is directly in front of your face, so you’d really have to lean to the side to look down on anyone. What you can do, that I tried, is just stack up some boxes and test it out. Maybe send a quick email to your team (or just talk to them) about why you’re going to try standing so they’re not caught off guard. Then test it out with the boxes and see how you do.

      And girl I hear you on the career change. Being resentful of where you are for 8 hours a day is no way to live! Good luck and let me know if you decide to make a change, desk, career, or otherwise. :)

  4. I hope I’m one of your three readers. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Good work with the desk. Did you tell your bf how wonderfully thoughtful and handy he is?

  5. I am ashamed. I’ve had a standing desk but can still only do 2-3 hours max in a day before getting tired! Still al ong way to work up to standing the whole day! Now you give me something to work towardS!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s